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5:25 PM Thu, Oct. 18th

Big crowd turns out for Viewpoint discussion

Prescott Valley’s Planning and Zoning meeting, Monday night, Dec. 11, was packed beyond capacity. The committee needed to turn on the TV in the overflow area. (Jason Wheeler/Tribune)

Prescott Valley’s Planning and Zoning meeting, Monday night, Dec. 11, was packed beyond capacity. The committee needed to turn on the TV in the overflow area. (Jason Wheeler/Tribune)

There was a standing-room only, and then some, crowd at Monday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in Prescott Valley to hear about plans for a zoning map change in the Viewpoint development north of Highway 89A, as well as the future of the Jasper development west of Granville.

The listed occupancy of the Prescott Valley Public Library Auditorium is 252, and the number of people inside exceeded that, with a ring of five deep standing in some places along the outer edge.

In addition, another 20 or so stood outside, unable to get in, and watched the proceedings streaming live on the lobby’s television set.

Viewpoint North, LLC, was before the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting a zoning map change to modify the sequence of its planned off-site improvements, and to allow more units than what the town council approved in the Master Plan Concept Report.

In the mid-1990s, the Prescott Valley Town Council entered an agreement — and subsequently approved an ordinance — with Viewpoint. However, during the recession, the ordinance expired, leaving about 150 acres remaining undeveloped.

Viewpoint is not asking for any changes in the master plan, zoning and density. The applicant came before the P&Z Commission asking to modify the sequence of what offsite improvements it will build.

Any modifications to the schedule requires a revised master development plan come before the commission, with a public meeting, and a vote to recommend or not recommend the changes to the town council.

After an hour of discussion and hearing public comments, the commission decided to table the request and set a work-study meeting with town staff to “get all our ducks in a row, so we can be sure we know exactly where we are going with this,” Commissioner Richard Duskey said.

The original Master Plan Concept Report approved by the town required certain infrastructure improvements as Viewpoint was developed. The timing of the improvements is connected to unit thresholds. The developer has reached and marginally exceeded those thresholds without putting in the improvements, which include roadway widening, sewer lift station relocation, water well and storage capacity increases, and various interior roadway work.

The development proposes changing the timing. As it sells each new unit, it would set aside a specified amount of money to pay for the required improvements.

Viewpoint resident Paula Burr asked who will pay for the improvements, the developer or the town?

“You’re getting ready to approve something and you don’t know who will pay?” she asked the commissioners.

Richard Parker, PV Community Development director, replied that all obligations in the original zoning ordinance and stipulations had to take place before housing construction begins, and the developer pays for those obligations.

The town council amended the original Preliminary Development Plan in 2001, approving construction on only that portion of Viewpoint North located west of Robert Road because of conflicts with road alignments on the east side, adjacent to the Pronghorn Ranch development.

In 2002, another amendment restored the original roadway configurations, and reduced the total number of dwelling units to 2,440. A third amendment in 2003 reconfigured an area for multi-family and single-family housing, reducing the total again to 2,270.

Further requests for changes followed in 2003, and the council, in 2004, approved the restoration of the project to 2,530. The town has approved the platting of 1,464 lots, with an additional 1,066 lots in the future.

Town staff recommends reordering the sequence of required improvements. Dava & Associates engineers estimate a cost of $3.34 million to complete the five offsite improvements. In order of need, these are:

Ground water pump and pump house at the second well site.

Participation in a shared-use water storage tank.

Roadway work on Viewpoint Drive between Pronghorn Ranch Parkway and Parkview Drive.

Completion of Viewpoint Drive to the north property line.

Connection of Parkview Drive east to Pronghorn Ranch.

Resident Paul Rougland said the developer again was pushing the improvements off.

“Some of the things should have been done when they should have been done. Now, we’re hearing, ‘Well, we’ll do it later, much later.’ It seems absurd,” he said.

Other residents mentioned several concerns, water availability being one. However, Matt Zurcher, chair of the commission, said water was not a part of the public hearing, and declined to hear comments on the issue.

Other concerns were the 5-foot sidewalks, with one suggestion being to change it to a 10-foot multi-use pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.

On Tuesday following the meeting, resident Isabel Cerecedes said, “The issue is about a lot more than the infrastructure and the financing by the developer.” She said the town has forgotten about the most important part of the puzzle – the residents of Prescott Valley and those in the Viewpoint community.

“The community desires lower density, and it seems to me that the density needs to be addressed and determined prior to the infrastructure and financing,” Cerecedes said.

At the forthcoming meeting, Parker said the commission and town staff will discuss the sidewalks, a secondary access road, how to accelerate the improvements, assumptions made in 1995 that no longer hold true, and traffic.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.