The Marana Town Council approved the construction of up to 1,000 homes in The Villages of Tortolita in exchange for the developer covering upfront costs for improvements to the Marana freeway interchange, an extension to Adonis Road and construction of a new Tortolita freeway interchange.

The council’s approval changes the 2007 Villages of Tortolita Specific Plan to include a new condition that no building permits be issued for the 1,780 acres of land on the east side of the Interstate 10, stretching from south of Marana Road to just north of the Pinal County line, until the Tortolita interchange was constructed. 

“In discussions between the developer and the town, we were trying to find a win-win situation,” said Town Attorney Frank Cassidy, at the Nov. 7 council meeting. 

Construction of the interchange was put off due to the 2008 economic downturn, explained Cassidy. The Planning Commission held an Oct. 25 public hearing, where they unanimously recommended the agreement between the town and the developer.

The town’s prefered option for improvements to the Marana interchange is a roundabout to the west side of the freeway and a light on the east side, off the North Sandario Road freeway exit. 

The Marana interchange is controlled by the Arizona Department of Transportation, which will have to approve the plan. The developer will then pay the cost of construction upfront at an estimated $6 million. The town will later collect impact fees, paid by new homeowners, to reimburse the developer, in full with no interest. 

The town will also reimburse the developer from construction sales taxes related to work on the Marana interchange, Adonis Road, Tortolita interchange and construction within the Villages of Tortolita.

The developer has agreed to extend Adonis Road from the east end Adonis Mobile Homes, by La Mirage Estates, down to Tangerine Road. The Villages of Tortolita developers, the largest being TMR Investors, LLC, would pay for the road construction, without reimbursement, which the town estimates will save them about $1.6 million.

The town would also reimburse the developer for up to half the cost of the Tortolita interchange from impact fees, as well as any construction sales tax still available after reimbursement for the Marana interchange. 

But those specific impact fees have not been adopted yet and will not be until the start date of the construction is within sight. Under state law, the construction must begin within 10 years of collecting the impact fees, Cassidy said.

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Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world - the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes - (much more so than comparable signals). Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA.

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