Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Editorial ~ The Voting Record of the Oro Valley Town Council “Majority-7” (Part 1.)

This is the first of a 3-part series where we will present the voting record for the new Oro Valley Town Council beginning with their first council meeting on November 16, 2016 and ending June 21, 2017 (the last meeting of the fiscal year which ended on June 30th). There were many more votes than what is presented below, but in the interest of space, we have expounded only on the most important items.

A total of 12 meetings were held. With the exception of one vote, all votes were approved unanimously; the majority of them with little to no discussion. (So much for their claims of being “independent thinkers.” They really should call themselves “The Rubberstamp Council.”)

November 16, 2016

The three new council members (Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman, Steve Solomon) were sworn in.

Regular Agenda Items

Amending the GP land use map at Rancho Vistoso Blvd. and Vistoso Highlands Drive from neighborhood commercial/office to medium density residential for 17.8 acre property. Major General Plan amendment.

Of note is that during the 9/2/16 meeting, this agenda item was moved to tonight’s meeting at Mayor Hiremath’s suggestion. Applicant Paul Oland of the WLB Group agreed. That way, the new council would be seated when this vote was taken and there would be no discussion on the item. With former Councilmembers Burns, Garner, and Zinkin no longer there to speak for the citizens, this Major General Plan amendment would be easily approved.

Also of note, the new General Plan was just approved by the voters on 11/8/16. Just 8 days later, they are looking to amend it.

A portion of former Mayor Paul Loomis’ speech that evening:
“What I do want to highlight is that you’re amending the General Plan even before the vote has been certified. Past policy was to not allow amendments in the year of revisions or for a year after voter approval.”
Despite this well-reasoned plea by non other than our former mayor, Rodman motioned to approve. Waters seconded.

Motion carried 7-0 with MINIMAL discussion.

Allowing the use of ESL flexible design option for a modified review process for above property.

Rodman motion to approve. Snider seconded. Motion carried 7-0.

Conceptual site plan for Alterra at Vistoso Trails subdivision. Half-mile east of Rancho Vistoso Blvd. and Moore Road.

Waters motion to approve. Solomon seconded.

Motion carried 7-0. NO DISCUSSION.

Proposed grading exception for the Sanctuary at Silverhawke subdivision near NE corner of First and Naranja. (East side of First at Naranja traffic light).

The rolling hills are 19-20 feet high from the intersection. Town Code does not allow grading in excess of 6 feet. Applicant requested to grade 12-15 feet in order to build a straight access road into the development.

Solomon motioned to approve. Hornat seconded.

Motion carried 7-0. NO DISCUSSION.

All motions carried 7-0.

December 7, 2016

Don Cox’s appointment to Planning & Zoning Commission (Consent Agenda)

NO DISCUSSION despite the council receiving letters of concern from multiple residents about his repeated inappropriate and unprofessional behavior while serving past terms on P&Z.

Approving conceptual architecture and landscape plan for 8000 sf commercial building at El Corredor, NE corner of Linda Vista and Oracle.

Both items approved 7-0 with NO DISCUSSION.

Regular Agenda

Tonight’s agenda contained 7 items. Six of them passed 7-0.
(Hornat was opposed to El Con HOA using golf course property for a shed.)

January 4, 2017

Meeting was over in 6 minutes! Two motions made. Both carried 7-0.

January 18, 2017

Agreement between TOV and RTA for a pedestrian and traffic signal on LaCanada at the entrance to the Community Center. (Consent Agenda, Item D.)

Finally, we have some discussion!

Councilmember Pina asked about the $500,000 price and if there were cost overruns, what would be the impact to the town? Paul Keesler (Director of Community Development and Public Works) responded that there are 3 things that can cause a project to go over.

1. During the bidding process, once the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is authorized by the town council, if the lowest bid comes in over $500,000 the town is not required to make up that difference. The RTA would have to increase the budget with approval from their management board or the project could be canceled. Chances are with an RTA project, particularly a safety project like this, they’re not going to cancel it, so on the off chance that the bids come in high, the RTA covers it.

2. Once the contract is signed and the contractor has begun work, if some unforeseen condition arises which could push it over the budget, the IGA makes accommodations for that. If it’s within 10%, the RTA staff can approve it. If it’s over 10%, it would go to the RTA board to get approved for that overage.

3. The only time the town is on the hook for this is if during the project, we add an element not anticipated by the town such as a sidewalk or extra street lights.

Vice-Mayor Waters asked what kind of light will it be.  Paul Keesler responded:

Originally it was going to be a HAWK signal just for pedestrians. But we also have a sight visibility issue with people coming out of the Community Center having a hard time seeing the traffic coming north. Rearranging the landscaping didn’t help so the Town went back to the RTA and got this budget approved for not only a pedestrian crossing but also a traffic signal.

Motion to approve by Pina. Seconded by Snider.

Motion carried 6-0. Mayor Hiremath was absent.

Discussion and possible direction to staff regarding future Community Center elements.

Town Council directed staff to hire a consultant to review options available for the CC restaurant facility and the configuration of the golf course, and to prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP), solicit bids, and return to Council with the information received from those requests.

Approving the final plat for the Sanctuary at Silverhawke, residential subdivision located at the NE corner of Naranja and First.

Motion carried 6-0. NO DISCUSSION.

All motions carried 6-0.

Part 2 will be published next Wednesday, August 16th.