During public comment on the final draft of Make Marana 2040 General Plan, the issue of land use designations for the Tortolita Preserve and its surrounding land arose. The draft proposed merging all that acreage into one massive Special Planning Area, where any mix of zoning would be allowed, subject to planning parameters like environmental considerations. All of this is State Trust land.
Citizens were suspicious of the change and asked for major concessions. One was that the Special Planning Area designation would be abandoned. This request was granted. Another request was that the Tortolita Preserve would retain its current boundaries with its only permitted use park/open space. This request was granted as well. A request was also made that the existing land use category of Low Density Residential would be retained for the land bordering the undeveloped western and southern boundaries of the Preserve, as well as the 885 acres at Tangerine and Thornydale. This also was granted.
People showed up in increasing numbers from a dozen to over 200 at public hearings after a group called the Tortolita Alliance was formed. This group met and corresponded with town representatives, including the mayor, town attorney, and development services director. The final language to be submitted for ratification was approved 7-0 by the town council on Dec. 10 to the applause of grateful participants.
It looks like some municipalities are willing to resist development pressure on State Trust Land. Care to join us, Oro Valley?
—Jim Tripp, Marana
Editor’s Note: Jim Tripp is a member of the Tortolita Alliance community group.
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