Gilbert Town Council candidates give their thoughts on multifamily housing

Daily Independent
Daily Independent

What are your views on multifamily housing in town, and how much should it be part of the town's housing "mix" as the town moves toward build-out?

Chuck Bongiovanni, c o-founder and CEO of Majestic Residences Franchise Systems

" We can't put our heads in the sand and believe we can demand no more apartment buildings. We need the units to support our labor in the town. Not too many people will travel from Phoenix to work in Gilbert. As noted previously, I don't support colossal multifamily apartments, however, I do support smaller unit apartments appropriately distributed across the town as long as we commit to strict code enforcement in the future. The first apartment I moved into in Gilbert 33 years ago looks the same today as I drive by as it did the day I moved into it. We have to be creative as to what 'multifamily' looks like. Could multifamily look like five unrelated young professionals all living in one home renting bedrooms? I would like to see us actively seek condominium developers so people will have the pride of ownership. The only thing stopping us is creative, out-of-the-box solutions. With that said, we can't vote 'no' just because an idea is different."

Bobbi Buchli, r eal estate broker

" The town has several multifamily high-density housing projects in the works right now, which once completed, will house a large number of residents due to the high density they have. We need apartments and housing, and I am not against apartments. My view is the town's housing mix should include low-height/low-density apartments to flow better with what residents expect and the town surroundings and neighborhoods. My view also includes the need for more residential affordable housing."

Mario Chicas, a ccount representative

" Over the last couple of years, the town has seen a tremendous amount of multifamily builds. Of course, we need to be cognizant of the needs of residents here now and the incoming families. Question though, is it affordable? Some of the apartments go for thousands of dollars in rent—is that helpful to young adults? As I've said before, I promote owner-occupied homes."

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

" By the time I am sworn, additional multifamily living will be approved by Town Council. Starting the first day on Town 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 courage for the council can prove themselves. We will need a smart commerce plan. Maintaining companies already in Gilbert and securing companies wanting to make Gilbert home is a priority to a strong economy. We want good, commerce-generating, healthy tax revenue for the Gilbert community."

Yung Koprowski, c ivil engineer, council member

" Many residents and the incoming workforce have good, high-paying jobs, but they need a stepping stone or hand up to attain homeownership. Instead of housing products built for rent, I’d like to see a shift to for-sale multifamily products on property already zoned for multifamily. I’d support continued regional collaboration surrounding programs that would help people attain homeownership as well."

Bus Obayomi, m anagement consultant

" There is a proliferation of apartments in the t own. We do need to have balance in the construction of multifamily homes and make sure it is not at the expense of our constituents. My wife and I lived in an apartment in Gilbert for a period because it was what made sense at the time for my young family. There is nothing wrong with apartments. However, we need to have good parameters in place to how the apartments are being zoned."

Scott September, r egional manager, council member

" Gilbert’s voter-approved general plan contemplates 11% multifamily, and we have not reached that limit yet. Most of the apartments built in the last two years were permitted years before construction began and only required a non-discretionary design review by the Planning Commission. Property rights are the bedrock of our nation and community, but we must be careful to balance the property rights of everyone in the consideration of land-use applications that would amend our general plan."

Bill Spence, retired U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer

" While it would be my responsibility to review and consider every request that comes before me, I am opposed to building more high-density multifamily (MFH) apartments. The appropriate 'mix' of multifamily is a function of the socio-economic status of our residents. The future demands of multifamily housing in Gilbert will most likely be larger, luxury floorplans with ample parking and amenities. There is definitely an appropriate need for multifamily housing, however, we need to ensure that designs are in keeping with the personality of Gilbert."

Jim Torgeson, owner Mesa Sign Shop

" Every municipality needs apartments—it's just how that mix best serves the community. We are currently at 11% and staying in that range is best for the current residents. My hometown (Glendale, CA) was about 12% in the early 80's. Now it's 50% and went from 'The Jewel City' to a mess. A former Gilbert mayor told me his biggest regret was an apartment complex in Gilbert that became the No. 1 spot for crime in town. Apartments are like water. You need some, you just don't need to be waterboarded. We need to take it slow."

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