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Please support our Rio Verde Foothills Preservation Efforts.

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Dear RVHA Members and Rio Verde Foothills Home, Property Owners, Residents of the surrounding areas and Visitors who enjoy our rural area:

Today we are faced with perhaps one of the most critical rural development issues to ever confront our area, rural western lifestyles and our quality of life. The present situation, if left un-challenged will not only impact us, our properties, water availability, and quality of life, but it will also impact our children and grandchildren should they choose to remain in the foothills. Please carefully review the attached information, and then please sign this petition and add your voice is support of our Rio Verde Foothills Preservation Efforts.

Rio Verde Horsemen’s s Association concerns with Vista Verde Development Master Plan (VVDMP). 

The Association was organized in 1998 and ended 2013 with over 650 members. Our mission statement is: The Rio Verde Horsemen’s is dedicated to protecting all horse properties, large and small alike, and the preserving horse privileges along with our rural lifestyle. The Association is committed to uniting our horse community in working toward these goals. Membership is open to all, horse owners and non-horse owners alike, who support our purpose. We are not a "homeowners association", we do not restrict, regulate or police." 

A major area of concern is that the original Vista Verde (now "Tegevah") plan dates from 1973. Much has changed in the past 40 years. We are in the 14th year of a drought that shows no sign of abatement – weather patterns indicate continuance an exacerbation of drought conditions. Likewise in 40 years, Dynamite / Rio Verde Road has seen a marked increase in traffic volume due to residential and equestrian development along the corridor. Given this evolution, we see it as imperative that water, traffic, and air impacts be evaluated.

Also, the density and development plans for Vista Verde are inconsistent with the Rio Verde Foothills Area Plan (RVFAP) which is a part of the Maricopa County Comprehensive Plan. (http://maricopa.gov/Planning/Resources/Plans/AreaLandUsePlan/RioVerdeFoothillsAreaPlan.aspx ) (http://maricopa.gov/Planning/Resources/Plans/ComprehensivePlan.aspx

The proposed 1460 unit plan represents a near-doubling of residents in the 1.33 square mile plan area. Since approx. 50% of Vista Verde area zoning will not be changed, and non-residential (commercial) land area is being increased, the density for the remaining residential land will be very high. The developer is even asking for smaller building spaces by requesting 50’ lot widths within the R1-6 and R-3 (6000 and 3000 sq ft lots) which usually require min. 60’ width. The periphery of the DMP area will be zoned R1-6 with max. 30’ 2-story homes. The interior residential will have max. 40’ 3-story townhouses. The interior commercial spaces are max. 40’. 

Despite many glowing descriptions about up-scale and high-end development, there are no restrictions being placed on the zoning changes beyond those designated by ordinance – which does not enforce style or amenities and, in the case of the C-2 commercial zoning, allows for very broad uses – some of which are quite contrary to the Rio Verde Foothills Area (RVFA). This is simply an ongoing effort by this developer to increase the density that must be curtailed. There is another 2 square miles waiting for this density increase to be approved so it can follow suit. 

RVHA Concerns fall into 4 major areas: 

I. Water: a. The proposed plan represents a near-doubling of water consumption due to increased population density and increased commercial space. The Maricopa County Planning and Zoning Commission Hearing on 12/12/2013 approved the increased C2 zoning within the VVDMP, as well as a density increase from the originally approved 1.0 to 1.7 (Tonto Verde and Rio Verde are at a 1.5 density.) 

b. While VVDMP will obtain water from the Rio Verde Utilities and has guaranteed the requisite 100-year supply, the impact on the adjoining aquifer has not been evaluated as it would have been in the case of application to drill new wells. Numerous wells in the Rio Verde Foothills Area (RVFA) have either run dry, or have had to be drilled deeper. Ranches and residences in the area will be affected by an acceleration of the descent of the water table which may never affect VVDMP directly. 

II. Traffic: a. The proposed 1460 units will likely add 3000 vehicles to the area. The expectation is that the majority of that traffic will impact Dynamite Road / Rio Verde Drive directly. It is our understanding that the Sierra Reserve development on top of the hill on the north side of East Rio Verde Drive, east of the Scottsdale National Golf Club was required by the City of Scottsdale to provide 2 additional lanes to accommodate the traffic. This is based on the addition of ~250 additional residences using Dynamite/Rio Verde Drive as the only egress to and from the development. Vista Verde / Tegavah will add nearly six times the number of dwellings. 

b. The publicly stated 10 -15 year plan will necessitate increased traffic of heavy equipment related to construction. Prior experience indicated that there will be increased road wear, debris on and along the roadway, and debris related vehicle damage resulting from intense development traffic. Other municipalities have required measures such as street sweeping during construction periods. 

c. The RVFA around VVDMP is Open Range. While it is our belief that no one is actively grazing cattle on open range, there are residual wild cattle, wild horses, and large numbers of fenced livestock in the area. To the best of our understanding, the impact on animal husbandry and public safety of the increased traffic has not been addressed. 

III. Energy: a. It is our understanding that current SRP infrastructure will not accommodate the increased demand without additional infrastructure which is likely to include a new sub-station on the SRP property at 152nd St, north of Dynamite Road / Rio Verde Drive. 

b. We have not seen impact studies of energy demand increase. This would include effect of intense electromagnetic field on surrounding residence and livestock operations. 

c. Esthetic concern regarding additional substation(s) and energy infrastructure is a quality of life consideration for the neighborhood. 

d. The same considerations regarding construction activities (2. B., above) apply to the Utility build-outs as well. We understand that these will be of a considerably shorter duration than the VVDMP construction schedule. 

IV. Quality of Life a. Scenery – either blocked or changed by 40’ buildings 

b. Serenity – construction noise and unconstrained C-2 commercial uses 

c. Lighting - evening construction lights and additional direct or indirect lighting from parking lots, streets, and high-density residential. 

d. Road Debris 

e. Air Quality 

Position of RVHA with respect to the above: 

I. Water: a. RVHA wants an independent analysis and State of Arizona Department of Water Resources review of the effect of the VVDMP on the aquifer serving the community represented in part by the RVHA. 

b. Should reasonable probability of negative impact to the RVFA community be determined, the expectation is that the VVDMP will include and fund water provisioning to the community, property owners, and ranchers so impacted. 

c. Alternatively, VVDMP can scale down development to a level which would eliminate impact. 

II. Traffic: a. RVHA wants an independent analysis and State of Arizona Department of Transportation review of the effect of the VVDMP on the traffic increase due to the development. This should be coordinated with the City of Scottsdale, as traffic on Dynamite Road/Rio Verde Drive must pass through Scottsdale to reach shopping and services in Scottsdale and the surrounding communities. Impact includes road damage due to construction traffic, hauling and heavy equipment. 

b. Should determination be made that there would be a negative effect on the two lane sections of Dynamite Road/Rio Verde Drive, appropriate expansion of the roadway with added lanes, turn-outs, and turn lanes, as well as during, and post -construction cleaning and maintenance must be included in the VVDMP. 

c. As MCDOT has designated Rio Verde Dr as a minor arterial (4-lane) roadway (see http://www.mcdot.maricopa.gov/technical/eng-manuals/2011-June_MCDOT-MSRP.pdf), Vista Verde should participate in the roadway improvements either adjoining the DMP property or equivalent road improvements (for example, turn lanes) along Rio Verde Dr to mitigate traffic problems so as to not place all the roadway improvements on existing taxpayers. 

III. Utilities: a. RVHA wants an SRP analysis of the effect of the VVDMP on the utility infrastructure requirement increase due to the Vista Verde development. 

b. Should additional infrastructure and substations be required, RVHA requests that it be contained, to the extent SRP design and engineering can accommodate, within the bounds of the VVDMP on easements granted to SRP by VVDMP for that purpose and that new or changed infrastructure must be installed underground. 

IV. Quality of Life a. Scenery: RVHA requests maximum 30’ building heights. 

b. Serenity – construction noise be limited to agreed SPL levels at the DMP property limits during early morning and late afternoon hours (exact times to be agreed). Commercial property be limited to C-1 uses except as required for narrowly interpreted golf shop and restaurant uses. 

c. Lighting - broad area lighting such as construction lights, night golf, etc. are not allowed, and additional direct or indirect lighting from parking lots, streets, and high-density residential must be shielded to remain within the boundaries of the DMP. 

d. Dust & Road Debris - The current, somewhat comparable development in the area is the Lyle Anderson Companies’ Sierra Reserve on Dynamite/Rio Verde Road and roughly 128th St. in North Scottsdale. The City of Scottsdale is requiring dust control and street sweeping to manage dust and road debris for the adjacent community and safety of the Dynamite/Rio Verde Road traffic. We request similar considerations in the Vista Verde discussions. 

e. Air Quality - an ADEQ particulate monitoring site is nearby the Vista Verde site, on Forest Road. Increased dust could have a negative impact on their numbers, and create potential air quality compliance issues. Dust control measures must be carefully monitored. 

PLESE ACT NOW IN SUPPORT OF OUR PRESERVATION EFFORTS 

Time is of the essence, and we need each and every home and property owner in the Rio Verde Foothills, as well as those folks from the surrounding communities who visit this beautiful and pristine area to horse back ride, hike, bike, photograph, 4x4, etc., to educate themselves regarding the very real concerns with this proposed new development and then to add their / your names to this petition in support of our position paper, and our Rio Verde Foothill Preservation Efforts.

The Rio Verde Foothills is one of the last truly open areas where we can enjoy the pristine beauty of the unique Sonoran Desert and its creatures. Please help us to preserve it.

 

 

 

 



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