Camino a Lago Marketplace

The Peoria Planning Commission approved a request for a 280-unit apartment community at Camino a Lago Marketplace.

Peoria could be seeing more development soon—though not all are excited about it.

The Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission met Jan. 21 to discuss allowing an apartment community within Camino a Lago Marketplace center and recreational marijuana. 

The commission unanimously approved the addition of the 280-unit apartment building on 14 acres of the 56 acre Camino a Lago Marketplace. The shopping center, near West Lake Pleasant Parkway and West Deer Valley Road, is anchored by a Walmart Supercenter. 

MC Companies, the developer, plans to bring “upscale units in a live work and play neighborhood,” according to the plan.

MC Companies also agreed to contribute $140,000 to the Peoria Unified School District. 

Despite the unanimous approval, neighbors of the development voiced their opposition against the use of space. 

“We want restaurants, we want retail, we want places to go and take our families, walkability. It seems ridiculous to me that there’s this space not being used for the potential it has,” Cynthia Ables said. 

Concerns about safety and protection were voiced to the commission as well. 

“My concern is not how tall the buildings are, my concern is the crime,” Dianne Rokle said. 

In addition to those who spoke in person, the agenda packet included dozens of emails to the city protesting the proposed development.

Jennifer Hall of Rose Law Group, representing the developer, addressed concerns in an email.

“Neighbors are concerned with the stigma of the word ‘apartments’ and they believe apartments breed crime,” she wrote. “However, this project is not a low-income apartment complex. This is a gated, highly amenitized, professionally managed and secure community. In fact, this community will add security to the existing vacant parking lot currently out on the site. This corner of the Marketplace is currently unmonitored and unwanted vehicles can be found loitering and dumping trash throughout the day. Vacant parcels attract unwanted visitors typically up to no good. The proposed community will add more ‘eyes on the street,’ eliminate unwanted people in the neighborhood and increase security within the entire community.”

Hall said the project will not decrease property values: “This is a high-quality, gated community by a reputable local developer with many communities around the Valley; these are renters by choice, not necessity. Young professionals and Empty Nesters who are willing to pay higher rents ($1,100-$1,700) to enjoy a resort lifestyle.”

Other community members expressed their support for the development. 

Andres Nelson said he initially had concerns about the development, but felt the developers have listened to his concerns and made adequate changes. 

“I am in support of this because they have addressed it and have been working with this overall and I don’t think there’s any concerns that are unworkable,” Nelson said. 

The request for an apartment community will next be heard by the Peoria City Council.

The Planning Commision also heard a presentation on Proposition 207 in relation to current land use regulations. Voters approved the proposition in November, clearing the way for sales of recreational marijuana.

Qualifying sites in commercial zoning districts are required to be 2,640 feet from existing dispensary or cultivation sites, 1,000 feet from schools, preschools, daycare, bars, liquor stores and substance abuse centers and 500 feet from residential zoning districts.

Commercial sites are also required to have a security plan approved by the police department, in addition to storing products behind a locked counter. 

The city is permitted to restrict operating hours, signage and waste disposal.

Although there are currently no industrial sites in Peoria, they follow the same guidelines for commercial sites. 

 

Contact Allison Engstrom at aengstrom@timespublications.com.