The Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course as a whole (lakes and turf) is an integral part of the drainage system for runoff from South Mountain Park. More rooftops, cars, and streets will result in more water runoff and less drainage for the additional water.
Summary of the AHWATUKEE TOWN HALL MEETING on Flooding & Flood Control - January 30, 2016 (Photos below courtesy of Craig Doyle)
HOST: Sal DiCiccio - Phoenix City Councilman (and Ahwatukee resident) FACILITATOR: Marty Gibson - author of “Phoenix's Ahwatukee-Foothills (Images of America)) PANEL:
A. Wayne Smith – Landscape Architect/Land Planner (original land plan of area for Presley)
Pete Meier – Formerly VP with Presley; real estate sales from early Ahwatukee to present
Hasan Mushtaq, P.E., Ph.D., CFM – City of Phoenix Floodplain Management
Overview history of Ahwatukee
“House of the Future” was a destination – 17,000 visitors/year
City Councilman grew up in area and settled in Ahwatukee.
Direction of Lakes Golf Course can change entire quality of life in Ahwatukee.
South Mountain freeway – 50,000 cars/day on Pecos Road. Where do these cars go if construction closes Pecos Road?
>>> ALL DECISIONS/CHANGES HAVE EFFECT ON QUALITY OF LIFE IN ALL OF AHWATUKEE. <<<
Strong reservations/concerns about any commercial development of Lakes Golf Course.
Water travels downhill - goes somewhere!
What happens at Lakes can happen elsewhere.
Ahwatukee Country Club GC also owned by Gee and will be next.
This is an issue about quality of life.
Certified Flood Planner
Anything with water in city of Phoenix comes to Hasan Mushtaq.
Ahwatukee had its first Phoenix residents in 1973.
Public education - flood management and flood damage
A. Wayne Smith
Ahwatukee is 40 years old.
Presley Corp called area “Foothills Park” – old plans all refer to “Foothills Park”.
Named “Ahwatukee” when incorporated by Phoenix.
Incorporation sought to get water/sewer:
Tempe – “no” because Guadalupe would be in middle Chandler – “no” because moratorium on building (already max capacity of sewer) Phoenix – “Yes” we will incorporate
Streets not set up as grid because South Mountain in the way.
Excessive amount of water runoff from South Mountain – had to be planned for.
(Elliot-Warner) Loop worked well for drainage and a mixed community plan.
Overall density (first planned) = 4 units per acre
Golf courses have two major functions.
Recreation, Economics – with premium lots on GC to benefit developer and homeowner
Health, Safety, Public Welfare – water retention, detention, buffer zone.
> Function of big course (Ahwatukee Country Club GC): 50/50 = 50% Recreation and Economics / 50% Health and Safety > Function of small course (The Lakes GC): 90/10 = (85-)90% Health and Safety / 10% Recreation and Economics
Presley originally planned 19 acre “Pitch and Putt” but proximity to South Mountain made designing for flow of water “crucial”.
Had to plan for huge drainage/runoff so called Gary Panks to design “short course” golf course.
Panks designed the Lakes Golf Course to handle a 100-year flood.
Lakes Golf Course specifically designed to slow water runoff from lake to lake and with turf.
Big hole/depression in ground behind Drury Inn (just SE of Warner and I-10).
Years ago people interested to purchase land and develop into lake with restaurant, offices overlooking.
City of Phoenix would not allow because of the water retention/safety issues.
Important = DETENTION (detain water) and RETENTION (retain water) otherwise, water floods neighborhoods.
Examples of problems created when the original design intended for safety was altered without consideration for water path of travel:
A freeway bridge in CA that had been in place for 50 years was washed out after being altered.
The area north of South Mountain on Dobbins Road from Central to 7th Avenue was flooded.
There are issues that are similarly important with the Lakes GC if houses were to plug the path of water through the course.
Ahwatukee was planned with a difference in mind. Sun City was retirement community and Leisure World had plans with land in Apache Junction.
Presley planned for three distinct communities
Active Adult Homes for 50 and over active adult (inside of loop)
Young Adult - Homes for 18-49 (outside of loop).
Families - with schools (beyond Young Adult homes)
President Reagan changed rules to be age 55+. All CC&Rs had to be amended to reflect change so ended up with two communities: “Over 55” and “Family”.
Problems of “sheet” water runoff with South Mountain so close to community.
The 1980s had two 500-year flood events with no damage in Ahwatukee.
More rooftops and streets result in more water runoff!
Water travels downhill.
Lots of channels built – okay until 2014 very large storm event.
>>> Update to plan is needed – where and how rainwater is handled. <<< >>> When there was less traffic, water runoff was not an issue. <<<
Pecos Park has huge basin – became ¾ full in the 2014 events.
Q&A for entire panel
September 2014 there were three significant events of flooding in our Ahwatukee neighborhood.
The Lakes Golf Course lakes are designed to work like shock absorbers for the water runoff.
It was noted that there is a 52 foot drop from one end to the other within The Lakes property.
Gary Panks (who designed The Lakes Golf Course) was in attendance and spoke.
He definitively answered a question posed earlier in this meeting regarding whether the entire Lakes Golf Course property as a whole or just the lakes on the property are important to flood control.
Gary Panks stated that drainage involves the entire Lakes GC property.
The land comprising The Lakes Golf Course is integral to the design in detaining and retaining the runoff water.
The physical lakes alone without the open land is not sufficient to handle runoff concerns if the land is developed.
Water runoff would be intensified by the roofs, streets, and cars resulting in additional runoff while reducing the open land.
More building compounds and complicates the flooding issues.
Sal DiCiccio stated that it is the “unintended consequences” of an action that should be considered.
It was noted that The Lakes design is excellent resulting in slowing the water runoff.
Hasan Mushtaq stated that the City of Phoenix will look at all issues if and when a proposal is submitted.
The goal of the City of Phoenix is to have no hazard to the public.
It was said that CCRs are contractual between individuals and not enforceable by the City of Phoenix.
Someone from the audience offered that it would be a win-win if The Lakes was acquired by the City of Phoenix for use by golf program at ASU and the nearby local high schools.
Sal DiCiccio commented that
The Lakes Golf Course is privately owned and the owner is looking for maximum profit.
Also the City of Phoenix is not in a position to afford a golf course and is divesting itself of those it owns.
Photos courtesy of Craig Doyle.
Thank you and kudos to Sal DiCiccio and his staff for putting together a very informative and interesting session!
Congratulations and thanks to the expert panelists for their outstanding and professional presentations and discussion.
Stormwater from the monsoon on 7/18/2016 demonstrates the important role of The Lakes Golf Course property for the surrounding community.
Phoenix city staff have provided Councilman Sal DiCiccio's office the map, showing where 2,015 housing units could be situated on the Ahwatukee Country Club. (1.usa.gov/1olzqBi) As Councilman DiCiccio reported: "2,015: That is the number of units that could be built on the Ahwatukee Country Club if not for the deed restrictions. You need to know this because of the big debate regarding its potential development. Save the Lakes leadership understands the consequences of allowing commercialization of our open spaces / golf courses. They have been working with my office to protect our open space and community." https://www.facebook.com/sal.diciccio?fref=ts
Because the Ahwatukee Country Club is zoned residential, it can be closed just like the Lakes Golf Course, where only a lawsuit to enforce the CC&Rs (deed restrictions) prevents over-development now.
THANK YOU to Councilman Sal DiCiccio for his leadership, political courage, and integrity!