July 15, 2008

Call to Order at 4:06 p.m.


Roll Call

Present:  Chair Doug McKee
Vice Chair Teree Bergman
Commissioner Bill Adler
Commissioner Clark Reddin
Commissioner Joe Hornat
Commissioner Scott Merry (via telephone conference call)

Excused:  Commissioner Ray Paolino

Also Present:  Vice Mayor Al Kunisch
K.C. Carter Council Member
Sarah More, Planning and Zoning Director
Paul Keesler, Development Review Manager
Joe Andrews, Town Attorney
David Ronquillo, Senior Planner


Public Hearing: Skyline Ridge LLC., represented by The WLB Group, requests approval of a General Plan Amendment for the property located in proximity to the southwest corner of Oracle Road and Hardy Road, (OV11-08-02).

David Ronquillo, Senior Planner, gave the staff report.

Questions and comments from Commissioners and staff response:

- A key aspect of this proposal is this parcel would be combined with the parcel to the north so there would be a unified development on a larger parcel.  What assurance do we have that those two parcels will be combined?
Response:  The intent, when dealing with rezoning, is to have the applicant provide a master plan and concept plan showing how the overall site will look.  There are no assurances, but we can work towards that in the process.

- Does the same owner have both properties?
Response: Applicant indicated yes.

- The General Plan (GP) land use map shows the Significant Resource Area (SRA) overlay over the entire property, not just the wash.  In order to increase the density some of the SRA would be removed. An environmental analysis of the property is needed to know if the SRA is accurate and legitimate.  By the September hearing the Commission will be looking for a more complete analysis.

- The staff report talks about the proposal moving property from Rural Low Density (RLD) to Neighborhood Commercial and Office (NHC/Office), but also shows C-1.  Will part of the property be C-1, or a combination of both?  Clarify by the September meeting.

- Is the property behind this parcel and to the west and south the same ownership? 
Response:  The applicant can answer that, but the property directly behind is not. 

- If the amendment is not passed, how many single family residences could be built on the property?
Response: Per the existing zoning of Low Density Residential and Medium Density Residential, and depending on how the property would be rezoned, approximately 10 to 25 homes could be built on the entire 5.9 acres.

Ms. More clarified a point that was raised earlier: to distinguish between the GP designations for NHC/Office and the zoning categories of NHC and C-1, those 2 zoning categories are enabled by a GP designation of NHC/Office.  During the rezoning process is when it is determined which zoning is appropriate. 

Paul Oland, the WLB Group, representing the applicant, gave a brief presentation.  An existing constraint on the property, that will remain regardless of rezoning, is that it is in the Oracle Road Scenic Corridor Overlay District (ORSCOD).

- Mr. Oland was asked to address the unified planning and zoning of the two parcels. 
Response:  If the GP amendment is approved the applicant would follow up with a C-1 rezoning request for the remainder of the property on Oracle.  The piece behind the property is under the same ownership.  Because of the wash it is difficult to access the remaining developable property in the back.  The property along Oracle is planned to be developed all together.  They are trying to include as much of the upper portion of the property as a biological study would allow during a future rezoning.

Questions and comments from the Commissioners and applicant’s response:
- Would the southern most portion of the property be untouched?  How many acres are developable of the 5.9 acres?
Response:  Do not know the answer.  A study has not been done yet.  Having done a site resource inventory they believe there is some developable property that could be lumped in with the rest of the property.  The very bottom portion is not covered by SRA so could be developed, but would be hard to get to.

- Is there a market demand for more hotels and associated retail services?
Response: The stronger case can be made that there is no demand for LDR along Oracle Road; therefore, there is more demand for commercial. Brokerage firms consulted have indicated there is demand that will grow for non-residential uses being proposed.  We have confirmed that there is no demand for LDR at that location.
- Have the brokerage firms write a letter indicating that there is a demand.

- Given that there are other hotels on drawing boards, it should be taken into consideration how they would impact the boutique hotel.
- It is not appropriate to look at this request in terms of a use, but to look at the whole range of uses that might go there. 

- Regarding criterion #4, adverse impact on community as a whole, there is a concern about future traffic planning.  Combining these properties may be an opportunity to have an access from Hardy instead of from Oracle.
Response:  To clarify, this is regarding conditions based upon parcels of the amendment only. 

Paul Keesler added that the conditions are based upon the parcels being addressed for the amendment only.  If it were to be combined we would want access off of Hardy as well to help relieve the access on Oracle.  If it is developed as a stand alone piece we don’t want access from the residential street to the south.  The conditions could be modified provided we get the assurance that the parcels be developed together.

- We are permitted to add conditions to specify uses that are appropriate.  When we are considering a commercial use in this property we are taking into consideration the variety of uses permitted, and those that would achieve environmental as well as community compatibility and limit our recommendation of approval to those.  This would reduce the scope of permitted uses within the designation approved.

- Can the above decisions be made at a GP amendment or only at a rezoning level? 
Ms. More would discourage that as a general rule, because part of the process is at each level of analysis, i.e. GP, Rezoning, Tentative Development Plan to Development Plan.  It is offered by applicants to assure the community, but typically is done at the rezoning stage.

Commissioner Merry had no questions via the telephone conference line.  He signed off at 5:05 p.m.

PUBLIC HEARING opened at 5:02 p.m.

Alan Binney, resident, encouraged no rezoning in the absence of assurances of what is going to be done.  If upzoning is approved, only approve for businesses for higher paying jobs.  We should preserve some of the areas we have left rather than going to completely commercial.

Michele Milenaky, resident.  Any discussion regarding change should consider increased setbacks, landscape buffers, loss of views, building heights, and drainage issues.  The property is for sale.  Asked whether water access will be coming from south or through her property on the cul-de-sac.  From the south it goes through the wash and riparian area.

Steve Lampi, resident, was concerned about traffic, as there is one entrance and exit to their development, with 160 cars that go in and out all the time.  The development will add more traffic problems.  Access should be off Hardy.

Anne Kashishin, resident, was concerned with the potential of a hotel near an open high school plan.  The traffic situation is a concern. Have received no answer on the intersection at Hardy and Linda Vista. Suggests doctor’s offices or day care center for senior citizens. 

Carmen Trevizo, resident, is opposed to the rezoning.  Consider that it is residential to the west, north and south.  Would like to know what is going in there ahead of time, unless restrictions are added.  Opposed to a hotel, which isn’t compatible with the area.

Branwen Hall, resident, is opposed to the changes, because it is not in line with the surroundings.  There may be archaeological sites there.  As a resident it is uncomfortable to not know what will be put there. 

Jim Spoonamore, resident, is opposed to the change to the GP. A boutique hotel does not make sense.  There are 10 hotels within a 4 mile radius.

Robert Turnbull, resident, is concerned about drainage.  The southern part of the property is not developable because there is not room for access off Oracle Road.  The area to the south and the wash should be taken out of the rezoning.

Stanley Lewin, resident, agreed with Mr. Turnbull.  The proposal violates the spirit and intent of the policy that was adopted in June, 2005.  There is no market demand.  The proposal adversely impacts the community by turning Oracle Road into a strip mall.  The traffic problem will be evident coming out of commercial onto Oracle, as people will be turning onto Greenfield looking for an escape route.

Kevin Harring, resident.  Traffic is a huge problem already.  If a hotel is built, there will be a restaurant and more traffic.  The applicant is looking for a way to get consistent zoning to be able to sell it. 

Patrick Foley, resident, was undecided, but is now against.  Agrees that they are looking to sell the property.  With any develop proposed there needs to be a thorough study on Hardy, which is currently below standards. 

PUBLIC HEARING closed at 5:25 p.m.

Continued questions from Commissioners and response:

- Who provides water behind the property now?
Response: Tucson Water, billed through Oro Valley Water.

- Is it certain that Tucson Water will not be able to provide water for adequate fireflow?
Response:  That is the applicant’s understanding.  The area is with Tucson Water service.  If Tucson can’t provide adequate fireflow, Oro Valley Water can. 

- Does that mean Oro Valley will also serve the residents to the west?
Attorney Andrews stated that Oro Valley Water would not serve them until the Town made that decision.
Applicant responded that his understanding of the agreement is based strictly upon Tucson Water being able to provide fireflow.  The water line would be extended from the north down Oracle Rd. 

Break from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.


Public Hearing: Shannon Road Properties LLC., represented by The Planning Center, requests approval of a General Plan Amendment and change to include the property in the Town’s Urban Services Boundary for the property located in proximity to the southeast corner of Shannon Road and Naranja Road, (OV11-08-08).

David Ronquillo, Senior Planner, gave the staff report and PowerPoint presentation.

Questions and comments from Commissioners and staff’s response:

- The PowerPoint slide on Environmental Protection showed three blue oblongs as the buildable area.  Is that correct?
Response:  Based on a preliminary layout, these were the general areas the applicant is proposing to develop. 

- Years ago the entire property was envisioned to be dedicated as a park by Pima County.  When annexed the closest zoning was adopted.  Did the County not zone as a park?
Response: At the time of annexation the County didn’t have a formal plan to build a park.  When annexed zoning was translated to R1-144.
Ms. More stated it is not typical in zoning to have park zoning.  Most parks, because they are government owned and operated, are in any zone.  The County did not have a park zoning.
Attorney Andrews stated the property was zoned SR before it was annexed and then was translated to R1-144.

- One comment letter talked about an old Oracle stagecoach road.  This needs to be discussed at next hearing. 

- Page 6, 1st paragraph, second sentence, explain why the development would maintain the same low density character of the area by establishing larger lots. 
Response: Larger lots would fit more with the surrounding area.

- Page 7 at bottom of page, what does 2:1 or 4:1 land conservation mean?   
Response: It is a ratio.  There are two categories, multiple use management area or special species management area. Example:  If it falls under the special species management area, it would be a 4:1 land conservation, so for every acre that would be developed, 4 acres would have to be preserved.
Ms. More  said the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) is implemented through the Conservation Land System.  Depending on the classification of the land in the plan area, the amount of developable area and open space on the site is recommended.  It should be 66+% open space to 75% open space on this site. This is more restrictive than what the Town’s zoning code would require. Town Council has requested staff bring the SDCP forward for consideration. 

- Has the Town adopted the SDCP or is it an overlay?
Ms. More said the Town has not adopted this.  The plan has been sent out to all local jurisdictions for a 60 day review per State law. The review comments will be provided as part of the analysis for adoption.

- The SDCP is in the GP, so it is not only adopted, but more will be done to implement the plan. 
Ms. More said in 1999 the Town Council did adopt a resolution supporting most of SDCP.  Town did not incorporate that Conservation Land System, but they did adopt in principal a resolution of support.  The implementation piece was never done.

- Would R1-72 work for clustering in the areas indicated as being developable?
Response:  Staff has had preliminary conversation with the applicant and the applicant submitted a rough draft of what they envision as a good cluster design. Code doesn’t have anything addressing cluster design.  The applicant is incorporating it as a method of environmental preservation and in an attempt to meet the SRA objective. Staff would support the design layout the applicant submitted.

- The increasing density does not meet the SRA objective.
Response: It would be an attempt to meet, but would not meet, the objective of the SRA.

- There are no guidelines for clustering in the zoning code, so how can it be considered at this point?
Response:  A design is established with clustering designed away from significant vegetation, washes, etc. 
Ms. More stated the only cluster revisions in the Code are enabled through the riparian ordinance.  There is not a cluster provision with regard to significant stands of non-riparian vegetation.  Clustering could be enabled in zoning (current or future) based on riparian preservation.  The question comes back to the SRA designation and the zoning, because of the clustering provisions not being there, it is either a choice of not supporting a GP amendment, or supporting a rezoning that would allow smaller lots with the intent of providing additional open space preservation. 

-  To clarify, isn’t work being done on ESLO providing a condition for clustering?
Ms. More believes it should. 

Bob Conant, The Planning Center, representing the applicant, gave his report.   

Questions and comments from Commissioners and Applicant’s response:

- How will the washes be crossed?
Response:  Box culverts and pipes. A full hydrology study has not been done at this stage.

- How will the southern boundary be separated?
Response:  Dense vegetation will be left in place.

- Regarding findings of fact #1, changes that have taken place in community, that sustainability is a more prevalent force and $4 gasoline has become a reality, explain how this is site specific to the request.
Response:  There has been a change and we are changing with it.  This will be explained at the next meeting.

- Economic viability doesn’t support that issue.
Response:  This has not looked at it in depth.  The market is probably 2 or 3 years out. 

- Be more specific to product type.
Response:  The trend is to smaller rather than larger lots, and is a price and land driven issue.

- How many lots are on the conceptual site plan?
Response:  48 lots, which won’t go higher, but may go as low as 44-45 lots.  Detention basins have not been dealt with yet.  This has not gone to the hydrologist and engineers.

- Regarding clusters, the size looks larger than what was on staff’s slide.
Response:  That is a matter of agreeing where the significant vegetation is.

- Would like to see copies of the resident’s letters.  

- Does this tentative outline work well with .4 units per acre as opposed to 1.2?
Response:  No.  From an environmental standpoint what we have done in this design is far superior to what could be achieved under the current code.

- Expand on how and why it is far superior by the next meeting.

PUBLIC HEARING opened at 6:40 p.m.

Michel Nelson, resident, representing neighbors Sharon Nelson, Joan Caplan, Bill Svetlik, and David and Nancy Eischeid. They are not supporting this, and their concerns were for: maintaining rural lifestyle, proposed zoning is 4 times as dense, environment, uniqueness of area, and SRA designation which protects saguaro, ironwood, riparian areas, and wildlife. The rural low density zoning met stringent Oro Valley standards.  Drainage is not consistent with undisturbed drainage patterns now flowing from this area through our properties in natural washes.  The neighborhood concensus is to retain the rural low density designation consistent with surrounding residential developments.  Asked that the Commission deny this change. 

Dr. Peter Mack, non-resident, will be greatly impacted by the development.  He pointed out an inaccuracy in the hydrology report, that the properties to south and west are indeed highly developed.  He was concerned about the number of units to go into the small area. The sewer at the east of property will require a large amount of excavation and will disrupt the natural vegetation. 

Steven Washburn, neighbor to the subject area, was concerned about the major wash on the northwest corner of the property which affects several properties.  There are drainage problems during rains.  The wash should be deeded to Oro Valley so the Town can control it.  He is concerned about safety of children at the bus stops on the west side because traffic has increased. The number of lots is a little dense.  Customer demand is to custom homes.

James Loughney, resident, pointed out that there is an old stage coach road and adobe ruins on the property.  What type of archaeological studies will be done?  Antiquities Act of 1906 says things like this should be preserved.  Also the SRA extends past areas where lot lines were indicated. 

Joseph Flemming, resident, had submitted a letter.  He is opposed because there isn’t a good plan in place.

Diane Wood, lives on Shannon Road across from the property. 3.3 is a good size and should be kept that way.

Nancy Ishy, neighbor, does not want to see a detention basin across from her home.  Putting homes in would make more light pollution.  Wants it to stay the way it is.

PUBLIC HEARING closed at 7:03 p.m.


Adjourn Special Session

MOTION:  Vice Chair MOVED to adjourn the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.  Commissioner Reddin seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5:0.  Meeting closed at 7:05 p.m.