With the Town Council election on the horizon, LOVE will be presenting a series of articles entitled, “The Solomon Chronicles,” highlighting the abysmal record of Councilmember Steve Solomon who is running for re-election. This weekly series will highlight his 4-year record of incivility and his interdependent relationship with local developers. This series was written by a LOVE contributor and contains a synopsis of previous LOVE articles plus new information.
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Today’s article presents excerpts from Councilmember Solomon’s voting record from November 2016 to April 2018 and focuses on his repeated catering to developers.
Solomon thumbed his nose at the citizens on his first night in office
November 16, 2016. Solomon was sworn into office. That very same night, he voted to approve a Major General Plan Amendment to amend the Land Use Map at Rancho Vistoso Blvd. and Vistoso Highlands Drive (17 acres) FROM Neighborhood Commercial/Office TO Medium Density Residential.
Why was this important? Solomon’s vote was noteworthy because it came just 8 days after the new 2016 General Plan had been approved by Oro Valley voters! Think about that. A plan that was 3 years in the making (September 2013 – September 2016), a plan written and approved by the people of Oro Valley to reflect OUR community values, was altered by Steve Solomon (and the rest of the former Hiremath council) during their very first meeting. On his very first night in office, Solomon’s first order of business was to thumb his nose at the citizens. This would be a harbinger of what was to come.
Apparently, all those Oro Valley voices coming together to present a clear vision of what we wanted for our town was of no value or importance to Steve Solomon.
Approved the grading of rolling hills
November 16, 2016. Yes, we’re still on the same night and he wasn’t done yet. Remember the beautiful rolling hills that were once present on the east side of First Avenue? Town Code does not allow grading of hills by more than 6 feet. Solomon voted to allow a portion of those hills to be graded down 12-15 feet to accommodate the residential development known as Sanctuary at Silverhawke.
Approved a storage facility at the historic Steam Pump Ranch
March 15, 2017. Solomon voted to allow a 107,544 square foot, 3-story storage facility containing approx. 750 storage units at the historic Steam Pump Village despite residents speaking against it during the Public Hearing. Residents pointed out that it was not consistent with the vision, guiding principles, goals and policies of the General Plan. One of those residents pointed out that even the Town Staff found that it met ONLY ONE of the 10 goals in the General Plan.
Additionally, this area was slated to be part of the Main Streets district which was to include areas for shopping and dining along the CDO wash…another reason that a 3-story storage facility was not appropriate for this area.
Tangerine North Annexation, Shannon 80, and Big Wash General Plan Amendments
December 6, 2017. Despite a huge resident turnout at this council meeting and strong vocal opposition from residents, Solomon voted to approve ALL of the following:
• Tangerine North Annexation. Solomon voted to approve a General Plan Amendment to extend the Oro Valley planning area boundary to include 302 acres currently zoned for 3.3 acre residential on the north side of Tangerine (between Coyote Crossing and Thornydale) and to give it a new designation of Master Planned Community. In other words, say goodbye to 3.3 acre minimum lot sizes.
• Shannon 80. Solomon voted to approve a General Plan Amendment to change the land use on 76 acres on the east side of Shannon Road FROM Rural low density residential TO Low density residential-1. He then voted to approve the rezoning from R1-144 to R1-36. However, due to ESLO criteria, the minimum lot size actually allowed is just 8,750 square feet! This is totally incompatible with existing homes in that area which are custom homes on lot sizes of 144,000 sf and larger (3.3 acres and up).
• Big Wash. Solomon voted to approve a General Plan Amendment to change land use and zoning designations for 108 acres of undeveloped land in a FLOODPLAIN located along Honeybee Wash and Big Wash to allow 408 homes on lot sizes of 7,200 sf lots and 5,400 sf lots on mass-graded sites.
April 4, 2018. Despite this parcel (west side of La Cholla between Glover and Naranja) already having been rezoned from R1-144 (144,000 sf) down to R1-20 (20,000 sf) just two years earlier, Solomon voted to approve yet another rezoning down to even smaller lots of R1-7 (7,000 sf).
This pristine desert parcel (85 acres), originally zoned for 3.3 acre rural residential lots with no mass grading, will now be built as 7,000 sf lots with mass grading and cookie-cutter 2-story homes. This is not compatible with the surrounding homes, including custom homes on 3.3 acre lots and semi-custom homes with an average lot size of 18,500 sf. Numerous residents spoke in opposition to this rezoning.
Solomon’s legacy – 588 acres of pristine desert irreparably transformed
This is just a small sample from Solomon’s first 18 months in office! It reveals that his loyalty is not to the people, but rather to wealthy land speculators and developers. For anyone who still doesn’t know this, Steve Solomon is also a developer. He is the owner of Canada Vistas, a real estate development/homebuilding business.
NOTE: Councilmember Bill Rodman who is also running for re-election also voted to approve all of the above general plan amendments and rezonings. Do you want to re-elect these two incumbents and give them another 4-year long license to continue rezoning what little land is left of our once beautiful Oro Valley desert landscape?
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The Solomon Chronicles: Part 3. “Who funded Solomon’s 2016 Town Council campaign?” will be published next Wednesday.