|A. EXISTING CONDITIONS AND CONTEXT
Land Use Context
The existing General Plan land use designations and zoning districts for the property and surrounding area are provided in Attachment 5.
Approvals and applications to date:
- 76.4 acres
- Property is vacant
B. PROPOSED TYPE 2 GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (ITEM A)
- 2002: Property annexed into Oro Valley
- 2008: Major General Plan Amendment proposed to amend from Rural Low Density Residential to Low Density Residential. Application withdrawn.
- 2014: Major General Plan Amendment proposed to amend from Rural Low Density Residential to Low Density Residential and Medium Density Residential. Application withdrawn.
- 2016: Request to amend the land use designation during the creation of the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan. The Development Committee declined this change in favor of using the standard application and public process, which includes focused neighborhood meetings.
The applicant's first request is to consider a Type 2 General Plan Amendment application (Attachment 2) to change the existing land use designation one category higher to Low Density Residential 1 (LDR1), which is described as follows:
Type 2 General Plan Amendment Analysis:
- Low Density Residential 1 (LDR1; 0.4-1.2 du/ac): This designation represents areas where single-family homes are appropriate, but only when it will allow retention of a rural, open character. The lot sizes in this land use designation allows for setbacks between individual homes. The areas to be disturbed during development should be clearly indicated on individual lots by building envelopes to ensure a minimum of disturbance.
Type 2 General Plan Amendments are reviewed for conformance with the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan's amendment criteria, which includes consistency with the Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Policies. The proposed Type 2 General Plan Amendment to Low Density Residential 1 conforms with the Your Voice Our Future amendment criteria. Below is each applicable criterion shown in bold, along with a summary of the amendment's conformance. The applicant's response to each is provided in Attachment 2.
1. On balance, the request is consistent with the vision, guiding principles, goals and policies of the General Plan as demonstrated by adherence to all the following criteria.
Staff finds the proposed Type 2 General Plan Amendment to Low Density Residential 1 conforms with the Your Voice, Our Future Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Policies. Specifically, staff finds the extensive conservation of open space and cluster design is in direct conformance with Action 70, Continuing to manage development and allow for compact development and flexible design options, including clustering, transfer of development rights or other techniques.
In addition to conserving and protecting environmental resources, the development also acts as a transition between the existing school and higher and lower densities, surrounding the property. Staff finds the request is also in conformance with the following notable Goals and Policies:
The request shall not:
- Goal K: The proactive conservation, protection and restoration of environmentally sensitive lands, natural resource areas and habitats and lands with high scenic value.
- Policy SD.2: Protect and provide connections between contiguous, environmentally sensitive lands within the Town, including key habitat areas and significant natural resource areas.
- Policy SD.8: Encourage development project designs that connect wildlife habitat areas, avoid disturbing significant wildlife habitats and minimize the overall impacts on wildlife habitat areas.
- Goal E: A high-quality parks, recreation and open space system that is accessible, comprehensive, connected, integrated and serves the community's needs.
- LU.5. Provide diverse land uses that meet the Town's overall needs and effectively transition in scale and density adjacent to neighborhoods.
a. Significantly alter existing development character and land use patterns without adequate and appropriate buffers and graduated transitions in density and land use.
The subject property is located adjacent to Rural Low Density Residential to the south and west, School to the north and a Master Planned Community to the east. Essentially, the subject property is in between a school and higher and lower densities. As proposed, the lots will be placed on the northern and eastern portions of the property adjacent to higher intensities and uses. This placement also provides a significant buffer conserving continuous natural open space areas along the western and southern portions of the property. Thus, providing a significant buffer and transition between land uses (for visual, please refer to Attachment 4)
b. Impact existing uses with increased infrastructure without appropriate improvements to accommodate planned growth.
The proposed development is located along Shannon Road. As an arterial roadway, Shannon Road has the capacity to support the development. However as part of the accompanying Rezoning request, improvements to ease access to the property are required (for specifics, see the Agenda Item B of this report).
Some of the utilities needed to accommodate the proposed development are in place; however, sewer and water improvements will be required at the developers expense. Sewer and water capacity is also available but the developer must install extensions to the proposed subdivision.
c. Impact other public services including police, fire, parks, water and drainage unless careful analysis and explanation of anticipated impacts is provided to the Town for review.
Surrounded by development, the proposed subdivision will not adversely impact police, fire, or parks. The subject property has three critical washes running through it, one of which is a large federally (FEMA) mapped floodplain. As part of the accompanying Rezoning request, drainage improvements are required (for specifics, see Item B of this report).
d. Impact the natural beauty and environmental resources without suitable mitigation.
The proposed development preserves 66% of property as open space protecting the Critical and Core Environmental Resource Areas, except for necessary roadway crossings. This preservation provides a significant buffer, along the western and southern portions of the property, between the proposed development and surrounding homes. Ongoing maintenance and protection of the conserved open space are included as conditions of approval for the accompanying Rezoning request (Attachment 6).
In addition to the significant buffer, building height has also been restricted to one- story for the entire development and larger lots must be placed along the western perimeter. Combined, the significant buffers, restricted building height and placement of larger lots result in the development having no impact on existing views.
2. The applicant has implemented effective public outreach efforts to identify neighborhood concerns and has responded by incorporating measures to avoid or minimize development impacts to the extent reasonably possible, as well as to mitigate unavoidable adverse impacts.
Two neighborhood meetings were held on April 25, 2017 and August 28, 2017 with approximately 30 residents at each meeting. An on-site meeting was also held on August 9, 2017 with approximately 20 residents. In addition to the Town led meetings, the neighbors also held their own meetings throughout the review process; inviting Town staff and the applicant to four. The neighbor led meetings included approximately 5-20 residents. The main topics discussed at the meetings included:
In response to the neighbors' concerns, the applicant has agreed to the following as part of the accompanying Rezoning request (Attachment 6):
- Density and rural neighborhood compatibility
- Preserving the existing views from Shannon and building height
- Conservation of native plants and the environment
- Traffic along Shannon Road and safety for accessing the proposed development
- Drainage impacts to homes west and south of the property
C. REZONING REQUEST (ITEM B)
- Restrict the development to a maximum of 80 homes.
- Place larger lots along the western perimeter nearest to Shannon Road.
- Restrict building heights to 18', one story for flat roof homes and 23', one story for gable-roof homes.
- Conserve extensive open space, ranging from 300'-600' feet from the southern property line and 300'-450' from the western property line, to protect environmental resources and provide a significant buffer between the proposed development and surrounding homes.
- Use a rustic or western design typically used in a rural-ranch context for the entry gate and entryway sign.
- Only native landscaping found in the area may be used at the entrance.
- Install south-bound and north-bound left-turn lanes at the Shannon Road/Sahuaro Divide intersection.
- Decrease the pre-existing storm water flow rates using larger on-site detention basins.
- Re-align flows exiting the property along the southern boundary to the traditional paths.
- Construct off-site drainage improvements along Owl Vista Place.
- No increase of pre-existing storm water flows within the FEMA floodplain exiting the property along the western boundary.
The second request is to change the existing zoning from R1-144 to R1-36 to develop a residential subdivision (Attachment 3). The Town of Oro Valley Zoning Code Revised defines the proposed zoning district as follows:
The applicant is also requesting the use of Flexible Design Options to enable smaller lots, reduced setbacks and increase the building height. The specifics of the Flexible Design Options are detailed further in this report. A comparison between existing development standards and the proposed development standards is in Attachment 7.
- Single-Family Residential R1-36: This district provides for a low-density residential development.
1. Zoning Analysis
The proposed rezoning has been reviewed for conformance with the Town of Oro Valley Zoning Code. A discussion of the application's conformance with the proposed zoning district is provided below.
2. Tentative Development Plan
The Tentative Development Plan (Attachment 4) depicts 80 lots with a minimum lot size of 8,750 square feet, on-site drainage basins and one access point. Additionally, the design conserves an extensive amount of open space, creating a buffer between the proposed development and surrounding homes.
- Access and Circulation: The Tentative Development Plan has one access point off Shannon Road directly across from Sahuaro Divide. Per a recommendation from the Traffic Impact Analysis, a south-bound, left-hand turn lane at the Shannon Road/Sahuaro Divide intersection is required and to be installed by the applicant. Based on neighbors' concerns, the applicant has also agreed to install a north-bound, left-hand turn lane at the same intersection.
- Building Height: To preserve existing views to the east, the applicant has agreed to limit the proposed building height for flat roof homes to 18', one story and gable-roof homes to 23', one story.
- Drainage: The applicant may not increase pre-existing storm water flows from the large, federally mapped floodplain crossing the northwest corner of the property. Additionally, the applicant has agreed to go beyond code requirements and decrease pre-existing storm water flows exiting the southern boundary, by installing larger on-site basins. Lastly, the applicant has agreed to install off-site drainage improvements along Owl Vista Place, which are included in Attachment 6.
- Neighborhood Compatibility: The proposed subdivision design is an appropriate transition between the school (north), small cluster-lot residential (east) and large lot residential (west and south) surrounding the property.
To improve compatibility, the applicant has placed larger lots and provided a natural open space buffer, ranging from 300'-450', along the western perimeter. A second natural open space buffer, ranging from 300'-600' is provided along the southern portion of the property. Lastly, as a condition of approval, the entry gate and monument sign should be a rustic or western design, typically used in a rural-ranch context (Attachment 7).
3. Flexible Design Options
The Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) requirements enable the use of incentives, or flexible design options, subject to Town Council approval. The flexible design options are available to property owners when open space is applied to at least twenty-five (25%) or more of the property. The applicant has provided sixty-six (66%) allowing them to request these options. The following flexible design options requested by the applicant are shown in bold, with staff commentary below.
Building setbacks- reduce side setbacks to no less than five (5) feet, front setbacks to no less than ten (10) feet only for use of a side entry garage, and rear setbacks to no less than twenty (20) feet. This request will not result in an on-lot driveway length less than twenty-one (21) feet.
Due to the significant buffer between the proposed development and surrounding homes, staff finds this request will have no impact to neighbors.
Minimum lot size and width-reduce the minimum lot size to no less than 8,750 square feet and the minimum lot width to 70 feet to allow for the clustering of development.
Staff finds reducing the minimum lot size and width, which permits a conservation subdivision design, in exchange for preserving 66% of the property as continuous Environmentally Sensitive Open Space, is beneficial to both neighbors and the environment. By clustering homes towards the northern and eastern perimeters of the property, wildlife linkages remain intact and natural open space buffers (minimum of 300’) are provided between the proposed development and existing larger-lot homes. As conditions of approval, larger lots must be placed along the western perimeter and density is restricted to a maximum of 80 homes (Attachment 6).
Building height-raise the building height limit of 18 feet to 23 feet for single story gable-roofed residences.
Due to the minimum 300' foot distance between surrounding homes and the proposed development, staff finds this request will have no impact to existing views of the Tortolita and Catalina Mountains.
Open space- request the ability to reduce the open space requirement for Resource Management Area (RMA) Tier 1 by 25%.
As proposed the development is preserving more than required of the environmentally sensitive Critical (CRA) and Core Resource Areas (COR). Staff recommends a credit for the overage of CRA and COR preserved be applied to the required amount of RMA. Since both CRA and COR have higher environmental resource values than RMA, this exchange is environmentally beneficial.
Native Plan Preservation Waiver- request the right to waive zoning requirements for native plant salvage and mitigation within the development envelope.
As permitted by code, the Planning and Zoning Administrator partially approved this request. Since the subject property has the highest concentration of Ironwood Trees in the Town and significant Saguaro Cacti, which are both unique to the Sonoran Desert and on the Town or Oro Valley's protected plant list, they are not included in the waiver (Attachment 6).
4. Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL)
The property contains the following ESL Conservation Categories:
- Critical Resource Area (CRA): Resources include washes and riparian areas with a 95% open space requirement. Specifically, the property contains three critical washes, one of which is a large Federally mapped floodplain.
- Core Resource Area (COR): Resources include distinctive native plant stands or a special status species habitat supporting five (5) or more priority vulnerable species, with an 80% open space requirement. Specifically, the property contains the highest concentration of Ironwood Trees in Town and significant Saguaro Cacti.
- Resource Management Area (RMA) Tier 1: Resources include distinctive native plant stands or minor rock outcrops or boulders with a 66% open space requirement. Although the highest concentrations of Ironwood Trees are located within the Core Resource Area, the rest of the property also contains a dense mix of Ironwoods, Saguaro Cacti and other native plants.
Conservation Categories (Biologically Based):
The proposed development conserves the following ESL Conservation Categories:
- Critical Resource Area (CRA)- 96% open space (1% more than required)
- Core Resource Area (COR)- 97% open space (17% more than required)
- Resource Management Area (RMA) Tier 1: 45% open space (21% less than required, for details see the Flexible Design Options section)
Conservation Categories (Non-biologically Based):
A Cultural Resource Survey conducted on September 6, 2017 found no significant cultural resources on the subject property and recommended the project proceed without further archeological work.
D. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
The following public notice has been provided:
As stated in Type 2 General Plan Analysis of this report (Amendment Criterion 2), numerous meetings were conducted with neighbors in the area and corresponding mitigation has been applied. A copy of the neighborhood meeting summary notes are provided as Attachment 8 and several letters of concern are included in Attachment 9.
- Notification to all property owners within 1,000 feet
- Notification to additional interested parties who signed in at neighborhood meetings
- Homeowners association mailing
- Advertisement in The Daily Territorial and Arizona Daily Star newspapers
- Advertisement in the Explorer newspaper
- Post on property
- Post at Town Hall and on Town website
- Outside agency reviews
E. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION
Based on the aforementioned factors, staff recommends approval. If additional deliberation is deemed necessary by the Planning and Zoning Commission, this item may be continued to the 11/8/17 meeting. Staff intends to place this item on the 12/6/17 Town Council agenda with all the Type 1 General Plan Amendments.
- The proposed requests meet both the General Plan amendment criteria and zoning code analysis.
- The proposal conserves extensive open space along the southern and western portions of the property, which not only protects Critical Washes and Core Resource Areas but also provides a significant buffer between surrounding homes and the proposed development.
- The request for Low Density Residential 1 is an adequate transition between the existing school and higher and lower densities surrounding the property.
- There are numerous letters and a petition opposing the request submitted by neighbors (Attachment 9).
- The proposed requests include extensive mitigation strategies to address residents' concerns.