Letters to Editor

Community center adds to town

Regarding Nov. 22 letter “Fitness center failure”: I must have missed Mr. Frank Alles visit to the Oro Valley community fitness center that he wrote about in the Nov. 22 issue. 

I am usually in the health facility four days a week, and on the golf course two more. I have been active for the past 14 years, and acknowledge that the equipment is not the flashiest. However, there is equipment for everyone’s needs, and then some. While the carpet has been stained over the years by inadvertent liquid spills, I have never felt the gym was unsanitary. After 14 years, I am still happily using it, along with very nice fellow gym-mates and staff who make each visit very enjoyable. There are certainly more flashy places where some might enjoy more, but for me, the health facility is a terrific asset along with the golf course that, by the way, has never better. The parks and recreation staff, along with the Troon people in the restaurant and golf shop, are always helpful and friendly.

While I too felt the purchase of this facility skirted the proper method of acquisition, I must say the facility of golf, tennis, gym and restaurant adds tremendously to the community and by my observation is enjoyed daily by a growing number of Oro Valley residents.

—Randolph Guthrie


Community center a local asset

Regarding Nov. 22 letter “Fitness center failure”: Granted, the community center is a bit drab and could use a coat of paint. It also could use some equipment updating. However, all the equipment works and works as it was intended. When things break or fail, you can count on the staff to repair or replace them.  As a current member, I find the facility to be as clean as any other gym of which I have ever been a member. 

What makes this facility stand out above the rest, however, is the staff.  The Oro Valley community center has a complement of exceptional physical fitness instructors who are very good motivators. The administrative staff is attentive to the members’ needs, in a very friendly manner. The director of the facility listens to members and he responds. No one is ever ignored. This is one place that should not get judged by its cover. This facility is more about a healthy heart than it is about beauty.

What this center does the best, however, is that it builds a sense of community. And that is, after all, what a community center should be.

—Grant Kalasunas


Loving the community center

Regarding Nov. 22 letter “Fitness center failure” and “Snowbirds and Concerts”: I read with interest the two recent letters commenting on the Oro Valley community center. I’ve been a member there for over six months now, and I couldn’t be happier with this facility. 

My personal focus is largely with a facility that has a healthy offering of classes, a decent weight room and a pool, all at a reasonable price. The locker rooms have plentiful toilet and shower facilities, and the exercise equipment offers a wide variety of types of equipment that have always been promptly maintained. Many of the classes are very popular, and they do tend to fill up quickly, especially at this time of year. And with a low $20 registration fee, you can cancel your membership and re-register, if you are a snowbird. 

I use the bicycles in the treadmill area and all three TV sets have closed captions so I can catch up on the news while I work out. They have fitness classes for everyone, including seniors, day care options and a whole host of other amenities. Check the bulletin boards! But the thing I love most about the center are the people. The staff are always pleasant and helpful, and even the members are smiling, courteous and friendly without being obtrusive. And the personal trainers are top-notch. I suppose some people won’t want to get past the cover, but that just means there will be more room for me in the classes.

—Barbara Jones


Draw the line

My friends and I are exercise bike riders, and ride about 60 miles a week. Our favorite 20 mile ride is north along the CDO path to Tangerine Road then up Rancho Vistoso Blvd past Sun City, and back via Innovation Way and the CDO path by Steam Pump Ranch to First Avenue.

In addition to the exercise, and spectacular views, traveling through town at 13 mph allows you to see what is really going on. With most of our major roads posted at 45 mph, residents rushing to work, soccer practices, and shopping can miss seeing what’s happening.

What we see is development everywhere.  All along First Avenue from Oracle to Tangerine, Moore Drive, La Canada north of Moore, the “donut hole” at the top of La Cañada. I am an economic Republican and understand growth and private property rights, but our out-of-control development is rapidly changing Oro Valley, and not for the better.

But now while town residents were focused this fall on the $17 million 454 Bond and property tax, WLB Group and Vistoso Partners have been working the Planning and Zoning Commision to push through amendments to our new 2016 General Plan to rezone Big and Honeybee wash parcels. Why ? To increase the parcel value and build new subdivisions in our washes and open spaces.

The first high density 160 home development will serviced by a new loop road extension of Moore Drive east into big wash then south and return to Rancho Vistoso Blvd at Arrowsmith Drive. The second a medium density development of over 240 homes will be at the junction of big and honeybee washes and serviced by an access road connecting with Rancho Vistoso Blvd. just west of Sun City at the big wash bridge.

Where does it stand ? Approved 6-1 by Planning and Zoning, and now up for final approval by the town council at their Wednesday Dec. 6 meeting. Attend the meeting and inform our mayor and council that town residents do not want Big and Honeybee washes rezoned for the benefit of their developer contributors.

—Jack Stinnett


Show me the money

I bought my home in Oro Valley because it was a clean place, with a pleasant small town personality.  Over the past several years, I’ve see the town surrounded by rampant development. 

The recent vote on Prop. 454 clearly indicated the overwhelming distrust of the citizens for the incumbent mayor and council, all who care little for the voice of the taxpayer. Further, development is unnecessary, and only helps the mayor, who I believe is untrustworthy and not fit for the job.  

Therefore, if the council is not also in the pockets of the developers, I would like those honest members to propose an initiative requiring all politicians to publish their tax returns annually. And certainly for at least five years before running for election to any public office. 

—Norman Hansen


Thankful for OV

In the past 10 years, Oro Valley, Arizona has received the following awards: Arizona’s Best Small City; America’s 10 Safest Suburbs; Best Place to Raise Kids; Playful City Community, USA; 10 Best Towns for Families; 100 Best Places to Live and Launch a Small Business. That’s pretty impressive!

But if you would read the letters people have sent to The Explorer the past few weeks, you would think we live in a community that is on the verge of bankruptcy, was void of sound management, had 100 apartment complexes, had paved over every square inch of land and there were potholes in the pavement. 

Chill out CAVE’ers. We live in a thriving, prosperous town that is the envy of most communities our size in the USA.  The only things that are in short supply are ball fields for our kids and therapy centers.

—Don Cox


Big Wash warning

It’s hard to miss all the big yellow public meeting signs in Oro Valley. They should be considered a warning to those who want Oro Valley to stop over-development. One should always pull over to read the sign’s fine print because the “warning” isn’t legible when driving 45 mph.

For example, the fine print on Tangerine Road and Rancho Vistoso Boulevard signs reference the General Plan amendment and rezoning of land parcels in Big Wash and Honeybee Wash.  Did you know that the Planning and Zoning Commission already voted to recommend approval of these changes? 

WLB Group believes their new plan to eliminate the unfeasible golf course and build 408 homes in a FEMA floodplain—homes that will use 94,000 gallons of water per day—is a win-win. They believe the Council will approve the project at the Dec. 6 Town Council meeting. But should they? The Town’s ESL provisions would prohibit development in the riparian areas if they weren’t permitted by Pima County in 1987. The development will impact the migration route provided by AZDOT’s $9.5 million wildlife bridge that links animals from the Catalina Mountains down through Big Wash and up to the Tortolitas. Truthfully, the win for WLB and Vistoso Partners is a detriment to environmental protection.

The western development will contain 166 homes on minimum 6,000 square feet lots with building heights of 30 feet, 2 stories. Moore Road will extend and loop back south to the intersection of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Arrowsmith Drive. More stoplights will be required on Rancho Vistoso Boulevard. The eastern development will contain 242 homes that will be built at the confluence of Big and Honeybee Washes. It will also require a new access road from Rancho Vistoso Blvd (between Sun City and the Big Wash bridge) that will loop around The Estates at High Mesa to access the new homes.

The yellow signs are clearly a warning. This project ignores multiple aspects of the General Plan that we approved just one year ago.  Let’s tell Town Council that we don’t want development in Big and Honeybee Washes.

—Shirl Lamonna


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