TEMPE, Ariz. – Residents in parts of Tempe recently got a flyer in the mail from the City of Phoenix. The flyer comes with a warning about airplanes flying overhead: it could be part of the new flight path for airplanes coming and going from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
The flyer talks about the proposed $2.1 billion Tempe Entertainment District that is set to be located near Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive. The district would include the new Arizona Coyotes Stadium, as well as shops and apartments.
According to the flyer, planes will be flying over the proposed development nearly every minute. The flyer also warns people to take action now.
The Tempe Entertainment District has been in the works for quite some time, and the city’s mayor says he is frustrated with how Phoenix and Sky Harbor Airport officials are handling this.
“I just feel like I need to call it out,” said Mayor Corey Woods. “I don’t feel that this is an appropriate way to engage in an open and honest dialogue.”
Mayor Woods says he had no idea these mailers would be sent out. He only found out about them after residents started calling his office.
“Just saying, ‘I got some mail piece that looks like it is from the Aviation Department in the City of Phoenix,’ and I was wondering what that was,” said Mayor Woods.
Sky Harbor has been fighting against the proposed Tempe Entertainment District for months, arguing that it goes against a 1994 agreement between the cities of Tempe and Phoenix that bans all residential developments underneath the flight path.
Mayor Woods, however, called Sky Harbor’s argument not valid, and he says they will work to mitigate the noise for residents in the new development.
“There is no prohibition against multi-family housing,” said Mayor Woods. “If it is built, it says you have to build it to the proper noise attestation standards to ensure the noise is not able to penetrate the building. I imagine proper roofing materials, proper windows.”
According to the flyer, sound insulation will not be enough to make the apartments compatible with airport operations.
If the agreement is broken, the airport could consider alternate and more efficient flight paths, creating more noise for other area residents.
In a statement, Phoenix city officials said the flyers were sent out so impacted residents could understand “…the risks associated with Tempe’s upcoming decision, and have an opportunity to participate in the process.”
Mayor Woods says he did speak with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego briefly about the flyers. Mayor Gallego did not respond to our request for comment.