July 28, 2004
A developer is setting the stage for another collision with Mesa over building homes near Williams Gateway Airport.
LKY Development is putting the same piece of real estate in play as last year: A half-mile-wide strip of land on the north side of Elliot Road between Signal Butte and Ellsworth roads, which Mesa officials think is too close to the airport for residential development.
Mesa staff hasn’t taken an official position on the proposed change to the city’s general plan, but not much has changed since they tangled over the same issue last year.
Mesa’s Planning and Zoning Board will hold a special meeting on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Mesa Library’s Red Mountain branch, 635 N. Power Road. The board is scheduled to vote on the issue Sept. 16, after which it will go to the City Council.
This year, LKY has split the property in half and applied for two major general plan amendments because two homebuilders have committed to building on each side of the property.
LKY vice president Bill Ring maintains there isn’t a market for business-park uses in that area, and said the only thing that’s changed is mounting evidence most planes leaving the airport will not fly over his property.
"We didn’t know at the time whether the flight paths would be over our property," he said. "We know now that’s not going to be the case."
The Federal Aviation Administration is still working on a set of flight paths for planes using a new navigation system which would direct some planes using computers.
Williams Gateway’s current policies suggest that departing pilots stick to airspace above a power line that forms the northern boundary of the LKY property.
Ring said the flight paths of the new system will send traffic closer to U.S. 60.
Wayne Balmer, Mesa’s project manager for the Williams Gateway area, has also produced a letter from Warren Meehan, air traffic manager for the Phoenix Terminal Radar Approach Control at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, in which he said "probably no more than 2 (percent) or 3 percent of your total aircraft operations" will use the system.