Dec 15, 2022 - News

Chandler City Council and residents oppose affordable apartment complex

Illustration of a welcome mat but it says "Welcome?"

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A proposed affordable housing development near Chandler is facing pushback from neighbors and elected officials.

The intrigue: This is the latest income-restricted development to get tied up in concerns about traffic, density and the types of people that the apartment complexes would bring to an area.

Why it matters: Arizona is short 270,000 housing units, creating a supply-and-demand problem that has spiked rent and housing prices.

  • The average apartment rents for $1,880 in Chandler, per Rentcafe.

Details: The Landings at Ocotillo would bring 518 affordable apartments to 25 acres near Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road. Of those units, 182 would be reserved for people 55 and older.

  • They would be available to people who make up to 80% of the area median income, which is currently $49,500 for a single person or $70,650 for a family of four.
  • Rents would range from about $1,000-$1,700 a month.

The latest: Last week, the Chandler City Council voted unanimously on a resolution opposing the complex, saying that the city's general plan calls for the land to be redeveloped into an employment center and raising concerns about the availability of water.

  • The proposed complex is on a county island adjacent to Chandler, so the county board of supervisors will have final say on the project.

Of note: The city's decision to oppose the project came at the request of hundreds of people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.

  • The group's website lists a host of concerns, including increased traffic and crime.

What they're saying: "I think I can speak for the vast majority of people who are here. We are not opposed to low-income housing and we understand the need in Chandler. What we're opposed to is the location," resident Mary Ellen Saunders told the council.

The other side: Owen Metz, senior vice president of the project developer Dominium, tells Axios Phoenix that he hears that a lot. But any location will get the same pushback by neighbors in that area.

  • Apartment complexes of all types often lead to concerns about traffic and density, but Metz says that affordable complexes face even more scrutiny about crime and property values.
  • "These are just people who work in our community," Metz says, noting that Dominium is working with the Chandler school district to provide preference to early-career teachers.

Zoom out: Dominium has faced similar battles in other Valley cities.

  • Earlier this year, the Surprise City Council narrowly approved an affordable complex, but neighbors began collecting signatures to let the voters decide on the project's fate. So far they've been unsuccessful.

What's next: The project is scheduled to go before the Maricopa County board of supervisors in March.

  • Supervisor Jack Sellers, who represents the area, did not respond to our request for comment.

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