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Land use amendments sought for church property
The city is going through the major amendment process for two areas, one a church that is selling its property for future medical offices and the other for several hundred acres owned by the city near the Arizona state prison complex.
As part of the major amendment process, the first of three public hearings will be Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the Yuma City Hall Council Chambers, said Noah Cullis, senior planner for the city. The hearing is before the city Planning and Zoning Commission.
A second public hearing, also before the commission, will be Oct. 8. The final hearing will be during a Yuma City Council meeting Dec. 5, after which the council will decide whether to grant the amendments.
Major amendments to the city's General Plan are required to make the land use designation compatible with existing or future planned zoning when the change would either impact a number of other uses in the area or it encompasses a large area. The major amendment process takes place only once a year.
The first major amendment request is to change approximately 13.8 acres on 8th Avenue and 24th Street from mixed use to commercial.
Currently, a portion of the property at 2500 S. 8th Ave. is occupied the Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church and its parsonage. The applicant's intent is to be able to transfer the property to a developer, B-8 Yuma Partnership LLC, who has plans to develop a medical facility at the site.
The church's pastor couldn't be reached for comment on Friday. However, the church's website states that a tentative agreement has been made between The Toumey Companies and the Kerley group to purchase a site on Avenue 6E south of 32nd Street to construct a new church.
According to the Arizona Corporation Commission website, The Toumey Companies is a member of B-8.
The remainder of the property in the request is at 901 W. 24th St. where Yuma Rehabilitation Hospital is located. It is included in the major amendment request so the land use designation would conform with the property's current commercial zoning, Cullis explained.
He said the city has already reached out to residents in the area in a neighborhood meeting to hear their concerns and gather their input on the proposed changes. Main concerns were about potential impact to noise and traffic in the area.
The second major amendment request before the city is to change the land use designation of approximately 640 acres from public-quasi-public to agriculture/industrial. The city owns the land, located at County 23rd Street and Avenue A adjacent to the Arizona prison complex.
Kevin Wilkins, city economic development program manager, explained that the requested change is part of an effort by the city to make the land more marketable.
“Nothing specific is being talked about,” he said. “We're just trying to clear up some things. The land use change gives us more options.”
One possibility might be the development of a private prison in the area, which would not be allowed under the public-quasi-public land use designation, he said. Another option might be some industry that could use prison inmate labor.
Wilkins noted that the city also has a number of other parcels around the community. “We're looking in general at how to get some sort of private sector use and get them back on the tax rolls once the city determines it doesn't need them.”
In addition to the two major amendments, a couple of other long-range planning cases are also before the city.
In one case, the applicant is seeking to change approximately 11.58 acres at 24th Street and Avenue C from medium and high density to low density residential. The applicant's intent is to develop a single family home subdivision there called Park West.
In another case, the applicant is requesting to change approximately 8.14 acres at 2545 W. 8th St. from mixed use to high density residential to develop an apartment complex. Sheltering Palms RV Park had previously been located there.
Cullis said area residents during a neighborhood meeting said they didn't care what was developed — anything would be an improvement.
Those two cases are scheduled for public hearings Oct. 8 and 22 before the Planning and Zoning Commission.