Concerns continue over desert property in Oro Valley

Concerns continue over desert property in Oro Valley
Concerns over Oro Valley land (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There won't be construction any time soon, but concerns continue over what could be the future for some Oro Valley homeowners.

The concerns are coming from 885-acres of land on the edge of town. The state-owned property is split on the north and south sides of Tangerine Road, bordered by North Coyote Crossing Trail, West Moore Road, North Thornydale Road and Camino del Norte.

Rich Hyatt, who has lived on Coyote Crossing Trail for nearly a decade, was one of several residents in the public meeting at Oro Valley Council Chambers Thursday evening.

“We moved to that house knowing it was state trust land, knowing it would eventually be developed,” said Hyatt. “But we kind of took it for granted, that the state would respect our property rights as opposed to destroying them.”

KMSB Doomed by development

Hyatt, and many others in the meeting that was standing room only, told representatives from the state and town that development would be destroying what is desired by residents - a desert landscape over high-density housing.

Meeting about concerns over Oro Valley land was standing room only. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Meeting about concerns over Oro Valley land was standing room only. (Source: Tucson News Now)

Katie Reffruschinni doesn't even live in Oro Valley, but is concerned the town could be cutting corners on the lengthy process ahead.

“It’s not state-owned land, we own it. The people of Arizona own it. It’s state education trust land,” said Ruffruschinni. “I don’t mind the growth, I’m not real fond of high-density. But to me, it’s irrelevant, because it’s unconstitutional.”

Oro Valley town staff brought forward the possibility of annexation of the state-owned land in November 2009.

Town Planning Manager Bayer Vella told Tucson News Now growth now kicked off the conversation again.

“It’s come to the forefront because there’s been so much change,” said Vella. “We have an interest in making sure, at a gateway of ours, that it’s done in a very well-managed manner, and that all of the pieces come together in a way that meets our standards."

It’s a conversation that won’t end any time soon. The land still needs to be rezoned and will need to be auctioned off to find the highest bidder. The town won’t even consider the annexation until the newly elected council members start next year.

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