The Glendale City Council agreed during its Sept. 14 workshop to move forward with processing the Sonoma Cotton Annexation, a proposed 36-acre mixed-use development at Cotton Lane and Northern Avenue.

The Sonoma Cotton Annexation project proposes multifamily housing: 144 detached single-level units on approximately 11.6 acres. Glendale will annex the land that is in unincorporated Maricopa County.

Council members questioned the commercial aspects of the proposed development and the plans for high-density single-family housing on the parcel. 

In the presentation at the city council workshop, there is a Luke Air Force Base Graduated Density Concept, to encourage development that gradually increases residential density outside of legislated “high noise” and “accident potential zone” areas, in the planning for the annexation and, according to Tabitha Perry from Glendale Planning and Zoning, “Luke Air Force Base is aware of the annexation and, upon initial look of the annexation itself, there doesn’t appear to be any concerns from their perspective.” However, they are still reviewing the rezoning application before making their final decision. 

The city staff are still unaware of any specific end users for the commercial portion, Perry said.

“It’s in his (the developer’s) right to include all of the acreage in his mathematical equation and then turn around and say we need the four units to the acre,” Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca District said. “As far as I’m concerned, the applicant is using false math when it comes to the residential plan.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers expressed reservations about the proposed residential section of development. “To think that everyone is going to work in those new developments and live in those apartments, I think, is wrong,” Weiers said. 

Other councilmembers were supportive of the residential plans. “I think this fits. It’s providing a very close residential community for a very large industrial area,” Councilmember Ray Malnar of Sahuaro District said. Councilmember Jamie Aldama of the Ocotillo District also showed support. 

The council was also concerned about the funds being set aside by the developer for public safety. One-time payments for the development are estimated at $2.5 million, with annual revenues for the development estimated at $190,000. 

Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff of the Cholla District said the proposed development will be near heavy traffic corridors, and more money could be needed for public safety needs. 

“Any development out there will create a need for public safety with more people traveling on the roads going to and from jobs we are creating,” Tolmachoff said. 

Other councilmembers were hesitant. 

“I’m concerned about the future and the ability of this area to support itself through tax revenues,” Councilmember Bart Turner of the Barrel District said.

The next steps in the annexation will be a city council public hearing on the “blank petition,” which is a document that is filed with the county recorder’s office that has the legal description and map of the annexation. After that, the property owner signatures may then be obtained on the petition. The third step would be to have a city council public hearing scheduled for the adoption of the annexation, and if the annexation is approved, the site would be added into the Glendale city limits within 30 days of the approval.