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  AGENDA ITEM: 4.       
Meeting Date: 10/03/2017  
Requested by: Bayer Vella
Submitted By: Rosevelt Arellano, Community Development & Public Works
Case Number: OV1701068 and OV17001630

SUBJECT:
PUBLIC HEARING: DISCUSSION REGARDING THE PROPOSED BIG WASH GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND REZONING FOR A 131-ACRE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT, LOCATED NORTH OF TANGERINE ROAD AND WITHIN THE RANCHO VISTOSO BOULEVARD LOOP
 
A.  TYPE 1 GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT TO REMOVE A RESORT/GOLF COURSE LAND USE DESIGNATION AND TO RECONFIGURE THE REMAINING LAND USE DESIGNATIONS OF OPEN SPACE, PARK AND MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL (OV1701068)

B.  REZONING TO AMEND THE RANCHO VISTOSO PLANNED AREA DEVELOPMENT TO REMOVE THE EXISTING ZONING DESIGNATIONS OF COMMERCIAL (C-1), MEDIUM HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL AND RECREATION AREA/GOLF COURSE AND TO RECONFIGURE AND APPLY THE ZONING DESIGNATIONS OF OPEN SPACE AND MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL (OV1701630)
RECOMMENDATION:
This meeting is for discussion purposes only and formal action is scheduled for the November 8, 2017 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Staff will be recommending approval of the proposed amendments, subject to the rezoning conditions listed in Attachment 1, during the November Commission meeting.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
The applicant’s request (Attachments 2 and 3) involves two separate applications (Type 1 General Plan Amendment and Planned Area Development Amendment) related to developing a residential development with similar design and density as the surrounding single-family neighborhoods. The proposal is on 131-acres of undeveloped parcels, located north of Tangerine Road and in-between the Rancho Vistoso Boulevard loop (Attachment 4).

The Tentative Development Plan (Attachment 5) found in the rezoning case depicts a westerly and easterly residential development with 408 total lots, minimum lot size of 6,000 sf, and two-story homes. The proposed densities of 3.60 and 2.90 dwelling units per acre is consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods, which have an average density of 3.57 dwelling units per acre (see Attachment 4). Potential impacts to adjacent neighborhoods are mitigated by substantial setbacks, placement of homes at lower elevations with no impediments to mountain views and other design considerations.

The property has 30-year old entitlements from Pima County to develop a golf course, 421 single-family homes, and commercial uses. The Zoning Map (Attachment 6) shows that these uses are permitted in environmentally sensitive areas (e.g., floodplain and hillsides) and slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhoods.

It is important to note that regardless of this rezoning action, extensive floodplain mitigation will be required for this property. The proposed development will better respect the floodplain boundaries by providing more open space. This proposal reduces impacts to the environment by lessoning the overall developable area by:
  1. Dedicating 119-acres of developable area as permanent open space
  2. Decreasing disturbances within the adjacent floodplain and hillsides
  3. Removing development on slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhood to the west
  4. Decreasing the total number of homes on the property from 421 to 408
    • Reduce the total number of permitted homes in the western portion of the property (from 175 to 166) which is located near most of the surrounding neighbors.
    • All additional homes will be located in the eastern portion of the property where there are fewer neighbors and the proposed access is not shared with existing neighborhoods.
  5. Removing golf course and commercial uses (e.g., high water use and non-viable developments)
  6. Dedicating open space to Pima County for environmental conservation and flood control maintenance
  7. Dedicating public access for existing and future trails and a trailhead
BACKGROUND OR DETAILED INFORMATION:
A.  EXISTING CONDITIONS AND CONTEXT 

Site Conditions
  • Total area zoned for development: 250-acres
  • Property is vacant except for a cultural heritage site outside of the proposed developable area and within Big Wash
Approvals-to-date 
  • Prior to 1987: Pima County zoned the property as Rancho Vistoso PAD, Open Space, Recreation Area/Golf Course, Medium High Density Residential, Commercial (C-1) by Pima County
  • 1987: Property annexed into Oro Valley
  • 2009: Major General Plan Amendment approved for this specific area. The request involved the locations for a new park and school, reshaping development areas, and future sewer improvements for the western portion of Big Wash.
Land Use Context

The existing land uses (Attachment 4) for the property and the surrounding area include single-family homes, commercial uses, open space, and vacant land (e.g., school, commercial, and golf/recreation).

General Plan Designations

The Your Voice Our Future General Plan Map (Attachment 7) designates the property as Open Space (OS), Park (Park), Resort/Golf Course (RGC), and Medium Density Residential (MDR). A description of each General Plan designation is provided in Attachment 8.

Zoning Designations

The property is zoned Rancho Vistoso Planned Area Development, Open Space, Recreation Area/Golf Course, Medium High Density Residential, Commercial and (C-1). The locations and descriptions of these zoning designations are provided in Attachments 6 and 9, respectively.

B.  PROPOSED TYPE 1 GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (ITEM A) 

The first request is a Type 1 General Plan Amendment to 1) remove a Resort/Golf Course land use designation and 2) reconfigure the remaining land use designations of Open Space, Park and Medium Density Residential for a proposed 131-acre residential development.

The General Plan defines the proposed land use designations as follows:
  • Open Space: This land use designation represents areas that are natural open space which have been preserved through zoning, conservation easements or public ownership.
  • Medium Density Residential: This land use designation represents areas where single-family home, townhouse or patio home development is appropriate. The lot sizes in this land use designation allow for setbacks between individual homes (detached) or common walls between individual homes (attached). These areas should be located close to schools, shopping and employment.
  • Park (PARK): This land use designation represents areas that have been developed or are intended to be developed as recreational facilities. 
Type 1 General Plan Amendment Analysis

The proposed Type 1 General Plan Amendment conforms with the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan Amendment Criteria on the basis that it improves the existing land use designations previously approved by Pima County in 1987. Below is a list of the criteria as well as staff commentary. The applicant's response to each criterion is provided in Attachment 2.
 
Amendment Criteria

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 1 General Plan Amendment to remove a Resort/Golf Course land use designation and reconfigure the remaining land use designations of Open Space, Park and Medium Density Residential conforms with the Your Voice, Our Future Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Policies. Specifically, staff finds the extensive conservation of open space and reconfiguration of the existing land use designations is in direct conformance with Action 68, “Connect environmentally sensitive lands, which include wildlife and plant habitats, riparian areas and significant natural resource areas by developing a plan that connects environmentally sensitive lands as development occurs.”

Below is a list of notable Goals and Policies followed by the commentary on compliance, which is aimed at improving the existing land use conditions previously approved by Pima County.
  • Policy CC.4: Provide public open space and park space where there is an existing park shortage or a need to preserve open space, natural areas or scenic views. 
  • Policy SD.1: Identify, preserve and manage an integrated and connected open space system that protects Oro Valley’s natural resources and provides enjoyment for residents and visitors while recognizing our place in the larger ecosystem.
    • Dedicate 119-acres of developable area as permanent open space
    • Decrease disturbances within the adjacent wash and hillsides
    • Dedicate open space to Pima County for environmental conservation and flood control maintenance 
  • Goal M: The protection and preservation of significant cultural sites, properties and resources that enhance community character and heritage. 
    • Dedicate public access easements to the Town for existing trails and a cultural heritage site 
  • Goal O: Responsible use of energy and water resources for the current and future benefit of the community. 
    • Remove a golf course use (e.g., high water user) 
  • Goal X: Effective transitions between differing land uses and intensities in the community. 
    • Remove development on slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhood to the west
    • Decrease the total number of homes on the property from 421 to 408
    • Reduce the total number of permitted homes in the western portion of the property (from 175 to 166) that are located near most of the surrounding neighbors
    • Locate all additional homes in the eastern portion of the property where there are fewer neighbors and the proposed access is not shared with existing neighborhoods
a. The request shall not significantly alter existing development character and land use patterns without adequate and appropriate buffers and graduated transitions in density and land use. 

The proposed subdivision design and density are similar to the surrounding single-family neighborhoods, therefore, the proposed amendment will not alter the existing development character and transitions. The proposed conservation of open space and slopes along the western boundary will provide a better buffer and land use transition with the Sunterra and at Vistoso and Vistoso Hill subdivisions to the west (see Attachment 5). The neighbors’ existing views of the Catalina Mountains to the east will also be maintained because the property is lower than the surrounding homes to the north and west.
 
It is worth noting that the existing commercial parcel was intended to be a golf clubhouse, and not a neighborhood commercial center for nearby residents. Given the low viability of a future golf course and the proximity of the Rancho Vistoso Safeway Shopping Center, it is readily apparent that a commercial use is no longer needed or viable on this property.
 
b. Impact existing uses with increased infrastructure without appropriate improvements to accommodate planned growth.

The westerly development is located along the future Moore Road extension. As a local roadway, Moore Road has more than enough capacity to serve the proposed residential subdivision and the future Amphi School site. The reason is due to the Moore Road extension being originally designed to serve a golf course, commercial development, Amphi School site, and more residential lots than the applicant’s proposal.

There is sufficient utilities planned to accommodate the proposed developments. To ensure adequate sewer services, the applicant must install a new lift station in the western portion of the property in accordance with the attached letter from the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (Attachment 10). This lift station will serve the applicant’s westerly development, the Amphi School site, and the Mattamy Homes subdivision to the northwest. A rezoning condition related to the sewer improvement is included in Attachment 1.

Water lines are not in place, therefore, the developer will be responsible for installing the infrastructure needed to extend the Oro Valley Water system. To ensure sufficient infrastructure, staff has added two rezoning conditions related to sewer and water improvements in Attachment 1.

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. 

The proposed development will not adversely impact police, fire or parks. With regards to recreational amenities, Mattamy Homes is currently constructing a new community park near the northwest corner of the property. To ensure Phase 2 of this park is completed, staff has added a rezoning condition (Attachment 1) that requires the future developers of the westerly development to complete Phase 2 of the Rancho Vistoso Community Park as shown on Attachment 11.

The drainage of Big Wash will be managed as a result of the applicant dedicating approximately 119-acres of open space to Pima County for conservation and flood control maintenance. A rezoning condition related to the open space dedication is included in Attachment 1.
 
d. Impact the natural beauty and environmental resources without suitable mitigation.                                 

The proposed development will conform to all applicable zoning provisions related to plant mitigation, landscape design and environmental conservation. To address the neighbors’ concerns for environmental conservation, the applicant proposes to:
  1. Set aside 119-acres of developable area as permanent open space
  2. Decrease disturbances within the adjacent floodplain and hillsides
  3. Remove development on slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhood to the west
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 18, 2017 and August 3, 2017 with approximately 85 and 50 residents, respectively. The main topics discussed at the meetings focused on the project’s compatibility with the surrounding area, suitability of roads (pinch point near Arrowsmith Drive), view protection, and conserving the natural environment.

In response to the neighbors’ concerns, the applicant has agreed to not build apartments, reduce the developable area, and decrease disturbances within the adjacent floodplain and hillsides. A rezoning condition to not build apartments has been added to Attachment 1, and the Zoning Map (Attachment 6) shows the applicant’s commitment for environmental conservation.

A copy of the neighborhood meeting summary notes is provided as Attachment 12.

3. All non-residential amendment requests will contribute positively to the long-term economic stability of the Town as demonstrated by consistency with goals and policies related to economic development and financial stability.

This criterion is not applicable as the proposed amendment is related to a residential development. However, it is worth noting that retaining a commercial use intended for a golf clubhouse on the western portion of the property would not benefit the community.
 
C.  PROPOSED PAD AMENDMENT (ITEM B)

The second request is a PAD Amendment (Attachment 3) to simplify the existing zoning from Open Space, Recreation Area/Golf Course, Medium High Density Residential, and Commercial to Open Space and Medium Density Residential.

The Rancho Vistoso Planned Area Development defines the proposed zoning districts as follows: 
  • Open Space: These are areas that are meant to provide a natural or garden environment. 
  • Medium Density Residential: Medium density has been located in areas with fewer natural constraints than very low and low density. Individual lots will be smaller. Significant vegetation or topography, and minor washes should be preserved as common open space whenever possible.
The Tentative Development Plan (Attachment 5) depicts:
  • Westerly and easterly development groupings
  • 408 lots with a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet
    • 166 lots in the western development
    • 242 lots in the eastern development
  • Building heights: 30’, two-story
  • 119-acres of developable area as future open space
  • Similar densities as the surrounding neighborhoods
    • Proposed densities: 3.60 and 2.90 dwelling units per acre
    • Surrounding density: Range is 2.0 to 8.9 dwelling units per acre, Average is 3.57 Dwelling units per acre
  • Access points to Moore Road and Arrowsmith Road (westerly development) and Rancho Vistoso Boulevard (easterly development)
  • Two community parks and Big Wash Trailhead
PAD Amendment Analysis
 
The proposed PAD Amendment has been reviewed for conformance with the Town of Oro Valley Zoning Code, Rancho Vistoso Planned Area Development and the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan. A discussion of the application’s conformance with each of these items is provided below.
 
Tentative Development Plan

Access and Circulation: The Tentative Development Plan shows that the westerly development will be accessed by a future extension of Moore Road, and the easterly development will be accessed from a new roadway that connects to Rancho Vistoso Boulevard to the east.  

The applicant proposes to reduce the total number of permitted homes in the western portion of the property which is located near most of the surrounding neighbors. At the same time, they propose to locate all additional homes in the eastern portion of the property where the proposed access will not be shared with any existing neighborhoods.
 
As noted earlier, Moore Road has sufficient capacity to serve the proposed westerly development because it was originally designed to serve a golf course, commercial development, Amphi School site, and more residential lots than the applicant is currently proposing.

Big Wash Trailhead: The Big Wash Trailhead is a recreational staging area located on the east side of the Rancho Vistoso loop and directly south of the proposed eastern access (Attachment 5). The site is intended to provide bicyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians with safe access to the existing trails located north of the project site. To ensure adequate amenities and access are provided, staff has added rezoning conditions (Attachment 1) related to dedicating public access, installing amenities, and sharing the trailhead costs with the future developers of Parcels H and I. Staff is currently working on an agreement with the applicant, therefore, an update will be provided at the November 8th Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.  

Pedestrian Trails: There are several pedestrian trails on the property that are located outside of a Pima County conservation easement (see Exhibit __ in Attachment 1). These trails lack legal access and connection to the existing trails to north and south of the property. To resolve this issue, staff has added a rezoning condition (Attachment 1) related to dedicating the land and public access.  

Neighborhood Compatibility: The proposed subdivision design (e.g., lot size, street configuration, access, etc.) is compatible with the surrounding area because 1) it is similar in design to the nearby single-family neighborhoods 2) has a lesser impact (e.g., building height, traffic, noise, etc.) than commercial zoning and 3) removes development on slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhood to the west.

To increase compatibility with the surrounding homes that are at a higher elevation, staff has added two rezoning condition that require the proposed rooftops and exposed bank protection to be painted an earth tone color (see Attachment 1).

Building Height: The proposed building height of 30’, two-story will not impact the neighbors existing views of the Catalina Mountains to the east due to the property being at least 30' to 100' lower than the surrounding homes to the north and east.

Building in the Floodplain: The existing and proposed developable areas are located within and adjacent to a FEMA floodplain that has a "Zone A" designation.  A "Zone A" designation refers to an approximated flood zone without a detailed study.  In order for development to occur adjacent to or within this floodplain, the applicant must submit a detailed drainage study to determine accurate floodplain boundaries, flood elevations and any required mitigation for encroachments and/or flood protection. The drainage study and associated improvements must conform to the requirements of the Town’s Floodplain Ordinance, Drainage Criteria Manual and FEMA regulations.

It is important to note that the property has existing development rights to build within mapped floodplain areas, however, the applicant is proposing to move the developable area further away from these floodplain areas resulting in less encroachment.

Rancho Vistoso PAD Analysis
 
The table below shows the required and proposed development standards.
 
MDR Standards Required Provided
Minimum lot size 5,000 sf 6,000 sf
Building height 30', two-story 30' two-story
Building setbacks Front: 20', Sides: 5' or 0, Rear: 10' Front: 20', Sides: 5' or 0, Rear: 10'

General Plan Analysis
 
The proposed PAD Amendment is consistent with the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan as stated in the General Plan Analysis section of this report.

Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL)

ESL does not apply to this area. Regardless of the ESL applicability, it is important to note that the development is positioned outside of the ESL Wildlife Corridor designation and proposes 119-acres of open space (e.g., 48% of the rezoning area).

D.  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

The following public notice has been provided:
  • Notification of 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
  • Post on property
  • Post at Town Hall and on Town website
  • Outside review agencies
Two neighborhood meetings were held on April 18, 2017 and August 3, 2017 with approximately 85 and 50 residents, respectively. The primary concern was allowance of any development in this area, because many residents were told or under the impression that nothing could be built in the floodplain.

The other topics discussed at the meetings focused on the project’s compatibility with the surrounding area, suitability of roads (concern about existing width of Arrowsmith Road), view protection, and conserving the natural environment. In response to the neighbors’ concerns, the applicant has agreed to not build apartments, reduce the developable area, and decrease disturbances within the adjacent floodplain and hillsides

The proposed amendment was sent to several outside agencies for a 60-day review in accordance with state law. To date, no comments have been received.

A copy of the neighborhood meeting summary notes is provided as Attachment 12 and numerous letters of objections are included as Attachment 13.

E.  SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION

In summary, there are a number of key factors regarding the proposed amendment. Those factors include:
  • The property has 30-year old entitlements from Pima County to develop a golf course, 421 single-family homes, and commercial uses on 250 acres and in environmentally sensitive areas (e.g., floodplain and hillsides).  
  • The proposed development will better respect the floodplain boundaries by increasing overall open space.
  • The proposal will minimize impacts to the environment by reducing the developable area established by Pima County.
  • The proposed amendments will improve the existing land use design as follows:
    • Dedicate 119-acres of developable area as permanent open space
    • Decrease disturbances within the adjacent floodplain and hillsides
    • Remove development on slopes directly behind the adjacent neighborhood to the west
    • Decrease the total number of homes on the property from 421 to 408
      • Reduce the total number of permitted homes in the western portion of the property (from 175 to 166) which is located near most of the surrounding neighbors.
      • All additional homes will be located in the eastern portion of the property where there are fewer neighbors and the proposed access is not shared with existing neighborhoods.
    • Remove golf course and commercial uses (e.g., high water use and non-viable developments)
    • Dedicate large segments of Big Wash to Pima County for environmental conservation and flood control maintenance
    • Dedicate public access easements for existing trails  
  • The neighbors' existing views of the Catalina Mountains to the west will be maintained because the project site is at least 30' to 100' lower than the surrounding homes.
  • A number of neighbors are opposed to the proposed residential development, however, the applicant has provided sufficient mitigation for environmental and neighborhood compatibility.
Based on the aforementioned factors, staff will be recommending approval of the proposed amendment, subject to rezoning conditions in Attachment 1, at the November 8, 2017 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
SUGGESTED MOTION:
The purpose of this first public hearing is to provide information on the proposed amendment and to serve as an opportunity for the public and Planning and Zoning Commissioners to provide input on the proposal and discuss any issues or concerns. As such, no action will be taken by the Commission during this meeting. A second public hearing will be held on November 8, 2017 where the Commission will again take public input, deliberate and provide a recommendation to Town Council.
Attachments
Attachment 1 - Rezoning Conditions
Attachment 2 - Type 1 General Plan Amendment Application
Attachment 3 - PAD Amendment Application
Attachment 4 - Location Map
Attachment 5 - Tentative Development Plan
Attachment 6 - Zoning Map
Attachment 7 - General Plan Map
Attachment 8 - Descriptions of General Plan Designations
Attachment 9 - Descriptions of Zoning Designations
Attachment 10 - Sewer Letter
Attachment 11 - Approved Recreation Plan
Attachment 12 - Neighborhood Meeting Summary Notes
Attachment 13 - Letters of objection


    

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