Phoenix to consider revising streets policy to recoup costs from developers

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, December 27, 2021 - 8:24am
Updated: Monday, December 27, 2021 - 9:03am

Phoenix could change a key development ordinance to align more closely with state statutes. The goal is to allow more flexibility and opportunity for the city to recoup expenses.

The issue involves scalloped streets — that can mean missing segments, curbs and sidewalks or inconsistent roads and configurations. Staggered development patterns, market conditions and city requirements that have changed over the years, are often to blame.

“When we have that hopscotch or leapfrog development, when we don’t have the streets with consistent widths, that helps — hurts our ability to have traffic flow through those areas, it can also leave us without amenities, such as sidewalks, landscaping, street lighting in those areas,” said Kini Knudson, street transportation director for Phoenix.

Earlier this month, he told the city’s transportation subcommittee what happened when the city built out 35th avenue between Baseline Road and Southern Avenue.

“Within a year of us completing that roadway project, the farmer decided to stop farming and sell that land off to a private home developer who then took advantage of the fact that the city had improved its half street and basically got that, those offset improvements for free.  

If a revised scalloped streets policy had been in place, the developer could have potentially been required to cover part of the cost.

The Streets Department will spend the next several months meeting with private developers and others before returning to the subcommittee with a proposal.

Knudsen said if the City Council approves a revised scalloped streets policy, it would be used in areas where Phoenix thinks development is going to occur in the near future.

BusinessPolitics Housing Transportation