By Paul Maryniak for Ahwatukee Foothills News
More than 18 months after homeowners in the 185-home Foothills Paseo II subdivision launched an effort to derail a plan for Quik Trip on 40th Street, the gas station giant appears all but certain to win.
The city Planning Department is only a few weeks from giving final approval to the controversial project, according to spokeswoman Angie Holdsworth.
“It looks like the project is waiting final site review,” she said. “Everything is ready to go pending the approval. It will probably take a couple weeks for that to be completed give or take.”
Residents have fought the gas station since it first came before the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee in April 2019, saying it not only posed a traffic menace and nuisance but also posed an even more serious danger in the event of a fire or gasoline spill.
Those fears have been driven by the gas station’s location on the SEC of 40th Street and Cottonwood Way – the latter being the only way into and out of the Foothills Paseo II community.
It also will be located within 300 feet of the 40th Street-South Mountain Freeway interchange and directly across a large park ‘n ride lot.
“Most of the neighbors are not happy about it,” said Alvaro Diaz, president of the Paseo Foothills II HOA. “They still think it definitely is going to cause a lot of traffic issues. They already have a lot of questions about how this will work with the (freeway) ramp and everything.”
But Diaz also was resigned to the impending city sign-off and draws some satisfaction in the fact that residents’ opposition prompted the city to force Quik Trip to scale down the size of its project to about half of what it had planned and include a right-turn lane on Cottonwood onto the site.
The station’s proximity to the freeway also prompted the Arizona Department of Transportation to block Quik Trip’s plan for driveways along 40th Street.
ADOT bought up the right-of-way along 600 feet of 40th Street from the freeway to prevent the gas station or any future development on adjacent parcels from building any access from or to the thoroughfare.
The agency said 40th Street access to Quik Trip posed a danger to traffic exiting from the freeway.
While some people criticized the residents for opposing the gas station – which will be the closest to the freeway segment running through Ahwatukee – homeowners said they had no complaints with Quik Trip, but only its location.
They cited concerns about traffic safety and the possible dangers that could result from either a fire or a major gas spill resulting from a tanker accident.
But in January, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said that after two assessments of the site, she was convinced the neighbors have little to worry about.
Concerns about daily traffic had prompted the city Planning Department to have Quik Trip undertake a second traffic study, since its first submission occurred before the freeway opened.
The second study, performed in May by CivTech, estimated that 1,844 vehicles will enter and exit the Quik Trip site every weekday but that only 10 percent of those vehicles would be heading into or out of the site during either the morning or afternoon rush hour.
The area was zoned commercial broadly enough to allow for a gas station more than 20 years ago – before most of Foothills Paseo II was even built.
Residents contended that the law should allow for a reconsideration of zoning for a site when nearby development has occurred in the years after it was first granted.
It’s unclear what Quik Trip’s timeline is for the building the gas station. Read more at Ahwatukee Foothills News.