By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
The Town of Queen Creek last week approved a Planned Community District application from a group of several landowners to develop the Box Canyon Master Planned Community on 2,089 acres in the southwest portion of town.
Allowing for a general density of 1.8 homes per acre, the multi-phase development plan could ultimately generate up to 3,760 when completed in 20-30 years. A frequently asked questions page provided by the town states that, upon completion, the community could result in 12,800 new residents.
As planned, Box Canyon will consist primarily of single family homes, with additional mixed use and amenity areas, open spaces, an elementary school, a 27-acre resort development and a fire station. The rezoning application calls for a total of 56 development parcels and targets an open space area of 30.9 percent. Community accessible amenities and facilities will be developed along the community’s outer spaces, with the residential segments to be created in more interior locations.
Beginning south of Hunt Highway and Power Road, the approximately ½ mile by four-mile area is bordered by the Gila River Indian Community and Santan Regional Mountain Park. Area property owners began working to change the town’s General Plan designation to a Master Planned Community in 2012, and the Box Canyon owners submitted the zoning change request in 2014 (AZBEX, Dec. 9, 2014). Since that time, town staff has closely overseen the development plans, focusing largely on preserving the area’s natural character and appeal.
A key area of concern as the development plans progressed was preservation of the desert environment. To that end, residences will be generally created in clustered segments to minimize impact, and native plants will be preserved or relocated whenever possible.
Box Canyon’s submitted plans include a circulation system integrating pedestrian, bicycle, hiking and vehicular access. The streets and paths will largely run parallel with existing washes and topography to facilitate drainage and minimize wash crossings. The south side of Hunt Highway will be expanded to facilitate access, and the developers have donated right of way.