Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene.jpeg

An Oro Valley church’s plan to rezone their property to construct a sports complex and other facilities has many neighborhood residents concerned over the potential new development.

Officials with Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, located near Calle Concordia and Calle Buena Vista, are attempting to rezone 26.6 acres of their property currently zoned as a mix of public school, single-family residential and a pre-existing Planned Area Development to a new PAD that would make way for sports complex with building heights up to 42 feet, a multi-use building and a 300-seat amphitheater and an indoor athletic field. Plans also show a proposed Phase 2 development including an indoor athletic field to be constructed at a later date. 

Paul Oland, owner of Paradigm Land Design LLC and the rezoning applicant representing the church, said the reason for the zoning change is to update the current PAD to include the single family residential and public school sections of property so all the property in question has the same zoning rights. 

“We’re proposing a PAD on the entire property even though the church already has the entitlements necessary to build what they want on portions of the property,” Oland said. “So what we’re doing is rezoning the whole typing under on PAD just to tie it all together.”

The church’s neighbors are upset over the proposed rezoning and conceptual construction plans for numerous reasons ranging from proposed building height to increased traffic and noise to the neighborhood. 

Neighborhood resident Ed Clary said he is concerned about the sheer size of the proposed project and the lack of communication between the church, the town and area residents. Oro Valley typically alerts all residents within 600 feet of a rezoning proposal. Clary, who has lived in the area for nearly a decade, said he wasn’t notified because his home is about 700 feet from the church property. 

“They’re looking at putting in a total square footage that’s the equivalent of a couple of Costcos in the oldest residential neighborhood in Oro Valley and then they’re wanting this enormous variant up to a five-story type building for a demand that is not there,” Clary said. “The reach of this is kind of eye watering and the tone deafness of some of it, given how little outreach there was, was surprising to us all.”

Clary said he and his neighbors dealt with a similar situation the last time the church pursued construction in the area a few years back and asked for more notice if more construction should happen in the future. However, only the homes within the 600-foot boundary were notified, according to Clary.

“The church has been expanding their existing campus for a couple of years now and there was no outreach back then,” Clary said. “For six months at the crack of dawn, there was heavy construction equipment, backing up and beeping. Most of us in the area didn’t even know about it.”

Neighborhood resident Tim Tarris said he and other neighbors share Clary’s apprehension over the proposed building heights because it could obscure their view of the surrounding mountain ranges. 

“The neighbors that border the east side of Calle Buena Vista and the church are going to lose their view of Pusch Ridge because they will now have a Home Depot-sized building about 100 feet from their house,” Tarris said. “Not very many neighbors I know are excited about that.” 

Tarris also said he is concerned about increased traffic and noise to the area if the potential sports complex is constructed and is in use seven-days-a-week. He believes it would have a significant and devastating impact on the neighborhood, which could cause property values to drop, he said.  

“Part of Calle Concordia is in Pima County and last time they checked there were about 4,100 cars each way, everyday. It’s typically a secondary road used to go to Canyon Del Oro High School or the Oro Valley Aquatic Center,” Tarris said. “We anticipate the traffic change to go up by three to four times as much if this is built.”

Oland said while the sport center’s proposed building heights are upwards of three to four stories high by definition, the buildings use would still be functioning as a one-story building. 

“The sports center is envisioned as obviously an area where indoor sports facilities will be provided for basketball, volleyball and other related activities,” Oland said. “It’s necessary to have tall ceilings for those sports.”

Oland points out that Canyon Del Oro High School has already set precedent for large and tall building in the area. The church’s proposed structures would still be within the appropriate range of height, according to the developer.

While Oland’s firm has presented a conceptual design for the proposed new development, he said the rezoning process is still in the beginning stages and nothing is set in stone at this point. 

“We’re very early in the process. So far, we’ve made one submittal. As you know the rezoning process in Oro Valley is long and requires a lot of coordination with a lot of agencies and neighbors,” Oland said. “That said, we are looking at adjustments to the building design and to the site layout. What’s been presented will change and I certainly understand there are concerns about compatibility.” 

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