Monthly Archives: December 2013

City of Surprise Sharon Wolcott

16000 North Civic Center Plaza • Surprise, AZ. 85374 • 623.222.1420

For Immediate Release

Sun rising on Surprise Center
Proposed agreement with Phoenix gives Surprise authority to lift development restrictions at Surprise Center
agreement transferred ownership to Surprise and SCDC. In order to protect Luke Air Force Base, whose planes overfly the property, the agreement prohibited venues offering overnight stays, such as hotels, hospitals or apartments, a restriction Phoenix has enforced.

In December of 2012, Luke officials expressed understanding of Surprise’s interest in moving forward with talks to lift the restrictions.

The agreement approved by Surprise tonight gives the city authority to remove restrictions and when it does so, to collect and remit to Phoenix an agreed upon per-acre amount by which the land value is increased when the restrictions are lifted. That amount is set in the agreement at $30,000 per acre, subject to regular review and revision.

Surprise OKs IGA pg. 2
“This gives us the flexibility to encourage the type of development our General Plan and our residents are calling for at Surprise Center,” said Wolcott, “It also assures that Phoenix is compensated for the value created when restrictions are lifted.”

Surprise and Phoenix also agree that Surprise will work to acquire releases and easements permitting the Air Force to operate unimpeded in the skies above the property in perpetuity, and removing the Air Force from liability for any damages related to over flight, except damage caused by a falling plane or dropped objects. “That is our rock solid guarantee that these skies will always welcome our Air Force friends, who are such an important part of our community,” Wolcott added.

The agreement also allows Surprise to secure easements or pay for an initial release of acreage by the city of Phoenix.

Another provision states that a property owner seeking to have restrictions lifted on Surprise Center property can convey land to Phoenix adjacent to Luke or in the crash zone north of the base, and if Phoenix accepts the land, the owner will be excused from paying the per-acre fee at Surprise Center. Improving the buffer around Luke is a “priority” for Phoenix, according to the agreement.

(December 17, 2013) A landmark agreement striking a balance between protecting Luke Air Force Base and encouraging the development of Surprise Center was approved unanimously by the Surprise City Council Tuesday.

The agreement between Surprise and the City of Phoenix must also be approved by the Phoenix City Council, which is set to vote Wednesday.

The agreement will transfer from Phoenix to Surprise the authority to lift development restrictions on more than 500 acres around the City Hall campus, a square mile bounded by Greenway and Bell, Litchfield and Bullard roads known as Surprise Center. Ownership of the land is divided among Surprise and private owners, mainly Surprise Center Development Corporation (SCDC).

“We have struck a crucial balance that will benefit our community and our regional partners for years to come,” said Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. “This agreement helps protect and preserve Luke Air Force Base while boosting our development of Surprise Center as a true downtown core.”

In 1999, Phoenix owned the property, then an unused Luke Air Force Base emergency airfield known as Aux 3. That year, a land exchange and settlement