June 2, 2008

Call to Order at 6:00 p.m.


Roll Call
PRESENT:  Chair Doug McKee
Vice Chair Teree Bergman
Commissioner Bill Adler
Commissioner Ray Paolino
Commissioner Clark Reddin
Commissioner Pete Bistany

Also Present: 
Vice Mayor Al Kunisch
Council Member K.C. Carter
Council Member Barry Gillaspie
Michele Muench, Arizona State Land Department
Charlie Deans, CommunityByDesign
Sarah More, Planning and Zoning Director
Bayer Vella, Principal Planner
Karen Berchtold, Senior Planner,
Joe Andrews, Town Attorney
Paul Keesler, Development Review Manager
Philip Saletta, Water Department Director


Discussion Item: Review of background and purpose of the "Significant Resource Area" designation in the General Plan document and map.

Principal Planner Bayer Vella gave the staff report focusing on the background of Significant Resource Area (SRA) and how to apply.  Open Space designates areas already preserved in place.  SRA is a means of evaluating property to a higher degree. 

Questions from Commissioners and response: 
- Whose burden is it to document if an SRA is required or not? 
Response: The GP is explicit that it is the applicant’s burden. 
- If hired consultants disagree, how is it solved?
Response: When there is a disagreement, the criteria in the General Plan (GP) needs to be focused on.  The Commission and Town Council (TC) ultimately make the decision.

- How precise is the SRA overlay on the Land Use Map?  Why do an overlay over something that is already protected, i.e. riparian areas?  Is the SRA meant to protect, because it does allow development at the lowest density consistent with the underlying designation?
Response:  Washes generally have the most SRAs.  SRA’s are generally done via aerial photos with limited on site visits.  They all should be evaluated on a case by case basis.  SRA is essentially a place holder and not just a tool for identifying riparian areas.

- When is the SRA applied?
Response:  It can be applied during a rezoning or after a development comes that is trying to meet the zoning requirements.  Ideally it is addressed in a rezoning. 

- Give an example of how transfer of density would work where zoning is already in place.
Response:  Riparian code allows lot size and set backs to be reduced if you stay out of riparian areas.  Transfer of density is part of rezoning.

- How would the ESLO interface with SRA?    
Response: GP provides directives for clustering, transfer of development rights, etc., that needs to be incorporated in the ESLO.  When the ordinance is done, at the Development Plan (DP) & Preliminary Plat (PP) level, the tools will be there to make the transfer of development happen.  A consultant will be brought on board to work with a task force to complete the ESLO. 

- What constituted the owner’s consent to be able to apply the open space element to a property?
Attorney Andrew’s response:  The owner would have to give the Town specific permission in writing to designate it as pure undeveloped open space. 

- Where an amendment proposes to increase the use on the land use map from residential to commercial, but the area is overlaid with an SRA, what is the lowest density available in a commercial designation?  
Response:  The GP does not specifically address commercial areas under the SRA.  Neighborhood Commercial limits building size.  Focus is on the footprint. 


Study Session: Hawk Holdings, LLC, represented by The WLB Group, requests a major General Plan amendment for approximately 127 acres west of Kingair Drive and south of W. Tortolita Circle Stone Canyon 9. Request is to change land use designation from RLDR (Rural Low Density Residential) to LDR1 (Low Density Residential 1), (OV11-07-02).

Applicant Paul Oland, The WLB Group representing Hawk Holdings, LLC, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Stone Canyon 9. 

Questions from Commissioners and response:
- Under the present GP land use how many houses would be allowed?
Response:  Approximately 30 on 3.3 acre lots. 

- What would be the physical impact on the Town by extending the urban service boundary?
Response: Costs for infrastructure would be the applicant’s expense.  Water lines would be owned by the Town.  Streets would be private and maintained by Stone Canyon.

-On page 5 #2, what is the benefit of expansion of Stone Canyon Club into unregulated areas?
Response:  Unregulated areas to the south and west have unpaved roads, septic tanks, property line fences, etc.   By approaching development in this way, the Town can be assured sensitive areas are preserved through the rezoning and subsequent platting process, and the applicant can develop as a continuation of Stone Canyon which is preservation oriented. 

- How were the 5/5/08 neighborhood meeting concerns addressed and/or resolved?
Response:  The most repeated concerns at that meeting were the 3.3 acre dwelling unit land use remain the same.  There was concern that there would be a negative impact on the La Cholla Airpark approach pattern. There is already existing development to the north and there have been no problems.  The applicant is in compliance with Town guidelines.

- Is safety an issue with flight landing approaches?
Response: There would be homes in that end of the land.  There have been no issues.

- Is there a sufficient demand for homes?
Response: Sales are continuing and by the time this project is completed, the market should have recovered.

- Will the issues raised regarding access to the trailhead be resolved?
Response: The trailhead is owned by the Town and is not part of the application.  Access is from an existing easement.  There is no vehicular access at this time. 

- Does the applicant intend to provide a solution by the time this goes to public hearing?
Response:  Ms. More stated it is being worked on.

- Is this an equestrian trail, which would need parking?
Response: Yes. 

- Will there be an enforcement mechanism for keeping untouchable areas untouched? 
Response:  The applicant will outline slope areas, SRAs, rock outcroppings, etc., that would be untouchable spots.  Town staff is very familiar with what is required in Stone Canyon.  There is an architectural committee, landscape design guidelines, etc. that may also catch problems.  Residents also report problems.

- What is the applicant’s intention to comply with SRA zone?
Response:  As part of the subsequent rezoning or PAD amendment in this case, hire a TOV certified biologist and those areas would be delineated and would become part of a no build zone. It would be protected by a conservation easement.

- Is building being done immediately adjacent to no-build areas, thus cramping the sensitive area?  NW part of property has lots of saguaros, other vegetation, and 25% slopes. Is that a no-build area?
Response:  The majority of it is. The density is less that other areas.  What is presented at this point is a "wish list" for developing.  By the Public Hearing the applicant will have more details for building areas, etc.  A detailed hydrologic analysis will be provided at the rezoning stage. A tentative no-build map based on constraints as we know now can be provided. 

- Will the SRA as shown on the original GP be adequate? 
Ms. More responded: Mr. Vella said the GP amendment time is the time to look at the SRA and make decisions.

- An economic evaluation about what this amendment means in terms of Town revenue and expenses should be provided for review.

- In regards to the SRAs and roadways it traverses, do you have any limitations that have been set to mitigate impact?
Response:  They will try to cross washes as few times as possible and in the narrowest places.

- Have any of the washes been determined to be 404 washes?
Response: No. A 404 determination has not been done on this site yet.  It will be done.

- One finding of fact involves changes since the last GP.  Applicant has used change of ownership to justify this amendment.  Staff should take a careful look at that and determine if change in ownership is sufficient to justify an amendment.

BREAK: 7:20 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Karen Berchtold, Senior Planner, gave the staff report. 

Questions from the Commissioners and response: 
- To maintain the rural character of the area, would it be possible to do a gradual increase in density from the Airpark to Stone Canyon? 
Response:  Staff will consider this in their analysis.

- Are there pygmy owls on the property and are they going back on the endangered list?
Response:  Arizona Game and Fish Department did not indicate Pygmy owls on the property, but in the project vicinity.  Staff will research whether the Pygmy owl may be going back on the endangered list and how it would affect this property if it were.

- Take into account if this property stays as zoned, it is more likely that there will be horse property if the owners develop. 


Study Session: Arroyo Grande General Plan Amendment and extension of the Urban Services Boundary for 9,106 acres north of the Town limits. (OV11-08-05).

Ms. More, Planning and Zoning Director, gave the staff report and PowerPoint presentation on Arroyo Grande Planning Area. 

Philip Salatta, Water Department Director, discussed Oro Valley’s water sources, Central Arizona Project (CAP), infrastructure needs, customer base, projections for Arroyo Grande, costs to treat and deliver, cost sharing, new development/water impact fees, assured water supply and the need whether Arroyo Grande is annexed or not.

- The public is concerned about adequate water supply.  If Arroyo Grande was included in the Town’s service area, would the 100 year assured water supply (AWS) be applied for immediately or wait to 2010, and what is the cost?
Response: AWS will be applied for in 2010 regardless so the additional cost would be necessary anyway. 

- If water is pumped to supply AG, does it come from the same aquifer currently pumped from? Describe the aquifer and the impact of putting more wells in the AG area.
Response:  NE along Oracle towards Oracle Junction is the northern extension of Tucson Active Management Area (TAMA).  The current wells are in and around the Canada Del Oro Wash.  Additional production wells could be put in further north, however, every drop of ground water pumped from an aquifer has to be replaced. Recharge is accomplished through paying the Central Arizona Ground Water Replenishment District to recharge in some location in the TAMA, not necessarily the Oro Valley aquifer. If AG is not annexed, someone else could pump the ground water which could affect Oro Valley’s aquifer.

- Is the 17,000 acre feet required based on the assumption of the AG annexation?
Response:  Basically that was the amount of water supply we have, and looking to the future of what level of population we would be able to serve, which was around 80,000.  It took into consideration the GP area including AG.  If the demands exceed the initial estimates based on the GP criteria, it would have to be reviewed to determine the estimated amount of water that would be needed.

- Would that estimate be greater or less?
Response:  Based upon the water supply that Oro Valley currently has, if there was an additional 38,000 people, additional renewable water supplies would be needed.  AG has an allocation of CAP water and could transfer a portion of that allocation to Oro Valley.

- The 17000 acre feet are designed to maintain the aquifer level.  At one time weren’t there plans to bring the aquifer back up to natural level?
Response:  That would take an artificial recharge or stop pumping.  Natural recharge is between 1700 - 4 or 5000 acre feet per year.  Sustainable water supply exceeds natural recharge.  Natural recharge would require no pumping for a number of years. 

- Does the water impact fee for new infrastructure for AG include incremental costs of bringing in CAP?
Response:  Yes.  There are two separate fees: one for renewable water treatment and delivery, and one for delivery of potable water.  Council can direct the Water Utility to look at the fees every three years.

- Is there a cost to the Town for CAP water even if not used?
Response:  Yes, the Town pays a capital charge of $21 per acre foot whether used or not.  An O&M charge is also paid if water is being delivered.

- If AG proceeds would it be served with mostly CAP water and the rest of the Town with a blend of CAP and well water?
Response: The Water Utility would look at blending through the entire system. 

- Is the operating cost to provide CAP water higher?
Response: Yes, as there would be O&M charges to CAP,  pumping, treatment and debt service costs.  The entire Town would be sharing in that source of supply. 

- Is the CAP water delivery reliable enough so no more wells will be needed?
Response:  Wells will always be needed for backup.

- What would happen in natural disaster emergencies?
Response:  We are looking at a Northwest Reliability Storage Reservoir which would hold 30 days worth of storage off the canal but separate for emergencies.

- What happens if the drought continues and we go below critical levels and can’t get our allocation?
Response:  There is a shortage sharing criteria with all the water users in the seven basin states that was just approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Shortage sharing would be called out on agricultural uses and non-Indian agricultural uses.   Mr. Saletta was confident there would not be a problem. 

- Is it the same aquifer throughout?
Response:  All are connected.  For spacing of wells, there could be some impact.  It is important to try to minimize additional production in future by bringing in the renewable water supply.  

- Could the CAP water allocation decline if the Colorado River ran short?
Response:  CAP water could decrease as a result of shortage sharing. Currently aquifers are being recharged to pump back in dry years.  Shortage sharing would not create shortages for municipal and industrial water. 

- What is the effect of blending on the quality of drinking water?
Response: The treatment would not make a difference in taste. 

- Will the .41 acre feet of water per year per household stay constant as the population grows, including industrial and commercial and other uses?
Response:  Yes.  It takes into consideration the amount that would be delivered to one equivalent dwelling unit.

- Will there be any additional capacity available for expanding reclaimed water in the future?
Response:  Yes.  There are opportunities that can be looked at in the future in terms of reclaimed water.

- Regarding the 100 year assured water supply, would any future developers still have to get their assurances to prove there is adequate ground water?
Response:  If AG is annexed Oro Valley has an assured water supply. If not annexed, a developer could drill wells and purchase recharge to get an assured water supply designation. In 2025 when we have to get to a safe yield, they would have problems meeting that requirement from a regulatory standpoint. The State of Arizona says in 2025, all ground water users will be on a safe basis. 

Charlie Deans, CommunityByDesign, consultant representing the Arizona State Land Department and the Town of Oro Valley, open discussion for questions and answers.

Questions from Commissioners and responses:

- How do you propose to respond to the fact that the Significant Resource Area (SRA) is overlaid on top of uses that Oro Valley doesn’t have? 
Response:  On page 23.1 of the document there is a Sonoran Conservation Plan map.  Compare the Town’s SRA, Pima County conservation land systems and what is being proposed.  The AG area has three conservation land system designations: The biological core in which 80% of the area will remain undisturbed and as open space, the riparian area at 95% undisturbed, and the remaining multiple use area at 67% undisturbed.  We are proposing an area near the Tortilita Mountain Park as designated open space and 100% set aside. To the east in the RLDR area (Town designation) an 80% open space requirement will be incorporated.  Density has been tranferred from the western area to a NE portion for a Village Center designation.  This is meeting the conservation land system which exceeds the Town’s SRA areas.  The same overlay is not being indicated because with the open space requirements, the criteria set out in the SRA is basically being met.

- Transferring density means higher density. 
Response:  The density could be spread fairly evenly under the SRA designation across the 9,000 acres creating a suburban pattern.  Transferring density creates a lot of open space and clusters the density in a core area.

Michele Muench, Arizona State Land Department (ASDL) pointed out for the record that this is not just the State’s plan. This is a Town initiated GP amendment that is being worked on by the State, the Town and Pima County. 

- What is proposed for the portion to the east of the Canada Del Oro (CDO) wash?
Response:  That area was dropped out of the conceptual land use plan.  Pima County has an application in to purchase that property, but it is on hold now.

- The Commissioner has signed off on the 2500 acres of open space with 0 dwelling units (du).  How does putting resorts in there fit into this open space? 
Response:  The resort site of 80 acres is not part of the open space count.  It is a "floating" resort site and may be moved with the location to be determined later.

- Does the RLDR with 80% open space include individual residential lots?
Response:  The public open space has not been defined yet.  Negotiations are going on with Pima County.  Most of the 80% area will be undevelopable.  Public park, common area, or within a lot under a conservation easement could be used.

- There is concern about proper maintenance of open space that is privately owned.
Response:  There will likely be some kind of management not under a HOA.

- The Oro Valley GP makes a distinction between open space and natural open space.  At the Public Hearing will the Commission be able to tell how much is natural and how much is recreational?
Response:  We will try to have some parameters for a clearer understanding.

Ms. More stated we are reliant on the other partners in this planning process.  The level of information will be greater in the September public hearing rather than in July. 

- The County is putting together their purchase proposal.  Who would pay for that purchase?
Response: Bond money has been approved to purchase Tortolita Mountain Park, so there would be no added expense. It will go to public auction however.

- How was the 400 acres of Commerce Office Park arrived at?  
Response: They were trying to provide some balance.  Number of jobs projected is about 5,200. 

- How is the COP acreage split between the upper and lower area?
Response:  Probably 2/3 to the north and 1/3 to the south. 

- Where did the 6 jobs per acre come from and should it be adjusted down?
Response:  The number came from transportation modeling with in terms of land use and jobs/housing balance.

- In terms of jobs, aside from COP and resort jobs, will others be local service type jobs?
Response:  Most likely incubator type, small business, etc. The number of jobs is on the low end.

- How does the 2.4 people per residential unit compare to Oro Valley now?
Ms. More replied that it is consistent with current household in Oro Valley and Tucson metro area as a whole.

- What will the mix of housing units be, i.e., SFR vs. apartments, etc.?
Response:  That information will be available for the next meeting.

- Is it anticipated that the residential areas will be sold off individually or as a whole?
Response:  The disposition is unknown at this point. 

Michele Muench stated a disposition plan is not being looked at yet.  The GP amendment, preannexation development agreement and annexation need to be gone through first. Then a detailed plan needs to be done, which will determine what the disposition plan will be.

- Expand on Village Center.
Response:  It is intended to be mixed use with retail, homes, and employment all in close proximity. 

- Is a study on a wildlife corridor underway?
Response: Yes, a technical committee has been assembled to address that issue.

- How much time do we have before the zoning code, design guidelines, etc., have to be in place regarding the Village Center designation?
Response:  You have the ability to do that under a Planned Area Development.
Ms. More said establishing zoning would be prior to the sale. It is anticipated work will be started on the zoning aspect as soon as the GP is adopted, if not sooner. 

- On page 75, last paragraph, what does "concurrency policy" mean?
Response:  What is proposed and how infrastructure will be accommodated for those land uses. 


Mr. Deans said page 70 shows traffic projections.  Oracle Road will not be able to accommodate projected growth, so there needs to be an alternate route.  ADOT is doing studies on that. 

Paul Keesler, Public Works, stated there isn’t a simple answer to Oracle Road.  With or without AG, Oracle Road has and will have problems in the future.  Alternate routes and multimodal transportation are being examined.  Controlled growth helps mitigate transportation woes, i.e., Village Center internal capture. 

Questions/comments from Commissioners and responses:

- Concerned about a statement on page 43 regarding the levels of service D being accepted, and there being no proposal of what to do. The capture rate seems too optimistic.  Trip generation seems too low.

- Do trips include anticipated growth in Pinal County?
Response:  It is only existing numbers now.  No estimate on how much worse it will become.

Mr. Keesler said ADOT and Pinal County are studying this. 

- Regarding the possible extension of La Cholla or other roads north, are environmental impacts necessary to sustain relief from Oracle? 
Mr. Keesler stated that the sensitivity of the Tortolitas is being recognized and reviewed at a statewide level.
Ms. More responded that linking north alternatives are under discussion.  On the alternate modes issue, within the Regional Transportation Plan (RTA) there is additional money for the Town for a park and ride lot, Oro Valley Marketplace will be putting in a transit center, and there will be extended bus service with circulator routes.  The applicant will have their traffic consultant come to the public hearing.

- Will this document be part of the new conceptual plan?
Ms. More responded it will be part of the GP.  The first 2/3 of the document is background and not part of the GP.  It is part of the application. This will be made clear.

- Is there a contingency plan in the event the voter initiative passes?
MIchele Muench stated they are still trying to formulate what those plans would be if the initiative passes.  It has been discussed, but nothing has been put together.  We will try to have the question answered, but it is up to the Commissioner.  


Adjourn Study Session

MOTION:    Vice Chair Bergman MOVED to adjourn the study session. Commissioner Paolino seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5:0.

Meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.