Town Council continues to ignore citizens in order to appease developers
Below is a speech given at the May 16th Town Council meeting by Oro Valley resident, Diana Sanderson, during the Public Hearing portion for the 200-acre Capella Rezoning. This is another example, in a long list of examples, of how, when it comes to development issues, the current Town Council will not listen to anything presented by an Oro Valley resident, even when the resident is citing the voter-approved General Plan in their argument. The rezoning passed by a 7-0 vote.
Ms. Sanderson’s Speech
Thank you for allowing me to speak tonight. I am an Oro Valley resident for almost 3 years. I appreciate my neighbors and community members voicing their concerns regarding the Capella Rezoning project.
I want to speak to the entity that has no voice in any of this: The desert wildlife. I sense I am in the minority on this topic, but to me, it certainly doesn’t diminish the importance.
The Your Voice, Our Future General Plan does a very good job of convincing the general public of the following:
From Page 29: “Oro Valley’s exceptionally rich wildlife and vegetation are a big part of the region’s appeal. We cherish Oro Valley’s open space and strive to focus development in appropriate areas.”
From Page 33, Policy SD.8: “Encourage development project designs that connect wildlife habitat areas, avoid disturbing significant wildlife habitats and minimize the overall impacts on wildlife habitat areas.”
Policy SD.9: “Provide for the safe movement of wildlife near man-made features which may potentially disconnect wildlife corridors.”
In all the Capella parcel designs offered, it’s difficult to determine exactly where these two policies were a consideration.
Blading of desert landscape does little to promote any of the policies outlined. It’s a fact that blading in the spring and summer months disturbs habitats and kills the young. Anyone that thinks animals move on when development begins is wrong. They simply die.
The Tucson Wildlife Center offers a free service to walk areas scheduled for blading before the process even begins. The purpose is to identify potential habitats of animals that could be safely relocated. They have yet to be engaged on any Tucson or surrounding area development projects. With respect to Mr. Oland [the applicant] and Mr. Spaeth [Town Planner] the 30% of open space that they are leaving in this development is land that cannot be built on.
We are stewards of this planet and should speak for those inhabitants that have no representation and are basically considered development collateral damage.
From Page 33, Policy SD.1: “Identify, preserve and manage an integrated and connected open space system that protects Oro Valley‘s natural resources and provides enjoyment for residents and visitors while recognizing our place in the larger ecosystem.”
That should be our goal, not a politically-correct marketing pitch.
It starts with us. Let’s make the policies in the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan a reality instead of a glossy advertising sales pitch.
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Click HERE to read another example of an Oro Valley resident’s well-researched and well-prepared speech being dismissed by the current council. The agenda item on which she spoke, again citing non-conformity with the General Plan, also passed with a 7-0 vote.