Developers and Gilbert residents compromise on controversial rezoning request

Following months of delays and residential pushback, the Gilbert Town Council approved developers’ request Tuesday to rezone a nearly 310-acre property along Power and Elliot roads.The controversial project The Ranch went through several iterations, after the council pushed the developers to go back to the table in November to come up with a plan that would satisfy council members and residents.After numerous neighborhood meetings and one-on-one conversations with residents in the Morrison Ranch master-planned community, residents seemingly came together before the Town Council to voice their support for the plan. It was a striking difference from November, when more than 1,000 residents voiced their opposition to it.This time, nearly half a dozen residents spoke in support of the project, and another 40 residents submitted online comments in support on Tuesday.Many residents said they felt they had come to a good compromise and urged the council to ensure the project would be developed how it is planned.Kevin Marvin told council members this plan was a compromise but also a “win-win” for both residents and developers.“I hope we are figuring a way to use this as a model for the future, so it doesn’t take heroic efforts” to find a solution, he said.The rezoning request was passed 6-1 with Councilmember Bobbi Buchli the dissenting vote.Working together:Gilbert’s The Ranch developers meet with residents on revised plansChanges to projectThe developers significantly changed the vision for the project, scaling down the industrial land use from 93% to 71%. They also increased the commercial use from 7% to 12%.Within that, the biggest concessions to the community were to better buffer the light industrial buildings from the residential neighborhoods and to address traffic concerns.The project will also restrict different types of businesses from locating at The Ranch, including, but not limited to:Battery manufacturing facilities.Toxic waste incineration facilities and storage sites.Marijuana cultivation or dispensaries.The project will also bring in 39 acres of multifamily home development, which was not a part of the 2022 plan.The Ranch will be built in three phases, with the commercial and multifamily portions in phase one and the light industrial portion in phases two and three.Developers also committed $20 million to off-site improvements that include streets and landscaping.Gilbert resident Sarah Strazza said she looked forward to becoming a patron of the anticipated retail and dining options at The Ranch and thanked the developers for making concessions that were “tremendously meaningful for the community.”“My biggest hope, being a dedicated part of this process, was to unite all of us as a community to make changes that lead to prosperity and meaningful growth for all parties involved,” she said.Reporter Maritza Dominguez covers Mesa/Gilbert and can be reached at or 480-271-0646. Follow her on Twitter @maritzacdom.

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