Candidates for Gilbert City Council give their thoughts on multi-family housing

Tom Blodgett and Lucie Flagg

What do you think of multifamily housing in the city and how much should it be part of the city’s housing “mix” as the city moves towards construction?

Chuck Bongiovanni, and CEO of Majestic Residences Franchise Systems

We can’t stick our heads in the sand and believe we can’t demand more apartment buildings. We need units to support our work in the city. Few people will travel from Phoenix to work in Gilbert. As previously stated, I do not support colossal multi-family apartments, however, I do support smaller apartments appropriately distributed throughout the city as long as we are committed to strict code enforcement in the future. The first apartment I moved into in Gilbert 33 years ago looks the same today when I walk past it as the day I moved in. We need to be creative about what “multifamily” looks like. Could the multifamily look like five unrelated young professionals all living in a house renting rooms? I would like us to actively seek condominium developers so that people have the pride of ownership. The only thing stopping us are creative, out-of-the-box solutions. That said, we can’t vote ‘no’ just because an idea is different.”

Bobbi Buchli, rreal estate broker

The city has several multi-family high density housing projects in progress which, when completed, will house a large number of inhabitants due to their high density. We need apartments and housing, and I am not against apartments. My view is that the city’s housing mix should include low-rise/low-density apartments to better suit residents’ expectations and the surroundings and neighborhoods of the city. My perspective also includes the need for more affordable residential housing. »

Mario Chicas, aaccount representative

Over the past two years, the city has seen a tremendous amount of multi-family construction. Of course, we have to be aware of the needs of residents here and new families. Question though, is it affordable? Some apartments cost thousands of dollars in rent. Is it useful for young adults? Like I said before, I promote owner-occupied homes.”

Michael Clark, p.resident of Digital Illustrations LLC & AW Sales LLC

By the time I am sworn in, additional multi-family units will be approved by City Council. From day one of City Council, we will need and want more room for single family homes, parks, trails and other quality of life amenities in Gilbert. Again, I say this is where the courage of the board can prove itself. We will need a smart trading plan. Maintaining businesses already in Gilbert and securing businesses wishing to settle in Gilbert are a priority for a strong economy. We want good tax revenue that is trade-generating and healthy for the Gilbert community. »

Yung Koprowski, c.civil engineer, board member

Many residents and the incoming workforce have good, well-paying jobs, but they need a stepping stone or helping hand into homeownership. Instead of housing products built for rental, I would like to see a shift to multi-family products for sale on properties already zoned for multi-family. I would support continued regional collaboration around programs that would also help people access homeownership. »

Obayomi bus, mmanagement consultant

There is a proliferation of apartments in town. We need to strike a balance in building multi-family homes and ensuring that it is not at the expense of our constituents. My wife and I lived for a time in an apartment in Gilbert because that was what made sense at the time for my young family. There is nothing wrong with apartments. However, we must have good parameters in place to determine the zoning of apartments.”

Scott September, rregional director, board member

The general plan approved by Gilbert’s voters calls for 11% multi-family housing, and we haven’t reached that limit yet. Most of the apartments built in the past two years were licensed years before construction began and only required a non-discretionary design review by the Planning Commission. Property rights are the foundation of our nation and community, but we must be careful to balance everyone’s property rights in considering land use applications that would alter our overall plan. »

Bill Spence, retired United States Navy nuclear engineering officer

While it is my responsibility to review and consider every application submitted to me, I am opposed to the construction of more Multi-Family High Density (MFH) apartments. The the appropriate “mix” of multi-family housing is based on the socio-economic status of our residents. Future demands for multi-family housing in Gilbert will most likely be larger, luxurious floor plans with ample parking and amenities. There is certainly a need for appropriate multi-family housing, however, we need to ensure the designs match Gilbert’s personality.”

Jim Torgeson, owner of Mesa Sign Shop

Every municipality needs apartments, this is simply how this mix best serves the community. We are currently at 11% and staying within this range is best for current residents. My hometown (Glendale, CA) was about 12% in the early 80’s. Now it’s 50% and it’s gone from “The Jewel City” to a mess. A former mayor of Gilbert told me his biggest regret was an apartment complex in Gilbert that became the #1 crime scene in town. Apartments are like water. You need it, you just don’t need to be waterboarded. We have to go slowly.”

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