Monday, April 2, 2018

Guest View: Rosalie Roszak ~ Variances, Variances!

The La Cholla Major General Plan Amendments that were approved by Town Council in May 2015 have now entered the rezoning phase. The project is now called Capella Planned Area Development.

Phase 1. General Plan Amendments. May 2015.
The Kai/Capella Property at La Cholla between Lambert and Naranja received an approved General Plan Amendment in 2015 which allows up to 500 (and possibly 570) homes, plus commercial uses on the corners. Area residents were never pleased about this plan, since underlying zoning for the property is R1-144, which allows only 1 house per 3.3 acres or about 63 homes for the overall 210 acre property.

My husband and I were members of the original citizens’ group (Citizen Advocates of the Oro Valley General Plan) that fought these General Plan Amendments. Some of the concessions the citizens’ group successfully negotiated at that time were lowering the number of homes from 778 to 500 and removing apartments and senior care facilities from the plan. We also placed numerous restrictions on the type of commercial entities that would be allowed.

Phase 2. Rezoning Requests. April 2018.
Now, in the Rezoning phase, the land owners/developers are asking for variances and allowances to the original agreement.

The General Plan Designation of R1-7 permits 7,000 square foot residential lots. In 2014-2015, the citizens’ group fought for minimum lot sizes of 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, more in keeping with nearby lot sizes. The applicant is requesting a variance for 6,600 square foot lots in exchange for allowing somewhat larger 10,000 sf lots along Lambert Lane.

Commercial areas also require variances. The C-1 zoning on the NW corner of Lambert/La Cholla currently permits maximum building size of 60,000 square feet. The Rezoning requests a variance for up to a 125,000 square foot building…more than double the allowable size. Oh, and a gas station. Of note is that surrounding homes to the west and south are custom homes on one acre plus lots.

The La Cholla/Naranja commercial corners are not spared. C-N zoning indicated for these two parcels currently allows floor areas of 5,000 to 9,000 square feet for individual stores. The applicant is requesting a variance to allow floor areas up to 20,000 square feet, again more than double the allowable size.

These Variances should be denied!
They far exceed the original land uses projected for this area under Oro Valley’s 2005 General Plan, which still showed large lot single-family residential on the acreage.

The rezoning will be heard before the Planning & Zoning Commission tomorrow evening, Tuesday, April 3rd at 6 PM in Town Council chambers. Please plan to attend.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  You can read more about the Capella Planned Area Development below.


Rosalie Roszak is a 25 year resident of Oro Valley. She and her husband moved here in 1992 in search of good air quality. She grew up in Flushing, New York and has resided in Washington, D.C., Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. She has a Master’s Degree in Urban Economics from University of California Santa Barbara, and worked for more than 40 years in the Commercial Real Estate Appraisal and Economic Consulting fields before retiring in 2017.