Annexation, development, residents say “no” in Marana

Marana has proposed annexing 36.79 acres of residential property.

Illustration by J.D. Fitzgerald/The Explorer

On Sept. 3, the Marana Town Council hosted a public hearing regarding an annexation of 36.79 acres of residential property on the northeast corner of West Twin Peaks and West Oasis roads. Residents of the area filled numerous seats at the meeting waiting for a turn to voice their opposition to the proposal.

The proposal included not only the annexation, but also an attached rezoning application by Cynthia Rose, Planner II for Marana, which talks about the development of 91-single residential lots in the area. Mayor Ed Honea mentioned at the meeting that the annexation and planning are two separate issues, but for residents they are one in the same.

“We don’t care if Marana takes over the land rather than the county,” said resident Gordon Prentis. “But if they get the land, they’ll want to build here. It’s a repetitive thing that happens. Everything is about money unfortunately.”

Prentis built his own home about eight years ago. Behind his home are 3.3 acres – an area that is part of a flood plan of Mt. Lemmon. The area has not been built on because a lot of flooding can happen there, said Prentis. 

“I had to have flood insurance and lift my house up four feet,” said Prentis. “I can’t believe why Marana would put homes there if it’s a flooding area. For them to change that is wrong.”

Prentis also argued that the Town of Marana has repeatedly said they want to keep the Sonoran Desert landscape look. 

“We’ll lose the desert landscape by having more homes put in,” said Prentis. 

Stan Martin, who has been a resident of the area since he was a child, echoed those points. 

“Animals are the beauty of living out here. There used to be ranches and farms out here with nice views, but we’ve seen more of a gradual change of more homes in the area,” said Martin. “I know times change, but having a sudden three houses per acre doesn’t make sense to me.”

With increased development comes increased traffic for Marana residents. Living on West Potvin Lane, Martin already deals with drivers speeding along the dirt road.

“The Town of Marana doesn’t maintain the roads right now really well,” said Martin. “They more and more may want to turn this into a city. Most don’t want that here.”

Turning the area into more of a city is something that resident Gayle Stenstrom would not recommend - her concern is the limited water supply in the area.

Stenstrom talked with people from a U.S. geological center in Tucson who gave her information as to how much water is in the annexation area.

The lack of water is going to steadily increase if more residents fill the area, according to Stenstrom, who sent a letter to John Kmiec, the director at the Town of Marana Utilities Department, expressing her concerns. In the letter she stated that in 1995 the water measurement in the area was 115 deep. In 2003, it went down to 130 feet and in 2012 reached 160 feet deep. 

“There’s currently water that is being recharged at the Santa Cruz but that water doesn’t come across the road to this area,” said Stenstrom. “There’s a water supply here but it’s not being recharged.”

Add more residents to the area and the water problem would escalate. Residents at the meeting voiced similar concerns to the town council – lost scenery; higher volume of traffic and a lack of water were among the top issues. 

At the meeting on Sept. 3, council said the annexation would be further discussed in October. If approved, the council will discuss the rezoning of the area.  

(Editors Note: For more information about the Twin Peaks Oasis Annexation read previous story at )

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