Fountain Hills tract density disputed - East Valley Tribune: News

Fountain Hills tract density disputed

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Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 5:05 am | Updated: 4:11 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A group of former Fountain Hills leaders is worried that too many homes will be built in the soon-to -be annexed two square miles of state trust land.

In a letter sent earlier this month, a group including two former mayors and a former Town Council member objected to the 1,750 homes planned for the area northeast of town.

The group stated that while it agrees annexation is in the best interest of the community, they fear “such development could result in a level of excessive grading and intense density that is inconsistent with the majority of the remainder of our community.”

The letter is signed by former mayors Jerry Miles and Sharon Morgan and former council member Sharon Hutcheson, along with former McDowell Mountain Preservation Commission chairman Roy Kinsey, sanitary director Bob Thomson, past Chamber of Commerce board president Judi Yates and resident Bob Deppe.

Hutcheson said the group wrote the letter because it feels the land is not being developed in the best interests of the town.

“It’s my opinion that the lots are too small and there’s too many houses,” Hutcheson said. “We didn’t think that number of houses would be what we wanted to see on that land.”

The group offered several suggested changes to the plan, including increasing lot sizes, eliminating the commercially zoned area and introducing a spot for multifamily dwellings, such as condos.

“It certainly isn’t about not annexing or not developing — everybody’s past that. It’s just how it’s developed and how it impacts and influences the rest of Fountain Hills,” she said. “We think there’s a better plan for this area that will benefit Fountain Hills.”

The town has been looking at incorporating the 1,312 acres of land, bounded by Fountain Hills on the south and west, for the last 15 years.

In January, the Arizona State Land commissioner approved pre-annexation plans to incorporate the open space and develop it according to existing town regulations.

Housing is zoned for lowand medium-density, with an average of 1.37 houses per acre.

“It has always been in the town’s interest to have this property at the lowest density that was practical from the property owner’s perspective,” said Town Attorney Andrew McGuire. “That’s where the 1,750 number came out — it was the lowest number that we could convince the state was practical.”

He also said that the town is taking all suggestions into consideration.

On Monday, the state’s election board, composed of the governor, the attorney general and the treasurer, approved the annexation.

The Town Council will hold a public hearing April 13 and consider approving the general plan and annexing the land on May 4. If approved, the land would become part of the town on June 4.

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