OV wants to annex parcel at Tangerine
map by Brandon Hays/The Explorer, Oro Valley seeks to annex a parcel of state ground along Tangerine Road between Thornydale and the extension of Shannon. If it happens, Marana and Oro Valley would connect at their northern reaches.

A proposed annexation in the Northwest would bridge the gap between Marana and Oro Valley.

Town of Oro Valley officials have begun preliminary planning for an annexation of Arizona State Land Department property along — and including — Tangerine Road.

If the town succeeds in its effort, the area would connect Oro Valley with Marana along Thornydale and Tangerine roads.

“It’s in the best interest of Oro Valley to have that whole corridor between Oro Valley and Marana,” Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said.

No homes stand on the 562-acre site, bounded by Tangerine to the north, the extension of Shannon to the east, West Camino del Norte to the south and North Thornydale to the west. The state land department is the only property owner to negotiate with.

Hiremath said town officials have spoken with their counterparts in Marana, who support the proposed expansion of Oro Valley’s boundaries.

“Marana was gracious enough to let Oro Valley have the first chance at the annexation,” Hiremath said. The two governing bodies plan to discuss the annexation proposal and other items at joint public meeting in January (see page 13).

Oro Valley officials intend to provide the council with a financial analysis of the annexation proposal later this week. The town also would have to submit a formal annexation request to the Arizona State Land Department, and follow the department’s potentially lengthy process. That process would include hammering out a pre-annexation development agreement, essentially a comprehensive legal agreement between the parties. Much of that agreement would focus on zoning requirements.

The land department has a constitutional mandate to seek highest and best use for its holdings.

The stretch of Tangerine between Oro Valley and Marana promises to become an important growth area in coming years.

“That developed corridor along Tangerine would be very crucial for us,” Hiremath said. “Especially with the biotech industry we’re trying to develop.”

A widening and improvement project from Interstate 10 to La Cañada Drive also is planned for Tangerine. In the second phase of the Regional Transportation Authority plan, beginning in 2012, Tangerine would be reconstructed into a four-lane divided highway, with its dips removed, and bicycle lanes and turn lanes constructed. The project has an estimated $45.3 million cost and would extend into the fourth phase of the RTA plan, well into the next decade.

Oro Valley would benefit from tax revenue if retail development took hold along Tangerine. Residential development also would bring revenue to the town treasury from impact and permitting fees and construction taxes.

Additional residents also would mean more funding from state-shared revenues. Incorporated cities and towns receive a greater share of the state shared revenue, which derive from sales taxes, highway user revenue funds, gas taxes and other statewide sources.

Pima County has the highest proportion of residents living in unincorporated areas. Of the more than 1 million county residents, nearly 366,000 live in unincorporated Pima County. That equals more than 35 percent of total Pima County residents.

By contrast, Maricopa County, with more than 4 million total residents, has 255,000 unincorporated residents — slightly more than 6 percent.

According to an analysis by the Oro Valley town manager’s office, if the unincorporated population of Pima County lived in cities or towns, the boost in state-shared revenues would total more than $30 million annually.

Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said the annexation would benefit his town as well.

“It makes it easier from a planning perspective,” Davidson said.

He said the annexation would help streamline the planning of roadway projects along Tangerine if only Marana and Oro Valley had stakes in the project.

“Anytime you can have fewer jurisdictions making decisions, it can help to make projects easier,” Davidson said.

He said the town has long-term goals to build an interchange at Tangerine and I-10, similar to the recently completed Twin Peaks Interchange.

An interchange would bring more traffic and create value along the Tangerine corridor.

“It’s a corridor that would have many job opportunities,” Davidson said.

Finalization of any annexation plan could take as many as three years, according to Hiremath.

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