Friday, December 2, 2022

Bits and Pieces

VCA President runs roughshod over Sienna residents
Normally, LOVE does not report the machinations of homeowners associations. They are, indeed, their own legal entity. They are important to the community. They can do great good. They could also do great harm. It has been reported to us that there is a problem going on involving the Rancho Vistoso Community Association ("VCA") and small managed portion, Sienna.

It seems that VCA Chairman Gail Lopez Van Damm sent out a no board approved draft letter intended for Sienna, to the entire Rancho Vistoso Community. She did so without getting Board approval.  Then, she called a Board meeting to get permission to send the letter.

Lopez is on a tear to do something about the fountain entry way to Sienna. First, she wanted to obliterate it. Then, after getting a friendly letter from a Sienna resident attorney, she decided to try to restore it. 

She's a two year resident and a transplant from Chicago. What does she really know of the residents of Rancho Vistoso or of Oro Valley?

How did a person who barely has lived in Rancho Vistoso or Oro Valley or Arizona ever get elected to the VCA in the first place?

“No more than Fifty” on Oracle
We hope that you will join our campaign to improve safety on Oracle Road. It’s Oro Valley’s most trafficked road. Drivers routinely exceed the speed limit. The result: Oracle Road is where Oro Valley experiences the most accidents [table right]. In the past tenth months alone, 63% of total accidents involve some intersection with Oracle Road. 

The worst intersection is Oracle and Magee.  The number 2 worst has nothing to do with Oracle Road but it is under assault. It is Tangerine and 1st/Rancho Vistoso Blvd. This is the area where hundreds of tiny homes are being requested by Avilla.

Oro Valley: Safest City in Arizona
"In June, the Town of Oro Valley was ranked #1 of “Safest Places in Arizona 2022” by Elite Personal Finance. The website extracted the latest data from the FBI crime statistics in the United States to make its determination. OVPD is proud of this award, as it recognizes our dedication to fight crime and enhance the quality of life in Oro Valley." (Source: OVPD Crimefighter-November 2022)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

1853 Gadsden Purchase Added Southern Arizona (and Oro Valley) To The US

A war with mexico and then...
In 1848, the Mexican-American War ended with Mexico ceding nearly half of its territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the United States; including what is now, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. 
 
The territorial boundary line in what is now Arizona was north of the Gila River (making the Tucson area part of Mexico). This restricted access to California via the established Mormon Battalion route which remained part of Mexico. Settlers in that area were often under attack and without protection.

...a purchase of land that includes Oro Valley 
President Franklin Pierce, sent James Gadsden, U. S. Minister to Mexico, to Mexico City to purchase additional land needed to connect the lower Mississippi to California. Initially, the parcel of land was to include all of Baja California and the Port of Guaymas on the Gulf of California.
 
With the looming conflict between the North and the South, the northern states were wary of the possible expansion of a southern route to the west which could strengthen the southern economy as well as expand slavery.
 
Gadsden had been given six boundary line proposals by the U. S. Senate with commensurate purchase prices to take to the Mexican government. Finally, in 1853, a compromise was reached in Congress, and the border was set to cross Arizona south of the Gila where it stands today. The Gadsden Purchase ($10,000,000) acquired all of New Mexico south of the 34th Parallel plus the land between New Mexico and California (now Arizona). The newly acquired land became the Territory of New Mexico and part of the United States. Arizona did not become its own territory until 1863.

Purchase accommodated building the rail roads
Gadsden did not believe the ratified treaty for the land was in the best interest of either the U. S. or Mexican governments. That being said, the Gadsden Treaty that was signed December 30, 1853, would add the needed territory to build the southern transcontinental railroad which in large part was the primary reason for the purchase.
 
Bringing commerce to Tucson and the surrounding region
Though Gadsden did not see the fruition of his efforts, the railroad lines that he envisioned did come to be. Between 1878 and 1881 the Southern Pacific Railroad built the southern transcontinental line between Yuma and El Paso. The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad linked to the port of Guaymas in Sonora, Mexico. All of these lines are within the Gadsden Purchase area and make it one of the busiest lines in the Western Hemisphere. Needless, to say it put Tucson and the greater Tucson area on the map and on the road to progress.
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This month visit the the Pusch House Museum to learn more about "Traditions, Toys and Trains"
Want to find out more about railroad lines in our area? Stop by the Pusch House Museum on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to Noon, December 3, 10, and 17 for the Oro Valley Historical Society’s new exhibit, “Traditions, Toys, and Trains”. The exhibit features familiar holiday traditions, the history of some of our favorite toys and local train history and the connection between trains and Christmas. Children can also drop off letters to Santa in our “special mailbox” on those dates AND on Saturday, December 17 from 10 to Noon, they can meet Father Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Alert: OVCN Sports Facility Planning and Zoning Commission Hearing Next Tuesday

David v Goliath
A most important public hearing is being held next Tuesday, December 6, by the Planning and Zoning Commission. It is a hearing on whether the character of the original section of Oro Valley will be completely blown up in favor of a church's desire to impose their will on that community. The hearing starts at 6pm in town council chambers. 

You can read all about the history here.  You can visit the town's project page here.

Residents are united in their opposition... Committed to preserving the community
The residents in the area are united. They do not want the facility built in their backyard. There is no compromise. They have formed the Concordia/Buena Vista Group

You may not live in the area of Buena Vista and Concordia. So we've embedded a video [panel right] that the Group created to show you what we are talking about.

Some of you may not even care. 

After all, this is not your backyard into which the field lights will shine... or the noise will blare.  This is not your street onto which the traffic will pour... or the cars will park...

But it is your town. And these are your neighbors. So, maybe you ought to get involved.

Church is resolute in its plan
The position of the applicant, the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, is that these hearings are a formality. They believe that they are legally entitled to do whatever they wish with the property because it furthers their religious objective. Their plan: To partner with a "non profit" sports business to both build and to operate the facility. 

The Commission will hold an executive session prior to the hearing “…to obtain legal advice regarding the Oro Valley Church of The Nazarene rezoning application.”

Town staff wants compromise
The Town Planning and Zoning staff has been facilitating the meetings. As we have reported, however, staff has encouraged the residents to seek a compromise. Residents have rejected this. Instead they proposed a number of alternatives. For example, OVCN could build the facility elsewhere. The residents could buy the property. The land could be used to further religious purpose by becoming a nature preserve or, perhaps, a farm.

Planning and Zoning Commission hearing is yet another step in a long process
Next week's hearing is just another step in the process. The matter will be considered by the Oro Valley Town Council at yet another public hearing at a date to be determined.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Get Involved: Shape Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve

One day left to give your input on Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve
You have until tomorrow to provide input into the future of the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. The town has completed community meetings. There have been four of them. The only opportunity for input remaining is a survey.  After that, a consultant will compile “results” and present recommendations to the Oro Valley Town Council.

Here are four reasons you should complete the survey.

This is not just another park
It’s a nature preserve. Because it was built as an 18-hole golf course, the land is a massive 203 acres filled with natural vegetation and wildlife. The town stated vision is for the Preserve to be place for a leisurely walk… for education… for attracting tourists. There are many ways to accomplish all of this.

You are going to pay for its creation and its upkeep
It is a beautiful piece of land that is in major disrepair. [panel right] The “fancier” the town makes it, the more it will cost and the more will be the cost of maintaining it. That maintenance cost will be yet another addition to a massively growing town parks and recreation budget. When all is said and done and Naranja Park comes on stream, the parks and recreation budget is going to increase substantially. The money to pay for that comes from the General Fund. The sales taxes you pay go into that fund. 

You might never use it
You will most certainly visit the nature preserve if you live near it.  Because of the location, however, it is not likely that you will use it otherwise. It simply isn’t convenient. Thus, you may want to limit the vision of what should reasonably be put on the property.

Survey input is light. Total community input is light
Only a few hundred surveys have been submitted to date. Because it’s a blind survey, you can submit the same survey as many times as you want. It is likely that most of the input regarding the future of the Preserve has come from those who live in the area of the Preserve.

This is going to be a total community funded adventure and you should make sure that your voice is heard.
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Monday, November 28, 2022

Council Appropriates $3.2 million More For Naranja Park Buildout

Council appropriated $3.2 million reserves for Naranja Park Buildout
On November 16, the Oro Valley town Council appropriated $3.2 million to “complete” the build out of Naranja park amenities. The approval is exactly what Town staff wanted and includes all of the value engineering changes town staff recommended.  In addition, the council earmarked $509,000 of development impact fees to cover the overrun.

Bond project items that will not be funded at the moment are detailed in our posting of November 16. These will be subject to “pay as you go” spending. 

Nicolson: Sports Tourism is "front and center"
One of the key areas considered by the Council was sports tourism. This concept was introduced to council by former Mayor Hiremath. Councilmembers Nicolson and Jones-Ivey want a world-class pump track that can be used for competition. They think that it will bring people from out of town who will stay in the hotels that have yet to be built. During the one hour discussion, Nicolson, focused only on the pump track. He spoke of nothing else. Clearly, Nicolson wants his pump track.

Musette Drive Connection from Tangerine
Barrett: Borrowing was a good deal when we did it
Vice mayor Barrett commented several times during the meeting to justify why borrowing money to finance the park was good idea. The town received a favorable interest rate on the $25 million in borrowing. The amount of funding to build out the amenities was estimated to be $33 million. Yes. The amount ballooned to well over $50 million, Barrett noted. 

Mayor Winfield claimed that there was no way to predict the overrun
According to Winfield, the original estimate was provided by an engineering firm. This is not the case. It was provided by a Parks Consultant. In addition, the council was advised on several occasion by Public Works Director Keesler that there were materials shortages and that costs were rapidly inflating. 

Solomon: Council ignored statistically valid survey regarding parks priorities
Councilmember Steve Solomon said the same thing that he has said every time this subject is on the agenda. His assertion is that the amenities that are being built don’t follow what people want because they don’t in any way sync with the statistically valid survey that the town did 18 months ago. No one asked for a skate park. Or a splash pad. Residents want trails. Solomon is correct. But that ship has sailed!

Bohen: Last election validates doing this
Councilmember Bohen pointed out that we had a recent election of four people. These are the same four people who proposed the bond. They were reelected. Obviously, the community felt they were doing the right thing.

Greene voted "no" but gave no reason
Councilmember Mo Greene did not vote for the measure. He did not state the reason why he voted “no” since he did not speak. Our guess is that he was caught off guard when Solomon voted in favor. Generally, Greene votes the way Solomon votes.

Winfield's "sleight-of-hand" succeeds
Mayor Winfield is giddy over the fact that Naranja Park is going to be completed. He achieved what former Mayors Paul Loomis and Satish Hiremath were not able to get done. Both Loomis and Hiremath proposed that the town issue bonds that would be paid via a secondary property tax.  Residents voted “no” on that. 

Winfield, on the other hand, circumvented the entire “property tax thing” by issuing a bond that will be serviced from the existing sales tax. A rather clever sleight-of-hand. Oh yes… Winfield and his council also abandoned the “pay as you go” funding for parks improvements. This is a policy that his council at one time affirmed and that all council’s have followed.  The reason that policy prevailed is that is unwise to borrow to fund “wants.”

The "thing in the punch bowl:" Town has no idea what it will cost to maintain Naranja Park
What is lost in all of this is what it is going to cost to maintain the new Naranja Park. Ongoing maintenance cost of the facility has never been considered by this Council  This despite the fact that town ordinances require estimating maintenance cost before committing to build any facility. That is simply smart fiscal management. It is important to know what it is going to cost to maintain a new facility because that cost is borne in future budgets.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Bits and Pieces

Fight identity theft:Free document shredding event tomorrow 
"The Town of Oro Valley, in partnership with AARP, will hold a free document shredding event for Oro Valley residents on Saturday, November 19 at the Oro Valley Marketplace (12155 N. Oracle Road), from 8 a.m. to noon or until trucks are full. Residents can bring up to five medium-sized boxes that will be shredded on-site. Shredding confidential documents helps fight identity theft. For questions related to this event, please contact Constituent Services Coordinator Jessica Hynd at jhynd@orovalleyaz.gov or 520-229-4711. (Source: Town of Oro Valley Media Release) 

Oro Valley website economic development web site wins award from Arizona Association for Economic Development 
 ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (Nov. 14, 2022) – The Town of Oro Valley is pleased to announce that its new economic development website, chooseorovalley.com, was recently awarded a Golden Prospector award from the Arizona Association for Economic Development. The Golden Prospector awards were established to encourage and recognize excellence in economic development. (Source: Town of Oro Valley Media Release) 

Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve safety improvements in progress
Vistoso Trails initial site cleanup including weed, invasive grasses and dead tree removal, trail accessibility and restoring restrooms to working condition is in the constuction pahse Significant work is required to ensure public safety and access. Through October, the Town has spent $130,067 (37% of budget) and is expecting to complete the project on budget ($350,000 from the Community Center Fund) at this time. The project has experienced delays due to pest infestation and an increased scope of work. (Source: 22-11-15 Town of Oro Valley Budget and and Finance Commission meeting) 

Westward Look Drive Improvements entering procurement phase. . . budget overrun expected 
As part of the Westward Look annexation, the town agreed to reconstruct Westward Look Drive from Ina Road to Vista Oest. This includes removing and replacing extruded curb, adjusting manholes and water valve covers. The budget for this project is $539,625 (General Fund. Through October, the Town has spent $50,107 (9% of budget) The design for this project is complete and the project is currently in the procurement phase. "The construction contract was awarded to Sunland Asphalt Company; however, at the request of the Westward Look Resort management and due to other title issues, construction has been significantly delayed. Due to the delay, the Town must now go out to bid again, which is expected to be higher than the original bid and exceed the budget by approximately $150,000." (Source: 22-11-15 Town of Oro Valley Budget and and Finance Commisssion meeting)