Council approves documents to accommodate sale of StoneRidge to new developer

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Town Council Thursday night approved several legal documents to accommodate the pending sale of the undeveloped home sites in the StoneRidge subdivision from SunCor to the M3 Cos.

Among other things, the documents deal with the community facilities district that the town government and Tempe-based SunCor created in 2001 to finance public improvements at the subdivision. M3 Cos., based in Phoenix, also requested extending the development agreement from June 30, 2014, to June 30, 2030, to provide more time to build out StoneRidge, located in the hills south of Highway 69.

The council met at first as the CFD board, and spent a half-hour deliberating on the documents.

"The important thing to understand is we really do appreciate a new ownership group," Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said at the start of the CFD meeting. "We look forward to the day we get back to building." Tarkowski doubles as the CFD manager.

The CFD board approved a transfer of the CFD development agreement from SunCor to StoneRidge Partners LLC, which M3 created to finish the subdivision.

"We have gone over this many, many times," Vice Mayor Patty Lasker said in her capacity as vice chairwoman of the CFD board. She and Councilman Henry Schmitt live in StoneRidge.

The second item, an amendment to the bond financing for the CFD, generated more discussion and comments from StoneRidge homeowners Sharon Atkins and Linda "Bear" Shimmin. The town issued $14.8 million in bonds in 2001 to finance the StoneRidge Drive bridge and other public improvements.

Atkins asked about provisions to protect homeowners.

That issue became a concern after Tarkowski announced in December that SunCor faced a pending bankruptcy. He expressed concern at the time that homeowners could face a doubling of their secondary property taxes if SunCor were to go belly up.

A two-year resident, Atkins expressed concerns about the homeowners not having a say when the town and SunCor established the CFD and issued the bond.

SunCor was one of the top developers in Arizona in 2000, Town Attorney Ivan Legler said, responding to Atkins' comments.

Atkins said, "I don't want M3 to go away."

Like Atkins, Shimmin expressed concerns about protecting homeowners. She noted M3 Partner Bill Brownlee on July 21 declined to respond to questions about M3's finances from Schmitt on the grounds that M3 is privately held.

"In theory, this is a wonderful idea," Shimmin said. "In practice, I would like to be assured."

Tarkowski said the democratic process provides protection to the homeowners.

If M3 were to return two years later to ask for additional bond financing, homeowners could pack the CFD meeting to express outrage about the possibility of more debt, Tarkowski indicated.

Shimmin said, "I feel great now. Thank you for your information. Thank you for the work you have done."

After the CFD meeting, the council approved some of the CFD documents and similar ones. Mayor Harvey Skoog and Councilman Don Tjiema did not attend the meeting.

The council also voted to hire Southwest Tank and Steel of Cottonwood for $68,260 to paint the water storage tanks in the Tank Farm off Prescott East Highway and Antelope Lane.