Resort set near Saguaro Ranch - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Resort set near Saguaro Ranch

Town aims to protect wildlife-rich area in Tortolita Fan

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Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

For two years, development plans have put a resort and hotel area next to upscale residences at Dove Mountain. Now a resort may end up near Saguaro Ranch, another neighborhood on Marana’s tony northeast side, instead.

The town council earlier this month unanimously approved a resolution to rezone part of the area between the two developments — Tapestry Estates — to allow for resort and hotel development just west of Thornydale Road and north of the Thornydale roundabout, which is north of Moore Road.

Mayor Ed Honea and Councilman Russell Clanagan were absent.

The new zoning map bears resemblance to one established years ago, with an area for commercial and high-density residential development on the west side of Tapestry Estates and an area for resort and hotel development on the east side.

That plan — the Foothills Specific Plan — was amended in 2006 due to environmental and legislative concerns, said Frank Cassidy, the town attorney.

The 2006 amendment consolidated the two areas into one block, significantly lowered its density and placed it in the middle of Tapestry Estates.

The amendment’s aim was to “downzone” quickly before the passage of Proposition 207, which limited a government’s use of eminent domain and its ability to impose regulations or create zoning that might diminish property values, Cassidy said.

The town wanted future development in the area to be consistent with the luxury developments to its east and west — Saguaro Ranch and Dove Mountain — which have low-density zoning.

Also, Tapestry Estates is in the Tortolita Fan, which the town was trying to protect for wildlife.

The 2006 changes addressed both of those goals, but in the process, created a new concern for residents of Dove Mountain, Cassidy said.

The resulting acreage designated for resort and hotel development came within 200 feet of Dove Mountain residential property lines.

The revisions approved by the town council on Dec. 2 maintain the lower density levels set for Tapestry Estates in 2006, while moving the area zoned for resort and hotel development to a spot near the Saguaro Ranch boundary line.

Cassidy did not know of any established plans for developing the resort and hotel area, but he said its proximity to Saguaro Ranch should not cause problems.

The site is shielded from the Saguaro Ranch roundabout by two large hills.

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