Christina Vanoverbeke, CVanoverbeke@ExplorerNews.com
Nov. 9, 2005 - Two large retailers will soon be calling Oro Valley home: Kohl's and Wal-Mart Neighbor-hood Market.
A Kohl's is being built in the Oracle Crossings shopping plaza, on Oracle Road south of Magee.
The WLB Group, which represents the development company B.P. Magee, went before the council on Nov. 2 to ask for an amendment to the original development plan that would allow construction of the large department store.
The amendment eliminates two pads and reduces the size of two major stores planned for the development.
The amendment was OK'd 6 to 0, with Counilwoman Paula Abbott absent. However, the council did express concern that a cross access with the shopping center to the north, Entrada del Oro, was eliminated with the amendment.
Other stores that will be in the plaza include a Peter Piper Pizza, a brake shop, a bank and a grocery store.
In discussing plans for the Kohl's, the developer announced that a Wal-Mart market is coming to the adjacent Entrada del Oro plaza.
Dennis St. John, representing the project, said at the council meeting that a 41,000 square foot Wal-mart Neighborhood Market will be moving into the space left vacant earlier this year when Fry's grocery store closed its doors.
A major renovation of the Entrada del Oro plaza had been discussed earlier this year to coincide with the construction of the neighboring plaza, but St. John said money issues got in the way of those plans. Instead, Entrada del Oro will be getting a make-over with some fresh paint and landscaping.
In other business, the council approved plans for the Canyon del Oro Baptist Church, 9200 N. Oracle Road, to begin a major renovation project that will span the next 10 years.
The master plan for the church to expand and update its facade was approved 5 to 1.
The church is growing and needs more classrooms and a bigger sanctuary, according to church representatives.
The church sits on 15 acres, and the eastern half of the site, which runs up against the Coronado National Forest, will remain untouched by the new construction.
The church is planning a 600-seat sanctuary, new adult and children's classrooms, a fellowship hall, expanded parking and more.
The appearance also will be updated from what architects describe as a "neogothic mission-style" to a softer tan with green accents that will blend in better with the surroundings and soften the view from Oracle Road.
Vice Mayor Barry Gillaspie lives in a neighborhood near the church and thanked church representatives for the plan, which he said unifies the look of the church.
Councilman Terry Parish raised concerns however, about the church having to pay fees to sever its service from Tucson Water and hook on to Oro Valley water.
As a condition of the renovation plan, the church is being asked to make the switch to Oro Valley water, which will be able to provide more water faster to the larger church.
While the church budgeted $56,000 for the costs associated with switching service, it did not know it would have to pay fees to Tucson for cutting off service with its water department.
Water Utility Director Phillip Saletta said the fees are required under an agreement between Oro Valley and Tucson and include items such as recouping part of the cost for running the water line to the church and the lost revenue from losing the church as a customer.
Saletta estimated the possible cost to the church at around $10,000, but said Tucson could choose to charge no severance fees.
Parish said he thinks if there are costs involved with the severance, they should be paid by the town, which is forcing a condition on the church to switch water providers.
The council agreed, with the exception of Mayor Paul Loomis.
The intersection at La Cholla Boulevard and Glover Road with be improved this year, after the council approved the project 6 to 0.
Improvements will include the construction of left turn lanes for north, south and eastbound traffic as well as the addition of a traffic light.
A traffic and safety study was conducted earlier this year by Kittleson and Associates which found that the one lane at the intersection now carries about 7,100 vehicles per day. Most of that traffic comes from La Cholla and turns west onto Glover Road toward two nearby schools.