Plans to build 196 “luxury casitas” on 15 acres of undeveloped land along Sabino Canyon Road between East River and Cloud roads got a green light from most of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The lone holdout to the controversial project was Supervisor Ally Miller — who represents the district where the property owner wants permission to build 13 units per acre.
Miller sided with nearby residents who have flooded the county with phone calls and emails opposing the development proposed by Sabino Canyon Road Properties.
In the past few months, the county has received 66 letters opposing the development as well as a petition signed by 120 people.
During the same time period, county staffers received 27 letters in favor of the development.
On Tuesday, Miller said she was concerned about traffic along Sabino Canyon and River Roads, which are at or above their maximum capacity during rush hour.
Fellow Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll initially voted with Miller when she tried to reject the comprehensive plan amendment the property owner is seeking. But her motion failed on a 2-3 vote along party lines.
Carroll sided with the three Democrats on the board in a subsequent vote, hinting he would be willing to bring back the issue with a reconsideration motion if Miller had a significant and legal objection to the current proposal.
The decision on Tuesday overrides the recommendation from the Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission, which was to let Aerie Development build only 150 homes.
The site is just south of East River Road, at the northeast corner of North Sabino Canyon and East Cloud roads.
The property currently has an approved land use for low-density suburban ranch development, allowing for three units per acre.
Today’s decision is not the end of the road for those opposed to the development.
Sabino Canyon Road Properties will still need to go through a rezoning process with the county, requiring hearings before the planning and zoning commission and the county board of supervisors.
Bob Gugino, an attorney and one of the owners of the 15.14-acre site, said the best-case scenario would have the project break ground by the end of 2014.
No plans have been released on what the developed site might look like, but Aerie Development received approval from the board to build 53 one-story rental units on about six acres across the street from the current proposal development.