After more than three hours of discussion, the Oro Valley Town Council opted to table a zoning issue regarding a proposed apartment complex in Rancho Vistoso.
The council is considering an amendment to the Rancho Vistoso Planned Area Development district that would allow an apartment complex to be built in neighborhood 7, located at the northwest corner of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Tangerine Road.
In a 4-1 vote earlier this month, the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the amendment.
The WLB Group design firm submitted the application, with plans to build a 240-unit apartment complex.
David Williams, the town’s planning division manager, said there is some confusion over the wording in the current Planned Area Development (PAD), which was originally approved in 1987.
The subject property is currently designated C-1, which states the district, “may include uses associated with the central business district.”
Williams explained that multi-family residential is one of the uses allowed within the central business district or Town Center portion of Rancho Vistoso.
Williams said the use of the word “may” has some staff members wondering if the zoning amendment is needed at all.
Councilman Lou Waters said he is concerned about the language. He asked Town Attorney Tobin Rosen how much authority the council has over something that could already be in place.
Another legal issue to consider is the number of residents opposing the project. Williams explained that because more than 20 percent of area residents have opposed the project through email, mail or telephone, state law requires a two-thirds council vote for it to move forward.
At the time of the meeting, 32 percent of area residents opposed the project.
During the public meeting, the packed audience spoke out against the project for a multitude of reasons. These ranged from public safety, to school district overcrowding and traffic concerns.
The proposed apartments would be located between Woodburne Avenue and Tangerine. Several residents stressed that Woodburne is already overloaded, and there is no current access to Tangerine Road.
Paul Keesler, Oro Valley’s interim manger of development and infrastructure, said there are traffic issues on Woodburne, but he felt the apartments would push traffic farther south and require the installment of a four-way stop sign that could later become a stoplight.
Resident Brad Lewis said, “Bringing in these apartments is not going to help our quality of life. I strongly urge you to deny this today.”
Bill Adler, who does not live in Sun City Vistoso, said he’s concerned because unlike most zoning amendments, the developer has yet to provide the city with any development plans for the actual project.
After a lengthy discussion, council members agreed there are still too many questions and issues to be addressed before they can officially vote.
The council will discuss the amendment proposal again during its regular Nov. 16 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers.
With the current C-1 zoning, city officials stressed to residents that the developer can still have commercial development on the 23-acre property without council approval.