Marana Town Council recently approved rezoning two areas of untouched land to allow for a mix of residential homes, commercial buildings and open space.

Pima County resident David Lutz, who lives near West Ina Road and North Desert View Drive, objected to the change during the Oct. 17 council meeting. He said he’s “just an irate taxpayer,” who’s concerned about his property taxes with the county going up.

“My taxes just go up and up and up,” he said during call to the audience. “More high-density residential puts a burden on the taxpayer, plus more of our desert gets destroyed.”

Councilmember Patti Comerford told Tucson Local Media the town has determined there’s enough water to support the future development.

Rezoning is the first step, but any future developments will first have to go through stages of community input and council approval. As far as the impact on the environment, Comerford said, “I’d like to think we’re well balanced” with development and open space.

Just more than 28 acres on the northeast corner of Tangerine Road and Camino de Oeste that the council approved for rezoning is designated as “critical to the economic growth of the town” in Marana’s 2010 General Plan. 

The change incorporated the land into the Dove Mountain Specific Plan and doesn’t allow for more homes than the 9,152 allowed by the plan, which encompasses 6,207 acres. Incorporating the open land allows for more space to accommodate the allowed number of homes, businesses and surrounding open space.

The Dove Mountain area is 30 to 60 percent open space, said Mayor Ed Honea, with the rezoning calling for 45 percent open space. He said council has to weigh the residents’ desire for nature and the town’s need for economic growth.

“There’s an opportunity to do a pretty nice project there,” he said. “The town is already respectful of open space.”

There was a meeting held for neighborhood input on Sept. 19, where property owners within 300 feet of the amendment area were notified and four attended.

Nine landowners requested that another 79 acres, located near the southeast corner of Twin Peaks Road and Tangerine Road, be rezoned for commercial uses by the main roads and residential zoning on the south side of the land. 

The plan will allow for 154 homes with a density of about 1.94 homes per acre and includes guidelines for recreational amenities, wildlife linkages, a 150- to 200-foot-wide wildlife corridor, open space, trails and landscaping that reflects the natural desert. 

There was a meeting for neighborhood input on June 27, where property owners within 300 feet of the amendment area were notified and five attended.

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