A property owner who had asked for a change to the Oro Valley General Plan has pulled his request.
In a May 30 letter to Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Director Sarah More, lawyers for Marana farmers John and Herb Kai requested that the town remove the proposal from any further schedule of hearings. Herb Kai is also a member of the Marana Town Council.
“We just thought it would be best at this time not to get any deeper into this deal,” Kai said in an interview.
He had wanted the town to approve a change to land-use designations on his 271-acre property at the southeast corner of Tangerine Road and First Avenue.
Kai’s proposal angered residents in the area who expressed concerns that the changes would have had negative impacts on their property values, diminishing mountain views and decreasing the area’s open spaces.
In part, Kai’s request would have allowed for a greater concentration of homes.
The general plan currently allows up to 255 houses, spread across the property on one-acre lots. Kai proposed reducing the number of houses to 235, with denser development in the southern half of the property.
The eastbound and westbound thoroughfare Palisades Road roughly bisects the property.
More than 100 townspeople attended a May 1 neighborhood meeting, during which Kai’s representatives tried to explain the proposed amendment and answer questions.
“If we are going to have ‘campus park industrial,’ it doesn’t belong in a residential area,” said former councilwoman Helen Dankwerth, who spoke at the meeting.
Most the meeting’s attendees did not support the general plan amendment.
“It seemed like no one wanted to listen to the plan, and we just didn’t want to fight town hall,” Kai said.
The proposed change also included the possibility for industrial development on the northern portions of the property facing Tangerine Road.
Kai said the idea for that section was to provide a space for start-up businesses that would add to the town’s stable of high-tech companies.
“We thought it would be good to have some more $100,000-jobs in Oro Valley,” Kai said.
In the May 30 letter, the Kais thanked town officials and planning department workers for the “professional treatment” they displayed throughout the process.