The Hurricane is coming. Following several months of neighborhood meetings and city-level discussions between the promoters and concerned neighbors, the Mesa City Council approved development of a controversial nightclub Monday night by a resounding 6-0 vote, with council member Tom Rawles absent.
After listening to objections, mostly from the neighboring senior communities, about increased noise, traffic and potential for crime, council members double-checked with developers of Hurricane Bay to ensure appropriate arrangements would be made to mitigate those issues.
The club will be located in the Sun Valley shopping center northwest of Main Street and Sossaman Road, replacing a vacant grocery store.
"It serves a market niche in Mesa not currently served," Mayor Keno Hawker said.
Club co-owners Steve Pratico and Brian Crum operate a similar venue in Phoenix.
Hawker said that he especially visited that location "to see what it's like" and found nothing to merit any concern.
Pratico said construction will begin soon and residents can expect the 23,000-square-foot beach-themed club with music catering to a "mature" 25-and-older audience to open by September.
"We're thrilled," Pratico said after the meeting. "We're set to bring a clean, safe environment for residents to enjoy."
The developers had earlier backed out of plans to build the club near Baseline and Power roads after stiff opposition from neighbors.
This time, too, hundreds of residents, including many from the Mesa East mobile home subdivision, had objected to the project. But owners of the Aztec Springs apartment complex recently removed a legal protest after further discussions, said prominent Valley developer Michael Pollack, who owns the strip mall.
Those opposed to the project pleaded with the council in a last-ditch effort to note their objections.
After the vote, area resident Patricia Logan said the night's proceedings had been a formality.
"This decision was clearly made in advance," Logan said, shaking her head.
Patricia Lorenzen, president of the Sun Valley Casitas Homeowners Association, also expressed her disappointment.
Addressing the Council earlier, she had pleaded that the club was not consistent with the largely senior neighborhood and would make life uncomfortable for them.
"This is a potion for disaster, sometime, somewhere," Lorenzen said.
Representing the developers, zoning attorney Ralph Pew told the Council that a noise study had been conducted to satisfy city codes and that they further plan to do stripping on doors to dim the sound. Off-duty police officers would patrol the site outside to ensure safety, he added.
In January, the Planning and Zoning Board approved the project for the new location.
One supporter said he looks forward to seeing life injected in the area.
"We really need a place to just hang out," said east Mesa resident John Locke.