Town Council Study Session
October 22, 2008
CALL TO ORDER - 5:30 p.m.


Paul Loomis, Mayor
Al Kunisch, Vice Mayor
Paula Abbott, Council Member
K.C. Carter, Council Member
Barry Gillaspie, Council Member
Bill Garner, Council Member
Salette Latas, Council Member

Council Member Gillaspie arrived at 5:40 p.m.

There being no objections, Mayor Loomis changed the order of the Agenda as follows: Item C, D, B and A.


Review of proposed General Plan amendments and the process to date. The amendments will be considered in a public hearing by Town Council on November 19, 2008

Planning and Zoning Administrator Sarah More reviewed the background for the General Plan amendments and explained that State law requires cities/towns to accept proposals for major plan amendments once a year and that those proposals be presented to the Council for consideration within the same year as submitted.  She further reported that all of the proposed amendments have met the requirements for the major plan amendment process.

Ms. More further explained that the proposed Oracle/Hardy General Plan amendment has been changed to a minor amendment as the applicant has changed their request and reduced the size of the acreage.  She then noted that the criteria for adoption of a General Plan amendment is that it is sustainable, it contributes to the socio-economic benefit of the community while achieving community and environment compatibility, it reflects market demand which leads to viability, it does not adversely impact the community unless there is an acceptable means of mitigating the impacts and that conditions have changed in the community. 


OV11-08-05 The Town of Oro Valley, in conjunction with the Arizona State Land Department and CommunityByDesign, initiated a General Plan Amendment for the Arroyo Grande Planning Area and an extension of the Urban Services Boundary. The area is bounded on the south by the Town limits, on the east by Oracle Road, on the north by the Pima/Pinal County Line, and on the west by the Tortolita Mountain Park

Planning and Zoning Director Sarah More reviewed the background for the Arroyo Grande General Plan amendment.  She explained that the Town has been working in cooperation with the Arizona State Land Department for approximately 2 1/2 years on this item.  She highlighted the following:
 ~ The area is outside the Town’s Urban Services Boundary (USB) but is within the Town’s General Plan area.
 ~ It would increase the Town’s size by approximately 50%.
 ~ Process originally looked into expanding into Pinal County but was scaled back.  
  ~ Looked at plan for quality growth, economic development and environmental preservation. 
 ~ Pima County worked with the Town on Open Space and cultural resource policies.
 ~ Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval.  
 ~ Commercial employment centers, residential development and significant wildlife corridors are all addressed in the plan. 
 ~ Issues studied: traffic circulation and impact on Oracle Road, preservation and size of wildlife corridors, adequate commercial employment centers and residential development.
 ~ Policies created to protect the community and to address the community’s concerns. 

Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chair Clark Reddin reported the following:
 ~ The Commission unanimously approved the proposed General Plan amendment.
 ~ The Commission felt that it was important to have a master planned community.
 ~ The plan integrates a large portion to commercial to provide an employment base, creates over 60% open space and provides a balance for economic sustainability. 
 ~ Commission recommends that the Town work with residents on the east side of Oracle Road that are not part of the plan.
  ~ Hope that the Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) ordinance is finalized for use during this process. 

Michele Muench, Arizona State Land Department, commented that they were excited by the cooperative efforts and regional planning on this plan.  Ms. Muench commented that there was still a lot of work to be done but State Land was committed to the process.

Discussion followed regarding:
 ~ Transportation and future widening of Oracle Road and Interstate 10 (Pinal County Comprehensive Plan addresses future widening of I-10).
 ~ Protection of environmental and cultural aspects.
 ~ Pygmy Owl listing (would not impact Arroyo Grande planning area).
 ~ Job creation.
 ~ Adequate schools (School Facilities Board pay for construction of new schools, developers normally dedicate land).
 ~ Wastewater facilities under Pima County jurisdiction. 
 ~ Renewable water supply.
 ~ Community Facility Districts (CFD) are special taxing districts designed to serve a particular area and become a lien on the property. 
 ~ Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star standards would apply to commercial structures and residential dwellings 3,000 square feet or larger in size.  LEED-ND (Neighborhood Design) standards will apply to the Planning Area. (LEED-ND is in the pilot phase). 
 ~ Special Area Plan policies become part of the General Plan.  (Revised draft of Arroyo Grande Special Area Plan Policies will be presented to the Council for the November 19th Regular meeting).
 ~ Provide an integration of Pinal County’s Comprehensive Plan with the Arroyo Grande General Plan amendment so that the Council has a comprehensive look at what is being planned.
 ~ Provide all letters submitted by Pima County in chronological sequence.

Mayor Loomis recessed the meeting at 6:25 p.m.  The meeting resumed at 6:32 p.m.


OV11-07-02 Hawk Holdings, LLC, represented by The WLB Group, requests approval of a General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation from Rural Low Density Residential (RLDR) to Low Density Residential (LDR) and extend the Urban Services Boundary for approximately 127 acres located west of Kingair Drive and south of W. Tortolita Circle in an area known as Stone Canyon 9

Senior Planner Karen Berchtold reviewed an overhead site map for the area known as Stone Canyon 9.  She explained that the General Plan amendment request was to change the General Plan land use designation from Rural Low Density Residential (RLDR) to Low Density Residential (LDR1) and to extend the Urban Services Boundary to incorporate the project area (proposal changed from 127 acres to 107 acres).  She explained that the proposal includes an extension of water, wastewater and roadway infrastructure.

Ms. Berchtold then reviewed the following:
1) Community and environmental compatibility.
2) Mitigation tools: rezoning, plat (density, transition, preservation of views, designation of significant resource areas).
3) La Cholla Airpark (plan modified to address concerns expressed by Airpark).
4) Trail access and planning (land swap being identified to better accommodate trailhead and facilities).

Discussion followed regarding:
 ~ La Cholla Airpark (parcels within the Compatible Use Zone C (CUZC) and the flight path)
 ~ Land swap for trailhead and accessibility issues (Pima County and Oro Valley Parks and Recreation departments are looking into outside funding to help with access).

Paul Oland, The WLB Group, representing the applicant, reviewed the changes and access for the proposed trailhead.  He commented that the CUZC has been modified in the La Cholla Airpark and that the building areas have been entirely removed from this area to accommodate safety concerns and specifications.  In response to questions from the Council, Mr. Oland explained: the roads are private roads (no County or Town right-of-ways); the area would remain Rural Low Density even with the removal of the CUZC; and if the General Plan amendment is successful, the applicant would follow-up with a Planned Area Development (PAD) amendment to bring this area in line with the Rancho Vistoso PAD and to incorporate it in with Stone Canyon.

Further discussion followed regarding the proposed trailhead, access and trail connection as listed in the Eastern Pima County Trails Master Plan, access through Tortolita Park and the proposed trail is for non-motorized recreation (foot, bicycle, horse). 

In response to a request by Council, Planning and Zoning Director Sarah More stated that staff will arrange site tours for any and all General Plan amendment areas.


OV11-08-04 Vistoso Partners represented by The WLB Group, requests approval of a General Plan Amendment for portions of Rancho Vistoso Neighborhood 5, generally bounded on the north by Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, on the east by the Big Wash, on the south by Tangerine Road, and on the west by the Rancho Vistoso Boulevard

Senior Planner Matt Michaels reviewed the proposed General Plan Land Use for Rancho Vistoso Neighborhood 5 and highlighted the following: 
~ Redesignation and realignment of residential areas.
~ Planning and Zoning Commission recommend lowering the dwelling units per acre from 8 to 6.
~ Soft buffer edge on eastern limits would create a transitional area between the riparian and residential areas.
~ Proposed golf course has been eliminated.
~ Added 144 acres of preserved Open Space.
~ Relocation of school site.
~ Elimination of Moore Road extension.
~ Condition adds a developed park area.

Paul Oland, The WLB Group, representing the applicant, reviewed the proposed amendment and the proposed density.  He explained that Neighborhood 5 was originally approved for approximately 3,600 units and they are proposing a maximum of 1,978 units or about 50% of the original entitlement.

Mr. Oland then reviewed overhead site maps depicting the General Plan amendment request and the proposed Planned Area Development (PAD) amendment.  He further reviewed the dedicated Open Space and the soft edge buffer between developed areas and natural open space.  He stated that they propose to locate erosion protection into the area originally proposed as a golf course.

Further discussion followed regarding:
~ Soft edge buffer area - better define the area that is currently identified as "golf course" and encroachment into Open Space.
~ Dedicate western edge of Honey Bee Wash as Open Space to provide an adequate corridor for trail access and wildlife (provided as a condition by the Planning and Zoning Commission).
~ Sewer line placement and connections/lift stations.
~ Trails/multi-use paths provided throughout Rancho Vistoso.  Gates are only placed as required by the WAPA line.
~ Golf course proposed in original plan - New proposal will leave most of this area as natural Open Space; Golf course is less viable than development impact fees from new homes; Market factors diminish the need for another golf course.


OV11-08-02 Skyline Ridge LLC, represented by The WLB Group, requests approval of a Minor General Plan Amendment from low density residential to neighborhood commercial/office, located in proximity to the southwest corner of Oracle Road and Hardy Road

Senior Planner David Ronquillo reviewed a location map of the 4.7 acre project site located on the southwest corner of Oracle Road and Hardy Road.  He reported that the minor General Plan amendment request was to change density from  Low Density Residential 1 (LDR1) to Neighborhood Commercial.  Mr. Ronquillo then reviewed three key issues as follows:
~ Land Use compatibility (location is on Oracle Road and next to higher density properties).  
~ Significant Resource Area (SRA) (vegetation, riparian area, wash).
~ Mitigation measures (buffer areas for homes to the west). 

Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chair Clark Reddin stated that the Commission was supportive of the application.  He stated that preserving the wash in place, providing the buffer area and having the Oracle Road Scenic Corridor Overlay District (ORSCOD) in place defines the developable envelope of this property.  He said that he felt that this amendment would benefit the corridor and is the best application for this property.

Discussion followed regarding:
~ SRA and Environmental Assessment - not completed at this time and is based on preliminary analysis by staff.  An Environmental Specialist will help define boundaries of wash and other significant areas.  (Environmental assessment would be required by the rezoning application).
~ Drainage of property.

Paul Oland, The WLB Group, representing the applicant explained that the southern edge of this property would be further defined by the hydrological analysis and an environmental analysis.  He explained that a Planning and Zoning Commission condition has provided a 50-foot buffer on the western property line.  He addressed the access to the property and also explained that ORSCOD provides that the drainage channel remain natural.  Mr. Oland further explained that they can not provide a more detailed plan until the rezoning process takes place.  He also stated that this amendment would make this a more marketable, viable property. 


MOTION: A motion was made by Council Member Carter and seconded by Vice Mayor Kunisch to adjourn at 8:15 p.m.

MOTION carried, 7-0.