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Letters to Planning & Zoning on the South Village
Posted May 7, 2001

The following letters were read to to Pinal County Commissioners on April 19, 2001. 

The letters requested the commissioners to disapprove the request by Anam Inc.  to rezone 4,6000 acres north of Oracle Junction to allow the construction of a city that would house over 20,000 people.

About 20 other spoke extemporaneously in opposition to the rezoning. 

No one spoke in support of the rezoning.

In spite of the overwhelming opposition by residents, the commissioners voted to forward the rezoning request to the Pinal County Supervisors for their consideration.

April 18, 2001
Dear Planning Commissioners,

First, allow me apologize for not being present at this very important meeting.  I, like many others could not attend because of work and distance constraints.  I am very appreciative of the local citizens that are in attendance today. 

 Each and every one of you must consider the many negative impacts that this development would have on the existing communities near it. You will hear a lot of these problems today, but I will focus only on one. Water.  The issue is surprisingly simple, and easy to explain.

When I submitted a water question to a meeting of “ water experts” recently, I was surprised when my question was disallowed.  The question is simple and could be answered by any one of you on the panel today.  I’ll ask it again.

Acknowledging the fact that Tucson is exhausting its own and imported ground water supplies and is now in the process of converting to the use of Central Arizona Project water, do you think that this rural area can be developed on Tucson's model of golf courses and high density homes without depleting the ground water? 

Of course not!  As a friend put it so appropriately, “ you don't have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.”

 When I submitted another question to Willow Springs development experts at their public meeting last Thursday, I was surprised when my question was ignored.  Partly because it was the very first question submitted to the panel, and because anyone could answer it easily.  I'll ask it again.

Having heard your promises of environmentally sensitive planning and appropriate resource use, do you think that your plan to include golf courses is either environmentally sensitive or appropriate use of the limited water resources in this desert environment?

Of course not!

You will hear the development proponents make many promises today, but when questioned by the public, they have no answers.

I would like the commission to know that the Willow Springs development under consideration this morning is not in the best interest of residents in southern Pinal County.  Approval of this land speculation plan would be a betrayal of the public's trust by this commission. 

Christopher Holleman R.T.

To:  Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission of Pinal County

From:  James T. Austin

Re:  South Village, Willow Springs P.A.D.

The P.A.D. submitted for Willow Springs South Village includes a great deal of rhetoric concerning the use of "green" building designs, living within a water budget, water harvesting, and enhanced potential for regenerative development; yet nowhere does it specify how that is
to be accomplished.  The details for the rezoning request include little more than maximum densities, permitted uses, and development standard that are essentially tables of off-sets.  Furthermore, the P.A.D. states the likelihood that planning areas will develop at different times and by different developers.  There is no guarantee that once the zoning change is granted, the project will proceed as presented.  The philosophy of maximizing the return on the investment
will likely prevail, and all the higher values will go by the wayside.

Also, talk about "carrying capacity of wildlife and flora and the rural character of the area will be maintained" is ludicrous to even consider.  It is impossible to have a city of 8516 units straddling the wildlife corridors between Black Mountain and the Catalinas without doing irreparable environmental damage to the region, in spite of the use of words like towns and villages instead of cities to label the project.

If you approve of this requested rezoning, you are giving away some of the most economically valuable assets of the county.  Given the rate that the population is increasing in Arizona, Pinal County's open deserts, foothills and mountains have a tremendous potential to
attract the recreational dollar.  Once you rezone, it is lost forever. What you decide here today has implications for the future that far exceeds your lifetime.

    James T. Austin
    19 April 2001

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