The Oro Valley Town Council’s newest members, Dr. Harry ‘Mo’ Greene and Tim Bohen, have officially taken office after being sworn in during the council’s last meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
While both incoming council members said they plan to serve Oro Valley to the best of their abilities, they each have different ideas on how the town should move forward.
Bohen said his biggest goal is to listen to the town’s residents and use their input to influence how he will vote on future council matters—especially residential and commercial development.
“I think there’s a quality of life issue that is very key right now. Any development that occurs in Oro Valley needs to be viewed in the context of the current financial situation of the town,” Bohen said. “I truly believe that right now the pace of development is more rapid than we need.”
The incoming council member has issues with how the council evaluates new projects against the town’s general plan.
He would like to see future development in Oro Valley pursued in an “intelligent manner,” rather than cherry-picked projects that have little benefit to the community, he said.
“In the past, (the council) has selected certain aspects of the plan as being in support of new development. While development does not contradict these elements of the plan, I don’t think the review is complete and comprehensive,” Bohen said. “I certainly hope as a council member to encourage a more complete and comprehensive review of the plan in terms of any new development that’s considered.”
Bohen is also not sold on the idea that the council needs to support the town’s golf courses if they are not helping the town’s bottom line. While he said he “has nothing against the sport,” Bohen believes golf “needs to provide bang for the buck” should the town continue to support the courses.
“I just think that golf may have received too much of a priority over the last few years,” Bohen said. “As a council member, I plan to help bring into balance the priority in which golf is treated.”
The town’s plan to annex Westward Look Resort is another issue that Bohen said he’ll be paying close attention to. He said the incoming council members should not feel “burdened by how previous councils have felt.”
“Our town manager says it’s been a priority for the Town of Oro Valley to do this annexation. I dispute that,” Bohen said. “Priorities of the Town of Oro Valley are determined by the council at the time of the annexation. To imply we need to (annex Westward Look) because people have wanted to do it in the past isn’t fair to the current council.”
A resident of Oro Valley since 2015, Bohen became interested in joining the council after attending several meetings and leaving with a feeling his neighbors were underserved. He said he felt the 2016 council did not listen to its constituents. While the 2018 council did a much better job, Bohen believes he can help give Oro Valley residents a voice as the town continues to grow.
“I firmly believe the primary concern of a town council member is the well being of the residents of the town,” Bohen said. “Those are the people that you appeal to for votes and those are the people that elect you.”
Dr. Harry ‘Mo’ Greene has been an on-again/off-again resident of Oro Valley since 1989 and finally settled down in the town after retiring from medical practice in 2001. An avid golfer, Greene said one of his main reasons for making Oro Valley his home was the abundance of golf in the area. He compares the sport’s current slump in the town to how it was during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
“Golf took a dive in 2008, along with everything else and people started saying, ‘Golf is a dying sport . . . blah,blah,blah,’” Greene said. “But once the economy reemerged, golf really became a central part of why people came to this region. To write it off doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
Greene said he views the town’s two currently defunct courses—Pusch Ridge nine-hole and Vistoso—as “jigsaw puzzles,” so the council needs to put the right pieces in place for the sport to work best for Oro Valley. He said he believes Town Manager Mary Jacobs is doing a good job trying to “broker some sort of arrangement” for both courses, but added, “We’ll see how it works.”
“The key pieces are there, but will they work together is anyone’s guess. I think if they work together, they could solve this,” Greene said. “It’s just a matter of people keeping good faith, making some offers and looking at what’s possible.”
Greene said he is in favor of the annexation of the Westward Look Resort because it gives the town another resort to draw revenue from.
“I’m personally in favor of it. I’m not in a position to say I will or will not vote for annexation, but I like the concept,” Greene said. “I’m going to wait and hear what (town) staff has to say about it and I want to hear what homeowners in the area think about it.”
Moving forward, Greene said he plans to focus on helping expand the town’s parks and recreation projects in the future. One project he’s passionate about is expanding the senior center to hold classes on various types of public safety, from heath and wellness to protecting against cyberhacking.
“Some of the programs we have at the library are fantastic, but we have to whisper and only small groups are allowed to participate,” Greene said. “I would like to see us really develop as a robust senior center with a multitude of educational programs.”
Both Greene and Bohen won their place on the town council during the Aug. 4 primary election, along with Council Member Steve Solomon. Council Member Bill Rodman lost his seat and Council Member Rhonda Piña decided against running for reelection and instead sought a seat on Pima County Board of Supervisors, although she lost in the GOP primary.