County OK's Sabino Canyon Road rezoning

2014-05-07T00:00:00Z County OK's Sabino Canyon Road rezoningBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning Tuesday for 130 “luxury casitas” along Sabino Canyon Road between East River and Cloud roads, despite opposition from residents who live near the proposed project.

The vote was 4-1, with Supervisor Ally Miller opposed.

The developer, Sabino Canyon Road Properties, plans to build 130 three-bedroom rental units on 15.14 acres.

Residents in the area had been vocal in their opposition of the project, but a few people changed their minds after the developer made a series of compromises.

Some speakers who supported the development said they had previously opposed it until they learned of the compromises.

A couple of those said the development was better than other potential uses for the land, such as a retail store or charter school.

But Miller said residents, county officials and board members did not receive updated information on the project until recently, and didn’t have adequate time to review the materials before deciding to accept the proposal.

She was also concerned the developer agreed to the compromises with only a few homeowners, while the majority of residents were not aware of the changes.

Miller wanted to delay the vote to give residents more time to review the compromises.

The developer met with representatives from a nearby neighborhood association, as well as homeowners who live closest to the property.

“My concern is the majority of the people up there have not had adequate time to understand and be able to review whether or not they accept this project,” Miller said.

Bob Gugino, an attorney and one of the owners of the property, responded he was willing to discuss the project and negotiate with Miller, but said he called her several times and never got a response.

“When I don’t hear from you, I can only negotiate with those who are willing to talk,” Gugino said.

The exchange led to a contentious back-and-forth between the two, with Miller accusing Gugino of not wanting to compromise.

About 20 people spoke during the meeting, with most of them opposing the project.

Opponents complained the development density is high for the area and would bring too many homes and too much traffic, while disturbing their quality of life.

There were also concerns about water availability.

The Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission opposed the rezoning in March, but that was before the developer made the compromises.

County officials supported the rezoning request despite acknowledging concerns about road capacity, water usage and the project’s design.

Sabino Canyon Road Properties originally proposed building 169 rental homes on the land, but reduced the number because of complaints from neighbors.

The company also vowed to increase the buffer between the development and the adjacent roads, which will allow for more landscaping in the area, said Erin Harris, a civil engineer with Star Consulting of Arizona, which is working with the developer.

Project officials are looking to start construction in three months, Harris said.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4242. On Twitter: @JamarYounger

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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