Despite vocal opposition, the Marana Town Council approved the rezoning of a 103.2 acre portion the Lazy K Bar Ranch property opening the way for a 178 unit housing development.
The council approved the plan 4-2, with some caveats, including added protection of the open space to ensure that no further development is done on the property. Council members Carol McGorray and Patti Comerford voted against the plan. Council member Herb Kai was not present.
The lengthy meeting included 49 speakers, with 40 speaking in opposition to the plan. Of the nine who spoke in favor of the plan, just one identified themselves as a Marana resident, while several others were either Marana area business owners or owned property within the town.
The biggest complaint about the proposal was its proximity to Saguaro National Park and Sanctuary Cove. That area is a major wildlife corridor and the fear is the housing will disrupt animal migration.
Linda Morales of the Planning Center, who represents the landowners, said the move to smaller lots was made to provide more open space. She said larger, spread out lots, would actually make things more confusing for animals travelling through the area.
Lot size was another concern. Currently all of the adjacent properties sit on big lots, with many having three acres of property. The new design would average 1.29 homes per acre, but would actually have smaller lots because the design calls for the homes to be close together to preserve large uninterrupted open spaces.
Although the rezoning and specific plan were approved, the landowner does not have a builder and there is not timeframe to begin developing the land.
Please see the May 24 edition of the Marana News for a more detailed story on the vote.