Phoenix Residents Lose 'David And Goliath' HonorHealth Zoning Case

Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 8:26am
Updated: Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 8:59am

Some residents in north Phoenix had a message for city leaders Wednesday: good project, bad location. But they failed to convince the Phoenix City Council.

HonorHealth needed the council to approve a zoning change on the northwest corner of 54th Street and Shea Boulevard so it can build a 24-hour emergency room and urgent care center. The company said it would limit lighting and signs on the single-story, 18-foot-tall building and ambulances would not use lights and sirens. But several residents pushed back, including Maulik Parikh.

“This is a classic David and Goliath story,” he said. “HonorHealth is not a small business that needs your support in order to survive. This is just their 77th expansion project for them, whereas for us it’s our one and only neighborhood. That fact alone should prioritize the desires of the residents over the applicant.”

Wendy Riddell who represented HonorHealth’s zoning request told the council hospital emergency departments are near full capacity and there are more than 45,000 emergency department visits annually within a 10-minute drive of the site. Approximately 125 parking spaces will be designated as part of the 3.19 acre project.

District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark who represents the area said she visited similar centers in Mesa and Ahwatukee:

"I sat at the site at, the one in Ahwatukee for 25 minutes and it was very, very quiet. It looks like an office, it feels like an office and there just was no activity."

Stark also said she talked with a staff member at the city of Peoria where a similar center is located close to residential and was told there had been no complaints. 

Stark included extra stipulations that ban HonorHealth from applying to become a designated trauma center, requires the company to pay for a new traffic signal, and within six months of occupancy meet with residents adjacent to the property to discuss whether lighting adjustments are needed.

The council unanimously approved HonorHealth’s project.

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