Friday, July 21, 2017

Not Quite Ready: Lambert Lane Construction Continues

"Update on road construction at Lambert Lane & La Cañada Drive

Oro Valley, Arizona (July 17, 2017) – Although Lambert Lane re-opened to drivers on June 30, there is still a tremendous amount of work being performed at the Lambert & La Cañada intersection, and motorists should continue to exercise caution and vigilance when driving through this area. Once completed, this section of Lambert Lane, west to Hacienda Hermosa, will be four lanes wide with a left-turn lane and a right-turn lane in each direction, plus a bus pullout on southbound La Cañada and another pullout on eastbound Lambert. The project is slated for completion later this year.

WORK COMPLETED SO FAR

So far, crews have performed critical infrastructure work, including adjustment and installation of utilities, and grading and moving more than 60,000 cubic yards of soil to widen the roadway and reduce the height of the hill to improve safety and visibility. Extensive slope stabilization work has been performed on both sides of the streets via construction of soil nail walls. New traffic signals have been installed, and old ones have been removed. Some of the paving work has been completed, and work has begun on erosion control materials and stormwater control measures, with the installation of storm drain pipe and catch basins.

WORK THAT WILL BE PERFORMED OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS

In the coming months, as crews wrap up the final stages of road paving and curb installation, new striping and signage will follow. They’ll also complete some of the major safety features, such as the installation of a concrete sidewalk on the north side of Lambert, and the construction of a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path on the south side of the road. Stormwater efforts will continue, with the placement of a storm channel on the north side of Lambert. Residents and motorists will also notice some aesthetic enhancements, as architectural treatments are applied to the soil nail walls, and decorative rock and metal cacti are installed throughout the project. Lastly, native vegetation will be replanted (along with the installation of new irrigation lines).

HOW TO STAY INFORMED

There are three great ways to learn more about this project and stay informed about future updates: · Check out the project photo album on Facebook. (You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the pictures).


UPCOMING LANE RESTRICTIONS

The Town of Oro Valley is grateful for the community’s patience and safe driving during this time. Please be mindful of ongoing work in the area and traffic control measures such as barricades and reduced speeds. The Town will issue “Traffic Alerts” when significant lane restrictions will be put into place, impacting your daily drive.

Two such alerts include the following (dates subject to weather): ·

  •  7/24/17—7/28/17: Lane restrictions on northbound and southbound La Cañada at Lambert for median curb removal, grading, new curb construction and backfill.
  •  8/4/17—8/7/17: Severe lane restrictions in all directions for median grading and paving.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The Lambert Lane Phase II Project was launched to improve safety and visibility along Lambert, while widening the roadway to accommodate additional travel lanes, multi-modal enhancements, curbs and landscaping. The work is being performed by Granite Construction, Inc., and the project is funded by the Pima Association of Governments."

(Source: Town Of Oro Valley Press Release)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Deadline Tomorrow For Submitting Pro and Con Property Tax Arguments

The Town Of Oro Valley is proposing a secondary property for your approval on this November's election ballot. The funds from this tax are supposed to be used to pay for even more ballfields in Naranja Park, as we have previously posted.

The election pamphlet that you will receive will explain the tax. In doing so, the pamphlet will include arguments for and against the bond offering. The deadline for submitting those arguments is tomorrow.

Anyone may submit an argument for publication. However, as you will  note further, it will cost you a whopping $250 to do so.

However, LOVE welcomes all views. So you are welcome to send us a Guest View and, assuming it meets our guidelines (see right panel) we will publish it for free.

The following is the Town Of Oro Valley press release that presents further detail:
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"Deadline is Friday, July 21, to submit arguments “for” or “against” Naranja Park bond question 
 Oro Valley, Arizona (July 17, 2017) – As a reminder, any persons wishing to submit an argument “for” or “against” the Naranja Park bond question must do so by 5 p.m. this Friday, July 21, 2017. Arguments will be included in the informational voter pamphlet that is prepared and mailed to each household with a registered voter not less than 35 days before the date of the election. The bond question will appear on the November 7, 2017 ballot.

Arguments must meet the following requirements in order to be accepted for publication:

  • Argument shall not exceed 300 words in length. 
  • Argument shall contain a sworn statement of each person sponsoring it. 
  • Argument shall include the residence or post office address and telephone number of each person signing the argument. 
  • Argument shall be submitted to the Oro Valley Town Clerk in an electronic format, preferably Microsoft Word.
  • Argument shall include a payment of $250 (as allowed by Arizona state law). 
  • As required by law, all information—including the $250 fee—must be received by the Oro Valley Town Clerk by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017.

For complete details on submitting an argument, you may read the official Public Notice from the Clerk’s Office. Click or copy/paste this URL into your browser: https://www.orovalleyaz.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/2017/instructions-submitting-arguments-or-against.pdf

To learn more about the Naranja Park Bond Project, please review the May 4, 2017 press release and the project overview document at the links provided below.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Tradition Continues: Oro Valley Kids Concert Series

OV launches new Oro Valley Kids Concert Series for 2017-18

Oro Valley, Arizona (July 12, 2017) – The Town of Oro Valley, in partnership with the Music and Dance Academy, is proud to announce the launch of the new Oro Valley Kids Concert Series, which provides an intimate, interactive experience for young children and their families where they can explore the sights, sounds and workings of instruments and dance. These free concerts will be held on the first Saturday of each month, from August 2017 through May 2018.

View the entire 2017-18 lineup, including location information, by clicking here or pasting this URL into your browser: https://www.orovalleyaz.gov/business/calendar/oro-valley-kids-concert-series.

“The Music and Dance Academy is celebrating more than 20 years in Oro Valley,” said Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs. “It was a natural fit to partner with them to offer this quality series and promote the Town’s arts, culture and business retention efforts.”

Mark your calendars now for the August and September concerts, and visit us online for the full schedule!

Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Location: Music & Dance Academy, 7954 N. Oracle Road
Explore the Music & Dance Academy Dance and interact with musical instruments at the Music and Dance Academy!

Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Location: Oro Valley Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive
The Adventures of Victoria the Violin Once upon a time, there were several instruments living peacefully in the Land of Notes. Then, along came a new instrument, Victoria the Violin. She was looking for adventure! Come join Victoria as she meets all sorts of new instrument friends!

Thank you to our community partners: Dr. JAW Orthodontists, Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, McDonald’s (1st/Oracle) and Smashburger.

Since 2011, the Town of Oro Valley has offered free concerts to residents and visitors of all ages, and it will continue to do so through its other monthly concert series offerings, including the Steam Pump Ranch Concert Series, Community Center Concert Series and Oro Valley Marketplace Concert Series. Learn more about the Town’s arts and culture offerings at www.orovalleyaz.gov.

Ed Note: These concerts were previously sponsored by deceased Oro Valley resident Bill Adler. It is nice to see the others have stepped into the breach to continue this concert series.
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Source: Oro Valley press release

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guest View: Diane Peters ~ Oro Valley Town Council repeatedly gets Hoodwinked by “The Deal Makers.” Part 2.


This posting is Part 2 of our 2-part discussion of "The Deal Makers." We published Part 1 yesterday.
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Next hoodwinking scheduled for November 2017
Our Town Councils over the past 10 years have repeatedly shown that they are easily fooled and manipulated by “deal makers” and as a result, they have not been good stewards of your taxpayer dollars.

Timeline

2006: Oro Valley Marketplace was grossly oversold to the Town and the taxpayers as an upscale shopping experience. In return for sharing $23.2 million dollars in tax revenues with Vestar, we were promised a unique upscale mall with signature shops and boutiques. What did we get? A generic strip mall and discount big box stores.

2014: The Community Center and Golf Course deal was grossly oversold to the taxpayers and as a result, the Mayor and Council’s often touted 5-year plan to turn a profit has now become a 6-year plan. This “great deal” has already cost us taxpayers over $6 million dollars…and counting.

2015: Vestar convinces the Town Council to allow the addition of illuminated signs on the backside of the buildings at OVM, insisting that this would be the catalyst that would spark retail interest. Once again, the expected results were not achieved. (Only two new businesses have opened in the past two years, 22 empty storefronts still remain along with about a half dozen undeveloped dirt lots).

A 47% percent vacancy rate
Also of note is that, according to Vestar’s Oro Valley Marketplace website, there are currently only 25 businesses in operation despite being just three months away from the 9-year anniversary of the mall’s opening (October 2008). That’s 25 open businesses and 22 empty storefronts -- in other words, nearly half of the retail space remains vacant. In fact, there are two buildings that are completely unoccupied (Bldg. 1930 containing four units and Bldg. 12115 containing six units).

Town Council Irresponsible Decisions ~ Cost to Taxpayers
  • $23.2 million in sales tax revenue “shared” with developer Vestar
  • $1 million to purchase the Community Center and Golf Courses from developer HSL
  • $1.2 million transferred from the General Fund Contingency to the Community Center Fund
  • $350,000 transferred from the General Fund into the Community Center Fund
  • $4.3 million in sales tax revenues since 2015 directed to the Community Center Fund
  • $50,000 to hire consultants to make recommendations to improve golf and restaurant operations

Total Cost: $30 million dollars

Beware of the Deal Makers
Keep all of this in mind as the next group of “deal makers” is setting us up for the next hoodwinking; the proposed $17 million dollar Naranja Park Bond, which will actually cost Oro Valley homeowners $28 million dollars in principle and interest payments via a 20-year long secondary property tax.

Expect the Naranja Bond to be another grossly oversold endeavor. Don’t get fooled again!
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Guest View: Diane Peters ~ Oro Valley Town Council repeatedly gets Hoodwinked by “The Deal Makers.” Part 1.

PAST HISTORY

An “Illuminating” Chain of Events
In March of 2015, Oro Valley Marketplace (OVM) had been operating for over 6 years when David Malin, (Vestar’s Project Manager for OVM) admitted during a council meeting that Vestar was still “scrambling to find tenants.” He insisted that adding illuminated signs on the back of the buildings would help them to attract the “dynamic tenants” that they were seeking. He implored the Town Council to revise the Master Sign Program to allow illuminated signs on the backside of the stores facing Oracle and Tangerine Roads.

That same evening, the Town Council voted 4-3 to revise the Master Sign Program at OVM to accommodate Vestar, thereby breaking a 9-year long agreement with Oro Valley residents to prohibit illuminated signs on those roadways in order to preserve the beauty of these scenic corridors. It will come as no surprise to avid LOVE readers that it was Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat-Snider-Waters who voted to approve, while Councilmembers Burns-Garner-Zinkin were opposed.

David Malin presented the following plea during the March 4, 2015 Town Council meeting:
“All we’re asking for is to be on a level playing field. At the end of the day, this is a shopping center. We did spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and contributed public art in the middle of this project…but at the end of the day, we need to operate a successful shopping center and a successful shopping center is getting in as many dynamic tenants as we can so that lots of customers in the community go out and spend lots of money so we can make lots of sales tax for the Town.

Every time a retailer can’t check off a box, like whether they can have a sign on the back of their building, facing the road, we are then not on a level playing field. We are then scrambling to find tenants, which is where we are today.”

The Chamber of Commerce also weighed in:
Dave Perry, President of the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, submitted a letter to the Town Council supporting the Master Sign Program revision. He wrote in part:
“The Marketplace has shining, successful businesses, but others that need more traffic. Last month, two Marketplace businesses closed. It is our understanding that others want to lease space in the Marketplace, but they want assurances of rear-wall signage.

We respectfully request those permissions be granted so that Oro Valley Marketplace can step closer to its full potential.”

CURRENT EVENTS

Fast-forward to July 2017: Two years and four months later…
Two years is certainly enough time to determine whether or not the addition of illuminated signs on Oracle and Tangerine has been instrumental in drumming up new business. So, what is the status after two years and four months?

Only two new businesses have opened
It turns out that Vestar is still “scrambling to find tenants” because in the past two years since the Town agreed to revise the Master Sign Program, Vestar has attracted only two new businesses to OV Marketplace. Those businesses are Southern Arizona Urgent Care and Sakura Sushi (which according to Town records, opened in November 2015 and August 2016, respectively).

This begs the question, what happened to all of the other businesses that Dave Perry mentioned in his letter that would lease space at OVM once they had assurances of rear-wall signage? As of July 15, 2017, there are still 22 empty storefronts at Oro Valley Marketplace.

The $23 million dollar boondoggle
Many of you will remember that Vestar convinced the Town Council (and 52% of Oro Valley voters) to agree to a sales tax “incentive” known as an Economic Development Agreement (EDA) whereby Oro Valley would be required to share 45% of our sales tax revenue with Vestar up to $23.2 million dollars. In return, we were promised a “unique” mall with “signature shops.” What did we get? Discount chains including Wal-Mart and Big Lots and chain restaurants to include Olive Garden and In-N-Out-Burger.

Another grossly oversold enterprise
So in the end, the Majority-4 did an end run around the Town sign code, the Dark Skies initiative, and any consideration for what the residents wanted so they could entertain yet another request from a multi-million dollar corporation to prop up a failing enterprise which was grossly oversold to the taxpayers.

Part 2 of this article will be published tomorrow.
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Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. She’s been involved in OV politics and development issues since 2006. In 2014, she organized a citizens group, Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan, who over a 9-month period, successfully negotiated a controversial 200-acre development project slated for the LaCholla-Naranja-Lambert-Shannon area. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England. Her interests include reading, writing, nature photography, travel, art galleries, museums, and politics.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Coming Soon: Axe the Tax Yard Signs

Last week we reported that a PAC has been formed (Axe the Tax OV) by Oro Valley residents who oppose the $17 million dollar Naranja Park Bond.  Registered voters will be voting to approve or deny this tax in November.  The PAC has reported that thanks to the generous donations of many Oro Valley citizens, they have just placed an order for 75 yard signs (picture below) which should be available in 7-10 days.

Requesting a Yard Sign
If you are interested in posting an Axe the Tax sign in your yard, you may email the PAC at AxetheTaxOV@gmail.com to make arrangements to have a sign delivered to your home. Yard signs can be posted at any time. (Road signs cannot be posted until September; 60 days before the November 7th election.)

Website
The PAC is creating a website.  Those interested in supporting the PAC will soon be able to visit the site to learn  how you can help and contribute to their efforts.  In the meantime, they can be contacted at the above email address.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Golf Consultants to Give Presentation during Council Study Session

This Wednesday, July 12th, representatives from The WLB Group, The National Golf Foundation, and Forest Richardson & Associates will be giving a presentation to the council summarizing their recommendations for Town Golf and Restaurant operations during a Council Study Session beginning shorty after 4 PM in council chambers. (Town Hall, 11,000 N La Canada Drive.)  This is the second item on the agenda.

Interested citizens are encouraged to attend this meeting. You may also read the consultants’ report containing their findings and recommendations by clicking HERE.

A Challenge to the Mayor and Council

What happened to Council on Your Corner?
Many politicians today are being chastised by their constituents for not giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions in a face-to-face setting. This is evident in the lack of Town Halls that our representatives are holding. Are they afraid to hear what people might think? Are they worried that maybe their voting records do not represent their constituents?

This doesn’t just apply to Federal and State politicians. When was the last time in the last 8 years that the Mayor of Oro Valley and the individual council members have held a "Council on Your Corner?" The answer is NEVER.

Burns, Garner, and Zinkin were not afraid to hold Council on Your Corner Events
Former Councilmembers Burns, Garner, and Zinkin held a few of these events when they were in office, with the last one being in April 2016. Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters have not held a “Council on Your Corner” since taking office in 2010 and Pina-Rodman-Solomon have not held one since taking office in November 2016.

The Strategic Plan used to mention holding “Council on Your Corner” events. It is our understanding that these events were discontinued due to lack of attendance. There was also a concern for safety after the January 2008 shooting, but since the current Town Council is always bragging that Oro Valley is one of the safest communities, then their personal safety should not be a concern to them.

Meet your Constituents
So why not take a chance? Why won't the Mayor and the Council subject themselves to their public? Is it because they don't care what the public desires? Is it because they cannot function without Town staff there to bolster them? Is it because their financial backers were not Oro Valley citizens, but developers and wealthy land owners? Mr. Mayor, Mr. Vice-Mayor, Councilmembers: We challenge each of you to hold an event, as individuals, where your constituents can discuss matters of interest without a 3 minute time limit and without Town staff present to back your decisions or answer questions for you. Take a chance and see what the citizens think about the job you are doing.