Friday, February 3, 2023

Bits and Pieces

Reminder: Draft concept of Vistoso Trails open for your review
The draft Vistoso Trails Master Plan is available on line. There is still time to comment on it. Provide you comments to by February 10 (There is also a community input report that was issued prior to the draft.

Last chance to enter photo contest
"The Vistoso Community Association [VCA] moved into a new office January 2023. What better way to celebrate our scenic community than to decorate the office walls with photos of the natural beauty surrounding us every day.

Grab you cell phones and/or cameras – take a photo of a stunning sunset, brilliant rainbow, breathtaking mountain view, playful javelina, soaring hawk, budding flowers, blooming cactus or any shot of nature and/or wildlife that captures the beauty of our community.

To enter your favorite photos in the Vistoso Community Association Photo Contest click here and follow the instructions."

Prizes: $150 in Amazon Gift Cards

(Source: VCA media release)

Pink signs flowering as Planning and Zoning Commission hearing looms
You will see a flowering of pink signs when you travel in the area of the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene. OVCN is located on the northeast corner of Concordia and Buena Vista. The signs let those passing through that those who live in the area are unanimously opposed to the rezoning for which OVCN has applied. That rezoning application, if approved, will allow OVCN and a commercial partner to build a huge sports complex. 

This coming Tuesday at 6pm, the Planning and Zoning Commission will host a second public hearing about this in the Oro Valley Council Chambers. Commission members will then consider whether to modify, approve or deny the request after the hearing portion of the meeting is completed. 

Once this hearing is completed, the application will move to the town council for a two-session hearing.

Vote for your favorite Naranja Park splashpad design
"We need your input! The Naranja Park Expansion Project includes the addition of a splashpad. The design team has narrowed the splashpad design to two options. Each design features the same footprint, shade, wall seating, and play zone transitions (tot, family, dynamic) that are accessible to all. They share similar structures such as the OV bucket tower, the custom quail archway and spray features. The main differences are option A includes a multilayered play table and flower spray tower and Option B includes a slide. Please take a look at the options (see link below) and vote on the one you feel will provide users with the best experience. The vote will close on Friday, February 17 at 11:59 p.m. and the winning design will be announced via social media, Town website and weekly email blast on February 23. We appreciate your time and feedback! Click here to vote!"   (Source)

New Surf-Thru Car Wash "will have the best view of any car wash in America"
This past Wednesday, the Oro Valley Town Council unanimously approved a Surf Thru Express car wash for the Oro Valley Village Center (Marketplace). The car wash will be adjacent to the In-N-Out Burger. It can only be built after meeting certain conditions that relate to the queueing of the cars for bother facilities. Vice Mayor Barrett noted at the meeting that "This car wash will have the best view of any car wash in America!"  According to their web site: "At Surf Thru, we reclaim and recycle our water and most locations are powered by the sun!"
- - -

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

General Plan 2026: Starts With Community Engagement

"General Plan 2026" is underway.. community engagement is the initial focus.
Planning for the 2026 General Plan has begun. A once every ten year effort, the activity itself gives the town and its residents the chance to reflect on what is Oro Valley and where we want it to be. 

The effort started several weeks ago when the town posted a survey to which we alerted you.  That survey window closed last week. The survey asked about your involvement in the last general plan; and how you would like to be engaged in or informed of the creation of the 2026 plan.

Two weeks ago, a select group met to discuss the activities that will be undertaken over the next three years to make that plan a reality. Last week, the discussion continued with this group and there will be at least two more meetings upcoming.

History shows that community engagement is essential...
This will be the third General Plan on which LOVE has reported. The 2005 General Plan was wrought with issues regarding proposed zoning changes. That plan, first offered to voters in 2003, contained a host of major land use designation changes. The voters did not like that. 60% of voters rejected the plan. The town invested two subsequent years to revise that plan and build consensus. It was finally approved in 2005.

The 2015 General Plan became the 2016 "Your Voice Our Future" plan. It took a year longer to develop than the originally planned timetable because of extensive community involvement. 70% of voters approved that plan. 

However, that plan was not good enough for the incumbent town council that was led by then Mayor Satish Hiremath. That council amended that plan within six weeks  of it being voter approved.  That council chose to amend it a number of times more, including one amendment that occurred in the last days in office. Their attitude was that the General Plan was merely a guideline; something that can be ignored when it was convenient to do so. And they did.

In both instances, the 2005 and the 2016 plan, community involvement was key. The lack of community involvement caused problem in 2003, when the plan was initially proposed to voters. The extensive involvement created overwhelming support in 2016.

It is no wonder that staff is so focussed on building a community involvement model that will get the plan right the first time.

Oro Valley keeps changing
There is a need to prepare a General Plan every ten years as required by state law; because the Town of Oro Valley changes a lot in ten years. Oro Valley was about to embark on a major growth phase in 2003 so land use was the focus. Oro Valley was focussed on building a larger base of rooftops in 2016.

Things are different than they were just a few years ago
  • Oro Valley residents are older.  The median age of Oro Valley residents was 54 in 2020. It was 49 in 2010 and 45 in 2000. The median age of all Arizona residents is 39. Our residents are much older than those of Marana and Sahuarita and that gap continues to widen
  • Less than 20% of Oro Valley households have children under 18. This is down from about 24% in 2010.  In fact, in 2020, there are almost 300 fewer households with children under 18 than there were in 2010
  • Quality Oro Valley land for homes has dwindled. More and more projects are being proposed on land that is simply not suited for homes. For example, homes build on the edge of Big Wash. There are more projects for apartment living, like La Posada and, what might be one day, apartments in Oro Valley Village (aka Marketplace)
  • Water is a huge issue and there's not a lot of room for more conservation.
  • The town will have built its parks system by 2026. Focus will turn to maintenance.
What is not different is that Oro Valley has failed to attract younger residents with children. It has failed to attract significant non service businesses.
A plan that was right for 2005 or 2016 will not be right for 2026
Once again, it is our job to figure out what is right.

LOVE plans to cover the 2026 General Plan from start to finish.  
- - -

Monday, January 30, 2023

Neighbors Cite Safety Concerns of the Proposed OVCN Rezoning during the January 18th Call to Audience

Protecting the "quiet enjoyment" of their property
For months now, neighbors living adjacent to the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, have been speaking during the "Call to Audience" portion of the Town meetings. They have been speaking in opposition to the church’s plans to build a large sports complex. 

OVCN's plans are to build an athletic field with nighttime field lighting; an amphitheater; and a multi-use building for indoor sports and classrooms. Neighbors have previously cited concerns about increased traffic, light pollution, and noise infringement on their quiet, rural neighborhood.

Below are two of the speeches from the January 18th Town Council meeting.
Neighbor, Devon Smith, discusses noise and pedestrian safety issues

"My name is Devon Smith. I have a home on Calle Milagro and I am also strongly opposed to the rezone. Quite simply, this neighborhood is not zoned right now for what the church is proposing and the approval of this rezone would compromise our neighborhood significantly.

There are many generations who have made homes and lives in this place and this expansion would disrupt that. I know my neighbors have spoken on it. I respect the vision of the church, I just don’t think this is the right place for it. It’s nestled in our beautiful neighborhood which is truly a gem of a neighborhood. I had never been anywhere quite like it. I love living there. My family loves living there and I want to protect that.

What they have proposed is daily and nightly activities that would increase traffic and sound all through the week. I have two young children so I’m used to a lot of noise, but I also want to be able to step outside and hear the owl in the cypress tree and the coyotes and all the beautiful things that surround us in that neighborhood that would be overshadowed by the sounds coming from the church all day and all night long.

Traffic is another issue for me. We don’t have sidewalks. I have two young kids who are riding bikes, who are walking, and increased traffic in any part of the neighborhood makes me concerned for the safety of my family and our neighbors.

The streets were not built for this and the neighborhood was not built for this and I urge you to protect that. I think our neighborhood is very unique and I look at my kids’ faces and I know I want this special part of Tucson preserved for them as well as for the lives of everyone who has built homes there."

CDO High School student, Liam Dadeppo, addresses increased traffic endangering the student body

"I’m Liam Dadeppo. I’m a member of the Youth Advisory Council here in Oro Valley as well as a CDO student and I’m part of that student government.

As stated by the neighborhood members who’ve been showing up to these council meetings relentlessly, as I’ve been attending some of these meetings, the traffic at CDO and Calle Concordia is already bad enough. I urge the Council to think about the fact that our school’s already teeming with so many new drivers which has already caused many accidents since I started going to school there in 2020.

I would also like the Council to think about the fact that if this rezoning is put in, this will cause so much more traffic that is not just going to affect the neighborhood but might endanger the student body. I feel that even though you have heard so many opinions from this group of neighbors, and I appreciate as I said before, their fight to stop this rezoning, it’s good for you to hear it from a member of the student body.

I wanted you to know that if this was put into effect, it won’t be just the neighbors that you’ll be hearing from when you come to a meeting, it will be the student body and it will be the parents of the student body as well because this will be endangering us."
- - -

Friday, January 27, 2023

Bits and Pieces

OVHS local  historian event on February 19
Meet Wynne Brown, local author and historian on February 19 at 3pm.  Wynn will present her book: “The Forgotten Botanist – Sara Plummer Lemmon’s Life of Science and Art." at the Oro Valley Country Club. Visit the Oro Valley Historical Society website to purchase tickets for the presentation and dinner. Proceeds for the event will allow the Oro Valley Historical Society (a non-profit 501c3) to continue its mission to promote research, education, preservation and dissemination of history of the Greater Oro Valley area.

Riverfront Park play area refurbishment progress on time while Aquatic Center reopening delayed
Town Staff continues to make progress on replacing the surface of the Riverfront Park play area.  The area is scheduled to be reopened after February 3.  Things are not progressing as well with the maintenance and repair activities at the Aquatic Center. "The facility's improvement project has experienced delays
Click to enlarge
related to the arrival of equipment necessary to the completion of the project. Due to these delays the project timeline has been extended and a new reopening date of Monday, February 13th is what we will be targeting."(Source: Parks and Recreation Bulletin)

New Car Wash for Village Center considered next week
Next Wednesday, The Oro Valley Town Council will consider an application for use of an area adjacent to ""In N’ Out Burger". The area is in the Oro Valley Village Center (aka Oro Valley Marketplace). The request was unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. As there is an existing queuing problem at "In N’ Out",  town staff added a provision for approval requiring the reconfiguration of the existing "In N’ Out" drive  prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the car wash. 

The meeting next Wednesday is a public hearing in town council chambers. No one from the public spoke at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. (Read more about the Planning and Zoning Commission decision here. Learn more about what is being proposed here.)
- - -

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Cattle In Arizona

The Explorers brought cattle to North America
Cattle in the Arizona Territory Cattle are not native to North America, however they have been present in the Southwest for almost 500 years. 

Christopher Columbus brought cattle to eastern North American in 1493 and the Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado brought cattle, sheep and horses to what is now Arizona as part of his 1540 expedition from Mexico to locate gold for the Spanish crown. The expedition was unsuccessful, however. Livestock and people may have remained behind when the expedition returned to Spain. The cattle were likely Andalusian Cattle from Spain that were imported into Mexico. They are often termed “Criollo” or “Corriente” and are well adapted to arid landscapes.

Father Kino brought cattle to Southern Arizona
In the late 1600s the Jesuit priest Father Eusebio Kino established missions in northern Sonora and southern Arizona. He brought herds of cattle from Mexico with him and became known as an expert cattleman. 

Open range cattle ranching began in the 1870's
The remnants of these herds may have survived until the early 1800s when Apache raids on settlements, primarily for cattle and horses, occurred on a regular basis. Apache raiding ended in the early 1870s when the federal government established reservations to confine the mobile tribes. The era of “open range” cattle ranching soon began in southern Arizona.

Ranchers got cattle from various sources
Ranchers in southern Arizona obtained cattle from a number of sources. In the early years they came primarily from Mexico and Texas and were known as Mexican cattle and Texas Longhorns. Later on, ranchers experimented with some European breeds from eastern America: primarily Hereford, and Shorthorn and some Durham and Angus. Great cattle drives crossed the Arizona Territory from Texas to California and from California to Texas. Arizona ranchers incorporated new breeds into their herds in an effort to improve their stock. By the mid 1880s Herefords had become the most successful breed adapting well to the vast grasslands in the open range era.

Visit our exhibit to learn more
This article is from an Oro Valley Historical Society exhibit item on display at the Pusch House Museum. If you would like to discover more about Cattlemen, Cowboys, and Ranchin’ visit the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch at 10901 N. Oracle from 9 to Noon on Saturday, January 28. This is the last week of the exhibit.
- - -