Residents voice concerns over potential industrial development near Chandler Airpark

CHANDLER, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A fight is brewing in chandler between neighbors and the city over the development of land near the Chandler Airpark. 

A plan to add an industrial warehouse center was nixed once in October, after a heated meeting, but that changed. Now, the plan is moving forward again, much to the dismay of people who live nearby.

The area in question: nearly 80 acres of land on the corner of McQueen and Queen Creek Roads in Chandler. The land sits empty, and it could one day be home to industrial warehouses and truck traffic.

That is exactly what neighbors are afraid of.

"The City Council voted no on this project," said Ken McAlister. He lives in the nearby Lantana Ranch neighborhood, and has been actively fighting the proposal for months.

Since voting "No", There was an altered proposal from Minnesota-based developer Ryan Companies that doesn't need council approval. The new plan calls for less dock doors for trucks, less development on the land, and more man-made barriers closer to the street. The plan meets the requirements the land was zoned for more than a decade ago.

The landowner would like to see something on the property that's been in his family for years. Land use attorney Sean Lake is working with the landowner to try and make the development happen.

Neighbors say even though the development is legal, it doesn't mean its fair to them

"They proposed a new plan that will then circumvent going through the City Council, which city staff can rubber stamp it and say yes, you can build this project on this parcel," said McAlister. "No, it is not fair. If the City Council voted down no, then why is staff driving the project and allowing it to go forward?"

Neighbors who loudly voiced their opposition to this project say at least for now, this fight isn't over. They are considering taking legal action.

A month ago, a group identifying themselves as the "Chandler Alliance for Community Protection" did lawyer up. They claim the new proposal violates Chandler planning and zoning rules by not limiting congestion and not promoting the public health, safety, comfort, morals, and welfare of citizens. The lay of land now indicates the fight isn't over.

"Well, you can always fight City Hall," said McAlister. "They need to know that our voice needs to be heard, and City Council has already heard our voice, and they voted it down once before. Why are they not able to step in now?"

To further complicate the issue, Arizona voters approved a measure in 2006, preventing governments from devaluing land for property owners through regulations. This situation could put Chandler taxpayers on the hook for more than $10 million, if that law applies.

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