J.D. Fitzgerald/Tucson Local Media

Though there is still much work to be done, the Town of Oro Valley took a step towards northern annexations during the July 5 regular council session.

By unanimous approval, council initiated a general plan amendment process to extend the planning boundary for a master-planned community to 302 acres between North Shannon Road and North Coyote Crossing and West Tangerine Road, as well as adding a land-use designation. The land is part of a larger state land annexation, which includes the land known as Tangerine 550.

Although the town is making significant progress in the annexation, Oro Valley Assistant Town Manager Chris Cornelison said there is a lot of work left to do for both the town and the state. 

“The town is interested in annexation for several reasons, one being that healthy growth within a jurisdiction sets us up for a sustainable community,” he said. “Annexing these state-owned properties also affords Oro Valley the opportunity to sit at the table in shaping the zoning and developments for these properties, which allows us to ensure it is within our long-range planning vision.

The town will need to go through the general plan amendment process for the northern section voted on last week by council, create a pre-annexation development agreement with the state for the 550 parcel, develop a planned area development proposal or specific zoning requirements and standards for both properties, all before council considers the annexation. If approved by council, Cornelison said translational zoning will be required to change the existing zoning designations of both properties from Pima County zoning to the town’s equivalent zoning. A rezoning will then be processed to change the translational zoning designations to the Planned Area Development for both properties.

Afterwards, the state will evaluate the proposal to make a recommendation on the annexation request to the State Land Commissioner. Should the commissioner approve the annexation request and pre-annexation development agreement, the request will then go to the State Selection Board (Governor, Attorney General and State Treasurer) for consideration and approval, which will serve as one of the last steps to the annexation.

Council’s action last week only pertains to the approximately 302-acre parcel, which was not currently within the Town of Oro Valley Planning Boundary. Council’s direction to initiate a Type I General Plan Amendment allows staff to begin the process of extending the planning boundary to include the parcel, as well as potentially add a land use designation of Master Planned Community, which would be similar to the existing designation on the Tangerine 550 property. 

Cornelison said that staff will now go through the same process as any general plan amendment, including a formal written application, neighborhood meetings and public hearings, allowing residents the opportunity to provide input and comment on future land uses for the area.

“The town of Oro Valley is landlocked,” said Mayor Satish Hiremath. “Either we grow through developed areas of annexation, or we annex raw land…For the town of Oro Valley, this is immeasurable. This is land that we can grow into.”

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