Qwest plan upsets residents
Nick Smith/The Explorer A new building may soon join the Qwest facility at Cortaro Farms and Hartman roads, a move that nearby homeowners worry will negatively impact property values and traffic.

Mark Sprouls can see a plot of desert land from the front window of the Cortaro Ranch development near Cortaro Farms Road and Interstate 10.

But a new addition to the nearby Qwest facility could change that.

“My real question to them is, ‘Why build here when it’s 150 feet from my door?” Sprouls said.

Sprouls, himself a Qwest customer, is worried that the expansion will hurt the value of his house and cause increased traffic along Harman Road, which divides the Cortaro Ranch from the current Qwest facility.

“We are circulating a petition to at least get homeowners’ signatures on this side of the Cortaro Ranch housing area… stating that are essentially against the rezoning and the construction of the expanded Qwest buildings,” Sprouls said, hoping he can collect at least 50 signatures in time for Wednesday’s rezoning meeting.

The central office already in place routs phone calls and information everywhere from Casa Grande to north of the Tucson Mall to San Manuel, said Qwest spokesman Jeff Mirasola.

The new facility planned just north of the central office will be a kind of way station for Qwest employees, providing a place to receive new assignments as well as locker and shower facilities.

Many of the 275 or so homes in Cortaro Ranch are valued in the low $200,000s to a little more than $300,000.

“The real hangup is it’s hard to locate similar deals,” Sprouls said, his own house currently valued by the Pima County Assessors Office at $213,172.

The vicinity of residential houses to surrounding areas has an impact on property values.

“You always have some commercial near some residential, that’s just normal. Typically the homes that are right next to the commercial development, I mean abutting it, typically they go for less simply because they’re next to commercial,” said Pete Hutchinson, a real estate agent with Long Realty.

However, the fact that a road separates the housing development from the planned expansion lessons the impact on property value.

“If it’s across the street, I don’t see how its going to affect it unless its going to make the traffic flow on the street increase greatly,” Hutchinson said.

Qwest service trucks and vans already access Hartman Road to travel in and out of the facility.

“(Our) secondary concern is an increase in the number of vehicles to an already congested intersection, although the recent Marana traffic studies show that traffic does flow OK there, nevertheless, Qwest service vehicles will have to cross Hartman in order to access Cortaro (Road),” Sprouls said.

Qwest officials are trying to rezone three parcels of land, totaling 5.78 acres, thus paving the way for construction on the new building.

When it was grandfathered into the town, the Qwest central office on the northwest corner of Cortaro Farms and Hartman roads was zoned residential. The telecommunications company wants that 1.17-acre facility to change to commercial zoning, along with a 2.6-acre swath of land directly north, for its expansion.

A house occupies a third space of land, even though the 2.01 acres it sits on is not residential land.

“It’s just easier to make the zoning application altogether,” Mirasola said, adding that the company has no interest in the area the house sits on.

Marana’s Planning and Zoning Commission will first review the proposed rezoning on May 28. If it gets the go-ahead from that board, it needs to go before the Town Council before it becomes official.

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