Oro Valley Land

Due to the large amount of open space in the plan, the Oro Valley Town Council approved a streamlined process for a 120-lot housing development.

Courtesy Illustration

At the request of the WLB Group, the Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously to modify the review process for the Kai Naranja Development.

Councilmembers Bill Garner and Brendan Burns were not present during the July 2 meeting.

The 50-acre plot of land was rezoned along with a site plan by a unanimous vote in April to start the process and development of a 120-lot housing development. There were no speakers from the public during the April meeting.

Bayer Vella, the conservation and sustainability administrator for the town, made the request, which was submitted by Chad Daines of the Development Infrastructure Services (DIS).

Due the thoroughness of the process thus far by the developer, including public hearings and the rezoning process, town staff recommended the approval of the modified review process.

“All of the issues have been addressed and there would be no additional community benefit to having additional neighborhood meetings as well as public meetings,” Vella told the council. 

This streamlined process is enabled in the Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) section of the zoning code because the project includes “varying levels of open space and development standards aimed at conserving environmental, scenic and cultural resources,” according to the agenda item.

Vella said the project has well above the 25 percent requirement of open space, which in turn, the modified review process acts as a gift or incentive to developers to include open space, as long as they follow the submitted proposals exactly as stated.

In other business, the council voted 4-1, with Councilman Mike Zinkin voting no, to approve the modified proposal in spending $270,000 on a new building that will be constructed between the DIS building at the Oro Valley Public Library.

The modified proposal came with a motion from Councilwoman Mary Snider. She suggested that instead of taking $60,000 from the Benefit Self-Insurance Fund Reserves as planned, the town could take it from the General Fund Reserves.

“That is a reserve fund we’re attempting to build to accommodate any anticipated health claims that the town may experience under our self-insured plan,” Snider said.

The building is set to help alleviate space issues the DIS is experience with storage space, along with giving the Friends of the Oro Valley Library a location to store its books. The building will also be home to the town’s on-site health clinic, which is part of the town’s self-insurance plan it approved earlier this year. 

Zinkin opposed the motion claiming that the town already asked the council for money for the heath center.

“The budget was passed on May 21, to sit her on July 2 and ask ‘Oh, wow, $15,000 isn’t going to cover it. I need another $130,000.’ That’s not fair and that’s not right so I can’t support that.”

Town Manager Greg Caton told the council that he felt Zinkin was misrepresenting and mischaracterizing what the town staff has done and asked for.

Snider spoke in favor of the item saying that town has taken a good, cost-save measure in implementing a self-insurance program and that the town needs to be responsible for what it signed up for and should fund it, even if some of the costs seem unexpected.

She also said she believed the initial costs were for clinical and supply needs, rather than a building location, which Caton said was correct.

The 2,400-square-foot building will be a triple-wide modular building with a total funding of $270,000, which includes the purchases of a refurbished modular building, delivery, setup, exterior stuccoing, interior walls and improvements, site preparation, and utility connections.

The council voted to cancel the July 16 meeting. No council meetings are scheduled for August. The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Sept. 3.

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