A Hazard?: 261-unit Kierland apartment building gets 1st OK

A Hazard?: 261-unit Kierland apartment building gets 1st OK

By Scottsdale Airpark News Staff

A project that would add 261 luxury apartments in the Kierland District passed its first review in Phoenix recently but the developers must meet two concerns by Scottsdale Airport officials.

The Paradise Valley Village Planning Committee on January 10 recommended Phoenix Planning Commission approval of the Davis Kierland building, which would replace six “underutilized” two-story office buildings on 4.2 acres at 71st Street and Marilyn Road with a 75-foot-high, five-story building. If the Planning Commission OKs the project, it still must go before Phoenix City Council.

But city planners in their review of the project says developer Davis Development must notify the Federal Aviation Administration before it begins construction because the building is in the Scottsdale Airport flight path and must obtain a “no-hazard” declaration from the agency.

That means developers will have to assure the FAA that cranes used during the building’s construction won’t pose an obstacle to aircraft.

City planners also noted in their evaluation of the project, “The city of Scottsdale Aviation Department expressed concern with the location of this project as it relates to the airports flight paths and the 55- and 60-Day Night Average Sound Level (DNL) noise contours of Scottsdale Airport.”

An undated noise study performed by Coffman Associates Airport Consultants cited a multiagency study of noise levels generated by airports produced guidelines that describe a 65 DNL contour as “the threshold of significant impact for residential land uses and a variety of noise-sensitive institutions (such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, cultural activities, auditoriums, and outdoor music shells).”

That study also said multifamily developments were compatible with the 55 to 60 noise contours.

Phoenix planning staff apparently agreed, although it also said:

“The property owner shall record documents that disclose the existence, and operational characteristics of Scottsdale Municipal Airport (SDL) to future owners or tenants of the property. The form and content of such documents shall be approved by the planning and development department.”

Another document prepared for the city by the developer’s law firm, Snell & Wilmer, describes the overall project as “appropriate,” citing its “proximity to retail, office and light industrial employment opportunities.”

It said the apartment building will “provide quality, modern urban living experiences” and “create a pedestrian oriented, walkable environment along its roadway frontages for the benefit of the larger community” and offer “an opportunity to integrate residential uses with existing retail and employment centers.”

“The project contributes to the recent development trend that has reinvented the larger surrounding area with quality pedestrian edges, elimination of surface parking lots, and an emphasis on quality design that has visual interest within the pedestrian realm and to the broader community,” the firm writes.

It said the sidewalk along the two frontage roads will be widened and walk-up ground-floor units built “to create a streetscape design that supports an enhanced pedestrian network in the Kierland Commerce South subdivision.”

The building will offer a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom units with 45 to 57 apartments on each floor, according to plans submitted to the city. Among the planned amenities are a pool and spa above the garage — there will be no surface parking — and an indoor sky lounge with open viewing deck may be added atop the fifth floor of the building.

One Phoenix couple objected to the project, writing: “This area is already over saturated with personal residences and traffic. Please do not support the changes requested by the applicant. This area does not need more residential housing. The street off of the proposed site, East Acoma, is already a pass-through that is highly used to escape traffic from Scottsdale Road and Kierland Boulevard. …Leave the area zoned as it is now, industrial/commercial.”

Phoenix planners said a traffic study indicated the apartment building will generate “1,438 weekday trips with 89 trips (23 in/66 out) during the a.m. peak hour and 112 trips (68 in/46 out) during the p.m. peak hour. The analysis determined that, during the peak hours, a large distribution of vehicles (47%) will exit the property at the south driveway heading southwest on 71st Street.”

The report did not address any potential impact on Scottsdale Road traffic in the area.

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