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Approved development plan in Mesa would cover 1,100 acres

(Photo courtesy of Greey Pickett)

PHOENIX — Seven dairy farming families are one step closer to selling their land for development in the East Valley.

Mesa’s Planning and Zoning Board voted last week in favor of a massive development plan called Hawes Crossing. The farming families have been working with city staff to come up with the plan for several years.

The plan is in southeast Mesa and covers more than 1,100 acres. It would bring new housing and businesses to the area.

Jim Boyle Jr., owner of Jim Boyle Dairy, said this means he and the other dairy farmers nearby would be able to sell their land.

“The dairies are essentially reaching the end of their life,” Boyle said. “They’re 40 years old. Things are wearing down.”

He said it’s time for him and the other dairy farmers to either modernize their farms or rezone the land so they can sell it for development.

“We could then take our proceeds and go farm in other areas that are much more conducive to farming,” he said, adding he’d like to relocate to Casa Grande.

Hawes Crossing would be located near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, west of Ellsworth Road, from Elliot to Warner roads.

A total of 493 acres would be for housing and 205 acres would be for mixed-use. There would also be space for commercial, retail and offices.

Councilman Kevin Thompson said he’s concerned about how this development would impact the airport.

“I just believe that if you add more houses into an area that is within the flight path of the aircraft entering and exiting Gateway Airport that you’re just creating issues that right now don’t exist,” he said.

More specifically, he said future residents may complain about aircraft noise. He said that could impact the airport’s operations.

Thompson added he’s not opposed to the entire development plan.

“I’m just opposed to the amount of housing that’s going in,” he said. “I think there’s an opportunity to come back to the table. Let’s sit down and figure out what’s the right amount of housing that can work within an airport.”

Boyle said his family’s farm has been there for decades and hasn’t had any issues with the airport’s noise.

He said it’s now up to the city council to vote on the plan and make a decision.

“Do they want these dairies to be around with potentially more cows for a really long time or do we want to create a really nice development that’s going to make Mesa a better place?” Boyle said.

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