Bradshaw Drive neighborhood opposes developer bid for reduced home setbacks
When the City of Prescott approved a controversial residential project in the Bradshaw Drive area earlier this summer, it was with the understanding that the 33 proposed homes would have typical setbacks from the front, side, and rear property lines.
Now, about two months after the Prescott Council’s approval of the project, the developer of the Bradshaw Hills subdivision is back before the city to ask for reduced home setbacks on all sides.
Prescott Community Development Director Bryn Stotler said the developer is asking to reduce the front and rear setbacks from the standard 25 feet to five feet. In addition, the standard nine-foot side setback is being proposed to be reduced to five feet as well.
Because of the extent of the proposed changes, Stotler said city staffers determined that the project needed to go back before the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commission and the Prescott City Council for review.
The Planning and Zoning Commission review happened this past week and resulted in a stalemate of sorts.
After hearing from a number of the neighbors, all of whom expressed opposition to the changes, a majority of the commissioners present voted for a motion to recommend denial of the request.
But, because only four members of the seven-member commission were present at the meeting, the motion did not achieve a majority vote by city standards, which require a four-vote majority for approval.
Commissioners Terry Marshall, Mel Roop, and George Lee all voted for the motion recommending denial, while Commission Chairman George Sheats voted against it. (Commissioners Ken Mabarak and Ted Gambogi were absent, and a vacant seat has yet to be officially filled).
Because the motion to deny did not achieve an official majority, Stotler said the project’s proposed changes will go to the Prescott City Council without a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission. The matter is expected to be on the City Council agenda on Aug. 27.
Even before the setback changes were proposed, nearby neighbors had expressed opposition to the Bradshaw Hills project. A number of residents in the nearby Manzanita Village have maintained that the Bradshaw Hills project would exacerbate an already dangerous traffic situation on the steep and twisting Bradshaw Drive.
Still, the project got a recommendation of approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission in May, and then was approved by the City Council in June.
Later, developer Luther Kraxberger reportedly informed the city that the standard setbacks would not work for the developer.
Kraxberger told the commissioners on Aug. 8 that the 25-foot front and rear setbacks and nine-foot side setbacks were included in the plans by the project engineer as a “Scrivener’s error,” which is defined as a typographical error in a contract.
The smaller setbacks would allow for larger homes, as well as more open space in the Planned Area Development (PAD), Kraxberger said. “The open space was a point of concern for the neighborhood,” he said, adding that the developers had come up with the plans based on the feedback from the neighborhood.
But residents maintain the project would be out of character with the neighborhood, and the smaller setbacks would make the project even more intrusive.
Gary Palmer, one of the neighbors who spoke at the Aug. 8 meeting, voiced opposition to the proposed changes. “To throw this in at the eleventh hour doesn’t sit well,” he said, adding a recommendation that the project go back to the drawing board.
The Planning and Zoning Commission typically makes recommendations to the City Council, and the Council makes the final decisions.