An area east of Sahuarita is the most likely to see significant growth, a planning team told the town’s Town Council this week.

Since January, the group has been developing conceptual plans for the land that range from low-density housing to apartments, said Linda Morales, principal of The Planning Center.

The group also is looking at commercial land use to go along with the housing, as well as retail, a town center with a public space, education uses, parks and recreation, and more.

Feedback has been provided to the group through public meetings and online comments, Morales said.

The population of Sahuarita has grown immensely: up from about 3,200 in 2000 to more than 26,300 in 2013.

“There are two types of growth: the growth that’s going to come whether you want it or not, or the growth that you plan for,” said council member Gil Lusk.

Last August, the Star reported that town staff members and consultants had met a few times during the year to discuss how the town could take in roughly 60 square miles from the State Land Department.

The land lies between the current town limits and South Houghton Road.

In the fall, the working group will likely take three concept plans to the public, as well as to an advisory committee, to receive more input.

Although the General Plan is based on a 20-year time frame, Morales said the full expansion of Sahuarita to Houghton Road could take 50 years or longer.

In October, the group will take a recommended concept plan to the Sahuarita Town Council for a vote, before it is integrated in the town’s General Plan update in July 2015.

Alison Dorf is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at