Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maximizing profits should not be the rationale for rezoning land in Oro Valley

Below is an excerpt from the speech given by Oro Valley resident, Michael Sanderson, during the May 16th Town Council Public Hearing on the Capella rezoning. Yesterday, we published the speech that Diana Sanderson gave the same evening. We’re publishing these speeches to show our readers that the current Town Council does not listen to the citizens, no matter how well-researched and well-presented those citizens’ speeches might be.

Mr. Sanderson’s Speech
We live in the Canada Hills area. My wife and I sent a letter to each of you at the first of the week. I assume you have taken the time to read it. In the letter, we listed the specific variances proposed in the rezoning for the Capella PAD that are unacceptable to a significant number of Oro Valley residents. We have been meeting with these residents for the last three months.

We, unfortunately, do not have time this evening to discuss each variance, as we did in the letter. Very briefly – they center on the following requests by the Developer:

In the residential areas: to create dense single-family housing by reducing the size of the lots and placing the homes closer together, beyond existing town code.

In the multi-family housing: to reduce the open areas surrounding the structures, again, beyond town code.

In the commercial zone at the NW corner of Naranja and La Cholla: to expand the size of the buildings from the existing code of 5000-9,000 sq. feet to 20,000 sq. feet.

In the commercial zone at Lambert and La Cholla: to have a super big-box store of 125,000 square feet, more than twice the size allowed by current code – and bigger than any single store in Oro Valley except the Walmart Supercenter at Oro Valley Marketplace.

In both commercial zones: They are also requesting that commercial buildings in both areas be five feet higher than allowed by code.

The Zoning Code is intended to maintain the character and quality of the town by imposing development standards and to reduce adverse impacts on neighboring property owners. Unfortunately this proposed plan seeks variances that would allow the developer to degrade the character and quality of Oro Valley and have an increased adverse impact on neighbors.

Three of us met with the applicant in an attempt to understand the need for the zoning variances. We, absolutely, appreciate him taking the time to meet with us and provide detailed responses to our questions. Clearly we do not agree with the basis for the variance requests.

Our interpretation of the responses was that they were based on the need to build as many single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, and provide as much commercial square footage as possible to maximize the profits for the current landowners and prospective buyers. This should not be the rationale for rezoning land in Oro Valley.

We support the amendments proposed by the Planning and Zoning commission at their April 3 meeting and approved by a 6-0 vote.

In addition, there must be the 5 conditions that we listed in the letter we submitted to each of you. These conditions for approval of the Capella PAD rezoning have been thoughtfully researched and considered by our group of concerned Oro Valley citizens. We expect you to add these conditions to the amendments unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. These combined conditions represent a reasonable compromise to allow this PAD to move forward.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate to the citizens of Oro Valley that you do listen to their concerns.

(Editor's Note:  The council did not listen.  They approved the rezoning with a unanimous 7-0 vote).

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For reference, below are the amendments passed 6-0 by P&Z during the April 3rd meeting.

Planning & Zoning Amended Motion:

1. All future site plans for each parcel will go through the Conceptual Site Plan process to be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as Town Council for further review.

2. Complete an updated Traffic Analysis for each development phase required by Town Code.

3. Parcel M is restricted to 1-story height within 300 feet of the west property boundary.

4. The plans for restrooms and playgrounds in recreation areas must be maintained.

Below are the additional conditions that the Sanderson’s requested in their letter to the mayor and council:

1. All single family homes in the PAD shall meet the requirements of R1-7 zoning regarding minimum lot area, lot width, yard setbacks, and building height; except that the minimum lot area in Parcel H, for homes not located along Lambert Lane, can be 6600 square feet, per the Special Area Policies adopted in 2015.

2. Multi-family residential buildings in the PAD shall meet the requirements of R-7 zoning regarding outdoor open space and outdoor private living space.

3. All businesses in the C-N commercial zone at the NW corner of Naranja and La Cholla shall meet the current C-N zoning requirements for business floor area limits, building height and allowable use.

4. All businesses in the C-1 commercial zones shall meet the current C-1 zoning requirements for business floor area limits, building height and allowable use.

5. A traffic control “island” or curbing shall be placed at the Canada Hills Drive intersection to not allow through traffic to cross La Cholla. (The proposed design will not be sufficient to “not permit eastbound or westbound through-traffic across La Cholla Boulevard” as stated in the current proposal).