A resident expressed concerns with a proposed development, saying that his house would face the entrance into the new subdivision and he would be forced to back into the intersection.

The First Church of the Nazarene of Yuma asked the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for approval of a preliminary plat for property at the southeast corner of South 13th Avenue and West 19th Street, west of Avenue A.

During a public hearing on Monday, Ronald Martin of the Ram Companies said he plans to buy and develop the long-vacant 2.41-acre property into The Village Subdivision, with 12 residential lots ranging in size from about 6,248 square feet to 9,735 square feet.

Martin explained that he wants to find “nice empty pieces” of properties and fill them in, like he did with the former site of the Salvation Army on Arizona Avenue, which now houses Franklin’s FTS Automotive Center.

For the church property, Martin said he first thought of developing condos but believed it might increase traffic too much. He then decided that building single-family homes would be a “perfect fit” for the neighborhood and, with the hospital less than half a mile away, fill a need for housing for nurses and doctors.

He added that it would be a “beautiful little development when it gets done.” The price range for the 1,400- to 1,600-square-foot homes would be from the low- to mid-$200,000s.

Both by email and in person, Steve Steinfelt pointed out that he would be required to back into the middle of an intersection to get out of his house. He also expressed concerns that being right across from the intersection would affect the value of his home and his family’s quality of life.

“This turns our home (or any others if it's simply rearranged on 19th St.), not into a corner of an intersection, but an actual part of it. We can't support this development as platted,” noted the email by Steinfelt and his wife Jane.

Other neighbors had concerns as well. Bob Blevins, a city principal planner, told the commission that 16 residents attended a July 10 neighborhood meeting. Neighbors brought up several issues, including extra traffic on 19th Street, the need for more street lights and stop signs on 19th Street and the price range and quality of the new homes. An attendee objected to high walls along the side and rear yards of the new homes. One suggested that more lots should front 19th Street.

Blevins said that after the neighborhood meeting, the applicant revised the preliminary plat, reorienting lots 9 and 10 so they front 19th Street. This eliminates some of the possibilities of high side and rear yard walls, with the benefit of two more driveways on 19th Street to better fit in with the established homes on the block, he noted.

Carl Lund, a city engineering associate, told the commission that the city conducted a traffic study and found that the traffic on 19th Street did not warrant an all-way stop sign. “The volumes are too low,” he said.

Steinfelt called the 19th Street a “racetrack.” Following a suggestion that the city should put in speed bumps, Lund said the city also conducted a speed study and found average traffic was a little under 23 mph, when 30 mph is the normal speed for residential neighborhoods.

Steinfelt asked when the study had been conducted. Lund said it had been done Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 6-7, after school started. Steinfelt noted that November through January would have turned up higher volumes and speeds.

“I’m not against the subdivision,” Steinfelt said, adding that he always hoped something would go in on that property, but that he still had his concerns with the proposed subdivision.

He then asked about property values and taxes, and Community Development Director Laurie Lineberry replied that the Yuma County Assessor’s Office could talk to him about that.

Blevins noted that the church has owned the property, with low density residential zoning, since the early 1960s, and it now wishes to sell it off. The existing church property will remain intact and an improved stormwater retention basin will be developed to handle runoff from the church parking lot and the new subdivision.

In a staff report, Blevins also explained that all land adjacent to the proposed subdivision is developed, with two-story apartments and homes to the south and west and one-story homes along 19th Street.

With a 4-0 vote, the commission OK’d the preliminary plat. The panel has the authority to approve preliminary plats, with the council ultimately approving final plats.

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