This posting addresess the issues raised by some of the residents whose homes are in the vicinity of the golf course.
They have valid concerns that their property values will decrease should the course be allowed to deteriorate in the event that the Town of Oro Valley does not purchase the property; or should a developer buy it and use it for apartment buildings or a gas station.
It was disingenuous for Mayor Hiremath and Council Members Hornat, Waters, and Snider to emphasize maintaining property values as a reason to purchase the course because they are well-aware that these land uses will never happen and the course will not be allowed to deteriorate. This is illustrated below.
Below are 6 reasons not to fear a decline of your property values:
The golf course will not be allowed to deteriorate. The 5-year renewable contract is between Troon and HSL Properties. Therefore, Troon will manage the course whether HSL owns it or whether the town owns it.
Reason #2: Current zoning can not be exercised because of space limitations.
According to the Town’s Power Point presentation, the current zoning allows for residential, commercial offices, public offices, retail, religious institutions, restaurants, recreational facilities, social center buildings, hotel, golf course, clubhouse, and equestrian facilities. However, the zoning can’t be exercised due to space limitations.
The course's fairways are only 50-75 yards wide. There isn’t enough room to build the streets and other infrastructure required to service the buildings.
Reason #3: Current permitted appurtenant uses are not being exercised now.
These uses include small retail shops, cocktail lounges with live music, day nursery, game center, fitness center, satellite receiving station, and equestrian exhibition arena. Again, these uses are currently permitted. They have been for years.
Reason #4: Draconian land use must be approved by council.
The same council members who say they fear some draconian use of the land, actually have substantial control of this use. A gas station, liquor store, or fast food restaurant (for example) could only be built with a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and this can only be approved by a majority vote of the Town Council.
Therefore, the mayor’s claim that another owner of the property could build residential properties or a gas station and “no one could stop them” is nothing more than a scare tactic designed to persuade those living along the golf course from signing the petition.
The council majority "speak with forked tongue". Think about it. First the mayor and majority-4 council members stated that the main reason they wanted to purchase this land was to have a Community Center. Then they changed their reason to wanting to control the land in the center of town and protect the property values of homes along the golf course.
Then, when the petition drive began, they turned to scare tactics by stating that if the town doesn’t buy it, that the land could be developed as apartments or a gas station instead, even though they are well aware that the only way that could happen is if they voted to allow a CUP. Why would they vote to approve a gas station or apartments if protecting your property values is truly the reason they want to buy this property?
Reason #6: Changing the land use isn't deemed profitable. If converting the property would be a profitable venture, why isn't HSL doing just that?
Would converting the property be a profitable venture? Consider that the land in question has had at least three different owners in the last 20 years. Those owners were in the real estate investment business (unlike the Town). If any of the prior owners thought they could make a profit exercising their "rights" to develop that property per the current zoning, wouldn’t they have done so?
Tomorrow Part 3: A Look At The Contract
Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. Combining her love of animals and writing, she wrote her first protest letter at the age of 12 to the Canadian Prime Minister in support of ending the annual baby harp seal hunt. Years later, she flew by helicopter to the ice floes off the coast of Newfoundland to photograph baby harp seals. Her other interests include reading, nature photography, traveling to National Parks, Native American history, art galleries, museums, and politics. In her past life, she worked at various University Hospitals in New England assisting in Oncology Clinical Trials and preparing manuscripts for publication in medical journals. Her husband is an Army veteran who served in Germany and South Korea. A former hippie, he attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival.