The Oro Valley Town Council postponed a public hearing on annexing the Westward Look Resort and approving the proposed Planned Area Development on the resort’s property, which was scheduled to be discussed at the March 3 council meeting.
Oro Valley Planning Manager Bayer Vella said the postponement is due to making sure all the details regarding annexation and the PAD are finalized and presented together on the same council agenda.
“There are really two elements to the proposed action. One is annexation and the second component is rezoning and all the land-use aspects,” Vella said. “Both of those applications have their own unique requirements and postponement was necessary in order to finish some technical items related to the annexation.”
Town staff is working to complete the paperwork by the end of the month and reschedule the public hearing and council consideration in April, said Town Manager Mary Jacobs.
“An annexation is not just the planning items or the parallel items. It’s also a lot of paperwork and getting petitions signed. We didn’t have all our T's crossed and our I’s dotted at this point,” Jacobs said. “I won’t get it rescheduled again until I know for sure we have the petitions, the paperwork and everything is ready to go. I’m guessing it’ll probably be in April.”
Residents of the Westward Look Homes neighborhood said they are pleased about the postponement because it gives them an opportunity to reach out to town staff and discuss their concerns before any action takes place. The neighborhood’s de facto spokesperson Bob Hagan said he has presented his neighbor’s concerns during two walkthroughs last week with Vella and Councilmember Mo Greene.
“We had a good meeting and a fair amount of information exchange regarding the Westward Look Resort,” Hagan said. “In my mind, the effort has resulted in Oro Valley town staff and officials becoming more familiar with the neighborhood and how such a development would impact us as neighbors.”
Hagan said his neighbors have six issues with the potential new development: building heights and setbacks, road entries and exits, open space development, plan enforcement, and parking. While Hagan said the group is happy with the town’s outreach, he hopes Oro Valley’s staff will consider different ways to address these issues before taking action.
“To be perfectly honest with you, we would prefer not to have any development at all,” Hagan said. “But at the same time, I think we’re realistic enough to know that there is going to be some type of development.”
Vella said his meeting with Hagan was mostly positive and felt they had a “great information share” while being able to update the resident on recent changes to the potential development plans.
“It was a great opportunity to listen and learn from Mr. Hagan’s perspective,” Vella said. “He’s a longtime resident of the area. So, the focus was listening to his concerns and also being able to point out his areas of concern.”
Right now, there are three different development site plan options for the town council to choose from should they proceed with annexation. All three plans have been updated to ensure a mix of commercial and residential development, said Vella.
The applicant, Westward Look Resort, updated its plans in mid-February, Vella said. One of the biggest changes to the potential development is increasing the setbacks of where proposed buildings are in relation to neighborhood homes while decreasing the proposed building heights, said Vella.
“The planning and zoning commission recently approved three different site scenarios and also recommended several conditions. Some of those conditions resulted in changes to those plans,” Bella said. “I think many of the neighbors are just becoming aware of this version of the plan.”
The town stands to gain a positive annual net impact of about $916,000 for annexing the resort and could pocket an additional $61,000 to $562,000 depending on which of the three potential economic development plans is chosen, according to a fiscal impact report released in December.