Final documents released by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) list the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee (AFVPC) as supporting the South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway, but the group says it never approved that recommendation and is now asking ADOT to correct those documents.
The AFVPC was asked, along with all members of the South Mountain Citizen’s Advisory Team (SMCAT), to submit a final recommendation to build or not build the South Mountain Freeway. That recommendation should have been voted on by the entire group and submitted to ADOT by July 24.
The group never held an official vote during its public meeting in June or July, but did discuss the issue briefly when ADOT was on the agenda giving an explanation of the process. The AFVPC has always had a position of opposing the Pecos Road Alignment and has voted twice, once in 2006 and once in 2007, to oppose action on the Pecos Road Alignment.
Melanie Beauchamp, the AFVPC’s representative on the SMCAT, said the only thing she submitted to ADOT, through its survey of SMCAT members, was a comment with no formal recommendation.
“There are mixed feelings in our Village,” the comment from the AFVPC reads. “It appears, however, that most citizens have accepted that the freeway will be constructed. We are deeply concerned about our neighbors whose lives will be seriously disrupted by the process.”
Beauchamp said this is not the first time the record has been wrong. She was not informed of the final SMCAT meeting and, therefore, was not present, but was listed as present in the original minutes. Those minutes were corrected when the mistake was pointed out.
Tim Tait, of ADOT, said because of the way the recommendations were collected, through an online survey, the mistake must have been made by the person filling out the form. City Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s office has been working with the Planning and Development Department to get official documentation from the city stating there was no recommendation voted on. That documentation is necessary to correct the record.
“We have been in contact with the city about this matter, and they have indicated to us that they are looking into it,” Tait said. “In order to change the record at this point, we will need some degree of formal correspondence from the city requesting that action and describing why.
“This is the only CAT organization that seems to have had trouble with the process.”
The SMCAT was formed in 2002 to bring representatives from stakeholder groups along the proposed South Mountain Freeway route together to provide them with information and accept recommendations about the freeway. Their final recommendation is one of many factors that will be used by ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration when considering building the freeway.
While the AFVPC will not have a final recommendation listed, if and when the record is corrected, all other Ahwatukee groups, including the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, have voted for a “no build” option. Out of 18 organizations that submitted a recommendation, 10 voted for “no build,” seven voted for “build” and one, the Estrella Village Planning Committee, submitted no recommendation.
While individual group recommendations were recorded, the SMCAT as a whole will not have a final recommendation submitted to ADOT like it did when it voted on which western alignment to support in 2006. The SMCAT’s recommendation at that time was not selected by ADOT.
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