Tempe Development Review Commission push decision on Pappas Project

The Tempe Development Review Commission voted on Tuesday to continue discussions on what has become known as the “Pappas Project” at a future date after a public hearing.
This was the third time that the issue was voted to be continued. Michael Pappas wants to build a 7,000+ sq. ft. on his property on Ash Avenue in the College View area in Tempe which currently has a 1,000+ sq ft. home on it.
Commissioner Tom Oteri said that the project still needs a lot of work in the planning stages before it is ready for a vote.
“I’m not comfortable enough to vote on this,” Oteri said. “The applicant needs to come back with more information.”
Several of the people who spoke at the hearing were concerned about the size of the structure that Pappas wants to build. It would consist of a main residence and a garage for a guest house on top of it.
“A bigger home would detract value from the other homes,” said Scott Henderson, a local resident. “It’s obvious to me that the home doesn’t fit in here.”
Vice Chairman Mike DiDomenico said that he was skeptical about the size argument.
“I need to respect the property rights,” DiDomenico said. “Would we have this discussion if someone wanted to build a 2,000 sq. ft. home in a neighborhood with 6,000 sq. ft. homes?”
Some residents expressed a desire for having some form of safeguard to be issued if the project gets the green light, as some developments in the neighborhood have taken several years to complete.
Pappas and his house designer Tessa Jones both said that once all the permit were issued, the project could be finished in as early as 18 months.
Jones added that if passed, the project would be divided into two phases. Phase one would be the construction of the garage and guesthouse, and phase two would be the construction of the main residence.
Jones put a lot of emphasis on some of the environmentally friendly features of the project.
“We will try to make this project as sustainable as possible,” Jones said.
Kirby Spitler, former member of the Tempe zoning and planning committee, said that he opposed the project based on the design. Spitler added that he found it hard to believe that the project would actually be as sustainable as Jones said.
“How can we make a commitment when we don’t know if what we see in the drawings would be what we actually would get?” Spitler asked the commission.
After listening to Jones and Pappas and hearing what members of the neighborhood thought about the proposed project, the commission decided that Pappas needed to rethink his design and provide more details about the project at a future meeting.
The commission also elected Mike DiDomenico to be the new chairman of the commission, replacing Vanessa MacDonald who had been the chairwoman for the commission since 2006. The election was over in a second as all members were in favor of DiDomenico taking over. Dennis Webb was elected to be the new vice chairman.
On another issue, the commission unanimously passed three other proposed projects in Tempe, among the three issues was a proposal from an auto company at the Tempe Autoplex who wanted to expand its facilities.