The Battle of Queen Creek

Written by Tom Marcinko Category: Valley News Issue: March 2013
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Development is ramping up in the Valley, and that means more revenue – and more bickering and city council infighting. When the East Valley town of Queen Creek incorporated in 1989, its 2,000 residents placed minimum restrictions on lot sizes to keep the atmosphere rural. That was a quarter-century, 24,000 new residents, and one recession ago. The town council recently voted, 6-1, for two big changes to the community’s general plan, allowing for smaller lots and more houses per acre in two neighborhoods being eyed by developers. Similar changes in a third neighborhood are pending. Specific plans have yet to be approved. Queen Creek

councilman Craig Barnes says he was “insulted” by a developer for questioning the general plan – but voted for the changes anyway. The vote has deeply polarized Queen Creek and revived the age-old progress vs. tradition debate. Proponents say the new zonings declare the town open for business, but many longtime residents feel outmaneuvered by leaders bent on creating a sprawling copy of Chandler and Mesa – and “all those other mistakes,” as one citizen complained at a city council meeting last November.