Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heather's Corner Special: Happy Thanksgiving

This week is Thanksgiving and we are taking a small break from our usual schedule to resume again on Monday December 1st.

Though we all have many personal reasons to be thankful this week, here are a few local reasons to appreciate living in Oro Valley outside of our glorious weather this time if year (sorry East coast and most of the country.)

These are 3 places around town that you may or may not recognize. See how many you can figure out.

1. Established August 17, 2002 this Oro Valley staple has 15,000 sq ft and cost $5.1 million.

2. Established in 1959, the town of Oro Valley, incorporated in 1974, takes its name from this place.

3. One of the many buildings of this historic monument and home to Saturday market.

Answers will be revealed next week.  Please feel free to send us any photos you have of any art, places, or spaces around Oro Valley to see if our readers can figure it out!

In the mean time, we wish you a peaceful rest of the week and a bountiful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Saga Of Dead Golf Courses (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a "Saga Of A Dead Golf Course"   It is also the saga of what could happen to homeowners when things happen to the golf course.  It also continues a previous discussion we've stared on the demise of this sport and its impact on Oro Valley.

First, we start with an "HBO Real Sports" video on the demise of the sport.  The video is hosted by Brian Gumbal. In it, Williams visits a dead Florida golf course. According to the video, the course visited is now "...home to anything and everything that is not golf." He continues: "On average, 130 american courses have closed every year for the last 8 years."

This video, however, shows some innovative concepts that are being tested to revitalize the sport!

Dead Wild Hog On Dead Florida Golf Course
Then, there's the report last week by Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star: "Tucson City Golf, which is now operated on a daily basis by OB Sports, reported last week that play is down 10.1 percent in the first four months of the fiscal year. Those are frightening numbers, but also reflect the general drop in golf play nationally. The Greens Committee reported that the five city courses are $802,000 over budget in those four months. Only 15,899 rounds were played in that period, compared to 18,648 last year."

This is not yet a story about Oro Valley. It is a glimpse, however, into what could happen when a golf course in Oro Valley goes dark or if its use is changed to something entirely different.  Our courses are in trouble.  Take the course at the Hilton El Conquistador, for example. It is poorly maintained. According to one golfer visiting from Tucson: "The bunkers are a mess. There's slump block and other stuff. It's a sorry sight." The members of the Oro Valley Country Club are negotiating a bail out deal with their lender.  Trouble now. Trouble ahead.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Will Oro Valley Have A New 5-Story Building?

La Posada, a retirement community in Green Valley, is looking to open a facility on 1st Ave, behind the Home Depot shopping center. The architect was mentored by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Town is had a site tour last Saturday morning. Details are at the following link. The property owner wants to build a 5 story building there! Ouch!
We Don't Understand Why...

Council Member Snyder and some of the members of the Oro Valley Town Council insist that Oro Valley is getting demographically younger when the town is seeing construction of so many retirement homes and extended care facilities,   Can young families afford to live in the new luxury apartments?  Logic tells us no.

None of this makes sense to us.
El Tour de Tucson Route To Disrupt Traffic Tommorow

Tomorrow is the annual El Tour de Tucson bike run.  It runs through Oro Valley.   Riders  turn north on Ina Road,  then travel left on Pusch View Lane,  right on La Canada,  and left on Moore Road.   it would be good to avoid these roadways from 9 AM through midday.  Problem is:   It is virtually impossible to avoid these roadways if you live in Oro Valley.
Catalina Springs Memory Care Is Ready To Open

Located at 9685 N. Oracle Rd., Catalina Springs Memory Care had it's Grand Opening event Wednesday, November 19th.

"Catalina Springs Memory Care offers comprehensive and caring Alzheimer's and dementia care in Oro Valley based on Montessori principles.

The mission of their supportive community is 'to serve the special needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other forms of memory loss. The residence is a comforting environment, incorporating safety and supportive cues throughout...even in the secured courtyard and inside walking path.'"

Call 520-297-2500 for more information.
Reminder: November is American Diabetes Month

In October, Mayor Hiremath proclaimed November as American Diabetes Month. At the last Council Meeting, the Mayor read the proclamation. Oro Valley is a healthy community. With its miles of multiuse paths and its Aquatics Center, Oro Valley is a great place to walk, bike and swim. Exercise helps with the control and prevention of diabetes. It is important for all of us in Oro Valley to be aware of diabetes and do our part to Stop Diabetes.

American Diabetes Month is a time to come together as a community to Stop Diabetes. It is a time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control. For years, the American Diabetes Association has used this month as an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and its serious complications and its impact on people living Diabetes.

Arizonans are increasingly feeling the effects of diabetes as nearly 500,000 of our local family and friends suffer from the disease. This means that one out of every nine Arizonans is affected by diabetes. Thousands more may have diabetes and not yet know it! It is estimated that one out of every three children born after 2000 will be directly affected by diabetes in their lifetime.
High Visibility Enforcement (HiVE) Activity Report from Lambert and La Canada

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (November 19, 2014) - The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) conducted High Visibility Traffic (HiVE") detail at Lambert and La Canada on November 18, 2014 from 7:00 am - 10:00 a.m. Five OVPD motorcycle officers conducted traffic enforcement around the intersection, emphasizing traffic safety. The following traffic activity was reported:

  • 35 Traffic stops 
  • 33 Stops were the result of a moving violation i.e., speeding, running a red light, improper turn
  • 3 Drivers received citations for the moving violation 
  • 30 Drivers received warning for the moving violation 
  • 2 Drivers were arrested for driving on a suspended license
(Source: Oro Valley Police Press Release)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Huge Potential Home Density Increase Considered Tonight By Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission

The proposed general plan amendment for property located along LaCholla has the potential for almost tripling the number of dwelling units now allowed. This according to a document prepared by the towns planning and zoning staff.

The property is located on La Cholla Boulevard and Naranja Drive, Northwest and Southwest.

Oro Valley Planning and Zoning staff has recommended approving this amendment. They based their conclusion on the following

" Factors For:
  1. The General Plan policies support the location of higher density intensity along or near major arterial streets. 
  2. The amendment will provide for the efficient use of the planned infrastructure expansion of La Cholla Boulevard. A moderate increase in density and intensity of development will provide an appropriate relationship with the expansion of La Cholla Boulevard.
  3. The overall residential density proposed by the applicant is generally compatible with the moderate density to the east along La Cholla. 
  4. The Low Density area, open space and one-story residential building height restriction will provide compatibility with the lower density area to the south and east
  5. The proposed development provides nearby commercial services and employment to area residents.
  6. The applicant has addressed the primary concerns of the neighborhood.
  7. The proposals are consistent with the General Plan review criteria
  8. The proposal are consistent with the Vison, Goals and Policies of the General Plan. 
Factors Against:
  1. Compatibility concerns have been raised by the residents to the east and south of the property.
  2. Market viability of commercial and senior care uses has not been clearly demonstrated by the applicant." (Source: Oro Valley Staff Report)
The Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission will consider this proposed general plan amendment tonight. This is the last of two hearings they will hold on the amendment. The amendment will then be heard by the oro Valley town Council in December. Approval of the amendment requires a super majority of counsel; that is, passage requires a minimum of five votes.

The amendment is being opposed by Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan  Yesterday, they posted a guest view. Earlier this week, the Northwest Management Company alerted the Autumn Hill Homeowners Association of the proposed amendment.

The hearing tonight is in Oro Valley Town council chambers at 6 PM.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guest view-Diane Peters: What Tomorrow's General Plan Amendment Hearing Means To You

Love has previously reported that there are two general plan amendments that will be heard at tomorrow's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Our citizens group, Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan, is attempting to defeat these requests.


As our name implies, we are advocating for the current voter-approved General Plan. As such, we do not support any land use changes at this time.

One of these requests (Northwest Corner of LaCholla Blvd. and Naranja Drive / 8 acres) will allow the land to be used for commercial purposes.  The other (LaCholla Blvd. and Naranja Southwest / 202 acres) request would build a master-planned community where lower density was approved by voters.

As reported previously, there have been four public hearings on this amendment request.    Those attending  expressed concerns on many factors, ranging from traffic issues to market need.

Some members of Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan met with the applicant (Paul Oland) and the landowner (James Kai) for 4 hours on November 3rd. They spent two hours discussing some concerns and questions that the group still had and then spent the remaining two hours attempting to negotiate some conditions in the event that the Town Council passes these proposals with conditional approval.

We discussed a number of areas.  We learned much more of the applicant's plans. They learned much more about our concerns.

  • For example, we asked what was the urgency to push these GPA’s through now when the citizens are currently working on the 2015 General Plan?    The applicant responded that they initially approached the town 2-3 years ago about this and were told to wait for the new General Plan. They waited a year and nothing happened with the General Plan. Waited another year and still nothing. They’re worried that the overhaul might not result in what they want for this property. They feel they’re running the risk of running out of Oro Valley home lots.
  • Why, we asked,  do you want to sandwich high density townhomes or senior care between low density and medium density? The applicant's response was that LaCholla will soon be a big road and will be well-travelled. High density fits with that location. That applicant did agree with us that apartments are not needed because "they are not in demand."

The final Planning and Zoning Commission Hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 6PM town hall. We hope that you will attend. If Planning and Zoning Commission sends the application on to the Town Council, that public hearing will take place on December 10th.

We urge that the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Council consider, apply and publicly address each of the 5 requirements for proving a major general plan amendment. These are:
  • The proposal must be consistent with the vision, goals, and policies of the General Plan. 
  • The burden is on the applicant to prove that conditions in the community have changed to warrant a change in the land use
  • The applicant must prove that the plan will lead to the socio-economic betterment of the community
  • The applicant must demonstrate that market demand exists for the proposed land uses. 
  • The proposal must also achieve general community acceptance and it must not adversely impact the community as a whole or in part.
Diane Peters is a resident of Oro Valley.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Heathers Corner: Amphi Parents as Teachers-A Resource You'll Want to Know About

There is an outstanding program available to any family living in the Amphitheater Community with children ages of prenatal to five years old. The program is designed to offer parent education and family strengthening working with families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten. And the best part...it's free!

"Parents as Teachers" believe that the early years of childhood are critical in development and preparation to provide the basis for success in school and throughout life. With parents most typically the child's earliest form of influence, the program assists families through support curricula, training, materials and services while also allowing those families with diverse socio or economic backgrounds the same opportunities to provide the proper tools for early child development.

As stated by one of the Parent Educators, Diana Pitney, "If you have preschoolers, I invite you to check us out. We would like to partner with you. After all, you are your child's best and first teacher! Let us bring you the tools and ideas we have available to help you be the best parent you can be."

What you can expect from the program are personal home visits providing parenting tips and information on your child's development, family group connections allowing an opportunity to meet other parents, developmental screenings to be able to help identify child's strengths and kindergarten preparedness, and health screenings to assess your child's vision, hearing, and general health.

Once again I am happy to learn about another program bringing together our Oro Valley community. And what a great opportunity for pregnant mothers or those with young ones to enter motherhood with a sense of educational direction for the next five years. More information can be found by clicking this link or by contacting Dina Gutierrez at 696-4095.

Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Campaign Financing: Who Got It? Who Donated It?

What do significant election contributions mean?

Now, they identify the Oro Valley council members who share similar views with big-dollar donors. Two, they assure that Councilmembers have the resources to stay in office, and make decisions which support donor interests.

Below, based on post-primary reports of September 15, 2014, is a summary of donors.  Many of these individuals have been  active in requesting various forms of approvals from the Town of Oro Valley. It is likely that they will continue to do so:

With the addition of contributions from other special interest donors, these four council members received more than 80% of their campaign funding from special interest donors. The following is a summary of the four council lmembers’ total campaign donations by groups.

In comparison, candidates Bristow and Straney received no contributions from special interest. The contributions from individuals for Bristow and Straney were $1,930 and $4,310 respectively.
Our thanks to one of our readers of their very significant help with this posting.