Though it took a while, Waypoint finally got its way.
Over the last two months, neighbors of a Riverview office park successfully pleaded with Mesa City Council to put off a decision on an expansion of the 30-acre Waypoint office park at Alma School Road and Bass Pro Drive.
The plan to build a three-story (55 feet) office building and four-level (44 feet) garage would wreck their mountain views and blast lights into their bedrooms, neighbors complained.
Though the developer rejected neighbors’ last-ditch plea to build a berm in front of the garage, council members congratulated the developer for making other adjustments.
And, at its April 19 meeting, Council unanimously approved the expansion.
“Thank you to the neighborhood, they’ve made a lot of great comments,” said Councilman Mark Freeman, who represents the business park and across-the-canal residents. “The property is impeccable,” he added.
Mayor John Giles also tipped his cap to both sides.
“Both the neighbors and the applicant have worked really hard, they’ve been really respectful,” Giles said. “We’ve worked to be responsive to the neighbors’ concerns.”
He noted the issue was delayed twice and “I’m glad we’ve taken our time.
“I think the neighbors should feel a real sense of accomplishment,” Giles said. “This is a much better project than it was when it first walked in the Planning Department’s doors.”
Residents begged to differ.
Shawna Boyle, who gave a 9-minute presentation last month, said they never wanted the project. Even so, “we have continued to make compromises but the developer has barely budged.”
She insisted the berm and trees would block lights and provide a screen.
Saying it would add an aesthetic to the area, Boyle said, “The city should be fighting for the berm along with us.
“(The developer) flat out said, ‘No, we can’t build a berm.’ Please don’t let this be the final answer.”
She also asked for more time “so we can properly draft a good neighbor policy.”
Another neighbor pleaded for more time, noting a good neighbor policy was rushed through: “We thought it would be more of a back and forth.”
Another neighbor submitted a comment card that was read, pleading with council to “lessen the horrific impact of the development on this historic neighborhood.”
Representing the developer, Adam Baugh said he just got the neighbors’ request for a berm four days before the meeting.
“After working on this for a year, this was the first time I heard about it … it isn’t a practical solution construction wise,” Baugh said.
“We’ve done our best to be responsive,” he stressed.
“As we look at comments from neighbors (April 15), we are able to accommodate some requests but not all requests. This is a better project because of their feedback — although we’re not able to accommodate all their requests.”
At a previous meeting, Baugh said it would cost $8 million to build the garage partially underground, as some neighbors suggested.
Planning Director Nana Appiah noted the developer must follow recommendations from the Design Review Board and a good neighbor policy.
The day after the decision, Shawna Boyle told the Tribune the neighborhood feels city government failed them.
“We absolutely disagree with the mayor and other members of council referring to this as a win-win,” Boyle said, via email. “The developers got what they wanted and did the bare minimum to say ‘see we worked with the neighborhood.’
“It was infuriating to hear the mayor and city council say that we as a neighborhood should be proud of the work that we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished. We are not proud of this, we do not feel accomplished, there is still so much more work that should be done to make this development an acceptable neighbor to us.”