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Gilbert Town Council considers resident's appeal regarding proposed Santan Adventure Park

Santan Adventure Park Gilbert - Proposed rendering
Posted at 1:54 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 12:14:15-04

GILBERT, AZ — Update (June 16): Late Tuesday, the Town of Gilbert's Town Council voted to approve Santan Adventure Park in a 6-1 vote, but added a number of stipulations that developers will have to meet before a construction permit will be issued. Read our updated story.

Original story:

Gilbert's Town Council is set to consider and possibly vote Tuesday on whether or not a small family amusement park with go-karts, mini-golf, and a splash pad will again move forward.

On April 7, Gilbert's Design Review Board voted 5-2 to approve Santan Adventure Park's design plans to build a 4.5-acre amusement park with a go-kart track, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and a splash pad at Crossroads Park, near SanTan Village Parkway and Knox Road.

The approval also includes a future second phase.

Some residents who live in the neighborhoods across the street from where Santan Adventure Park is planned like the concept, but do not want it to be built there.

Randy Nelson, who lives in one of those neighborhoods, filed an appeal on April 19 against the Design Review Board's approval of the amusement park's design and wants the project to be moved somewhere else. He suggested Gilbert's Regional Park.

"They've basically stomped on our quality of life. It can't happen," Nelson told ABC15 during an interview in April. "We're extremely disappointed that the Town Council didn't use an ounce of common sense on this. Everything I'm sure is absolutely legal, there's no question about that. Our question is, 'where did common sense go?'"

He and several other residents have spoken out against the development at various public meetings over the last few months.

They are most concerned about the noise from the gas-powered go-karts, but also have concerns about the sound effects from the golf course, the noise from kids and families enjoying the attractions, the potential increase in traffic at the park and along the roadway, and the operating hours.

During the presentation at the Design Review Board in April, developer Ben Cooper said a sound study was conducted and found that the ambient noise would increase by one decibel. An expert claimed it would take an increase of at least three decibels to notice an increase.

He added that the Town previously approved a number of uses for his development, including mini-golf, go-karts, laser tag, splash pad, and other attractions.

The validity of the sound study appears to be what the Town Council will discuss and hinge their vote on, specifically because the sound study used simulated noise for the go-karts, but did not account for the noise for potential loud speakers, squealing tires, or sound effects.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and can view streamed online, here.

The Town Council has five options:

  • Uphold the approval made by the Planning Commission
  • Uphold the approval made by the Planning Commission with additional conditions.
  • Send the case back to the Planning Commission for further review.
  • Reverse the Planning Commissions decision and deny the Design Review case.
  • Continue the appeal case to a future Town Council hearing.

Town staff has recommended that the Town Council uphold the approval, according to documents submitted ahead of Tuesday's meeting.