Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Guest View- The Roszaks: Why Does Oro Valley Have a General Plan, if It Is Not Going to Abide By It?

In the past 20 years, Oro Valley has completed two General Plans. Hundreds of citizens dedicate their time and effort to make this possible. A General Plan Update currently in progress will be completed during 2016. This updated plan will require voter approval prior to adoption.

Despite the update currently in progress, a Major General Plan Amendment which will significantly impact neighboring communities is currently proposed for 194 acres. These are located at the Southwest Corner of La Cholla Boulevard and Naranja Drive. The land area extends from Naranja Drive south to Lambert Lane and along the west side of La Cholla Boulevard. It surrounds the Casas Church. This general plan amendment requires a 5 person majority Town Council approval.

To sum, the existing general plan allows a Range of 124 to 319 dwelling units to be built on the property. Current zoning allows 1 house per 144,000 square feet, consistent with neighboring residential areas west and south.

The property owner’s most recent proposal is seeking to allow 500 residential units, plus 28 acres of Commercial Uses at the Northwest and Southwest Corners of La Cholla and Naranja. Up to 570 units could be built if commercial is not developed. This is a Significant Increase from the existing general plan vision. The developer has further proposed 5,500 to 7,000 square foot lots for the bulk of the residential area. Much smaller than currently allowed, and smaller than any surrounding developed areas, including Canada Hills on the east side of La Cholla Boulevard where more typical lots range from about 8,000 to 15,000 square feet.

Their requested changes defeat the spirit and purpose of the 2005 General Plan, without regard to decisions and rules formulated by the genera plan committee and adopted by vote by Oro Valley residents.

A neighborhood group representing nearby property owners has been meeting with the developers, town planners and a council member facilitator for some time, addressing their concerns. These negotiations have stalled. The project proposal has not reached community acceptance. The developer stands by his smaller lot sizes and up to 570 unit subdivision.

Under the current general plan, the developer has the right to build 120 to 319 single family homes on this land, but not the 500 to 570 proposed.

Another Major Issue for the Canada Hills area is the development’s proposed main road. The current mappProposal shows this road connecting directly into Canada Hills Drive, a private road, with cross over traffic between La Cholla Boulevard and La Canada Drive. It is also the community’s main thoroughfare for pedestrian use. It is used by walkers, bicyclists, parents with strollers, golf carts, golf cart crossings, and school buses. The street has a 25 mph speed limit and was not designed for heavy traffic.

The developer has not come up with any definite solutions to the traffic problems that his development will create. Proposals use language such as “Ultimate alignment entirely subject to Town Engineer review and approval”. The community deserves an answer prior to approval. The extension of a through road with potential of 1,000 to 1,200 additional vehicles driving through is an unacceptable negative impact to the Canada Hills community.

This general plan amendment request is on the Oro Valley town Council agenda for public hearing and final approval tonight. Residents concerned about this proposal should contact the Mayor and Council Members and attend the Council Meeting.
Rudy and Rosalie Roszak have resided in Oro Valley/ Canada Hills since 1992. Rudy is a former Oro Valley Council Member. Rosalie worked on the General Plan/Focus 2020 in 1995 /1996 and on the General Plan Update Revision Committee in 2004/2005

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