Deal made for fewer homes at Deep Well Ranch

Agreement touches on maximum homes, street construction, open space

Traffic enters the roundabout on Highway 89 where the future Deep Well Ranch subdivision will be centered.

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Traffic enters the roundabout on Highway 89 where the future Deep Well Ranch subdivision will be centered.

Under a development agreement drafted between the City of Prescott and Deep Well Ranch developers, a maximum of 8,000 homes would be allowed on the 1,800-acre property — “until such time as” an alternative water source is acquired.

That is just one example of the points included in a 34-page draft agreement (with an additional 14 pages of exhibits), that has been released by the City of Prescott.

The draft development agreement will be a main topic of discussion during a 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 21, study session by the Prescott City Council. The agenda item also includes an update on the revised master plan, engineering, airport, and traffic issues. The meeting is scheduled to take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

The 8,000-home number exceeds the 5,250 maximum that the Prescott Planning and Zoning had earlier suggested as a cap for the property, but is below the 10,500 that the developers have requested.

Still, the development agreement would allow for additional units if an alternative source of water were to become available.

The draft document states: “Notwithstanding that … the master plan permits a maximum of 10,500 dwelling units, no more than 8,000 dwelling units may be constructed on the property until such time as the city or an owner acquires an alternative water source, such as water from the Big Chino pipeline project.”

In earlier meetings, city officials have stated that Deep Well Ranch currently has the right to 950 acre-feet of water from the city, with an additional 900 acre-feet if and when the Big Chino Water Ranch pipeline becomes reality.

The 950 acre-feet of available water would serve between 3,194 and 3,993 single-family homes, according to city officials, or as many as 6,000 multi-family housing units.

The Planning and Zoning Commission earlier recommended that the City Council negotiate the maximum housing units down to half of the 10,500 number, or about 5,250 homes.

The draft development agreement also touches on numerous other points including: provisions for adding more adjacent properties in the future; rights-of-way and easements for infrastructure; airport avigation easements; construction of public infrastructure through creation of a community facilities district (CFD); maintenance of open space and parks; and a pedestrian and bicycle circulation system.

The development agreement has been a matter of negotiation between the city’s legal department and the developers for months, and the draft document became public late this past week.

The City Council plans to discuss the matter in a closed-door executive session today, Monday, Nov. 20, and then again in public at the Tuesday, Nov. 21, study session.

The council has indicated that a final vote on the document and the accompanying Deep Well Ranch master plan could occur at the Nov. 28 voting meeting, prior to the seating of newly-elected council members.

City Attorney Jon Paladini has stressed that the public would have an opportunity to review the draft development agreement before the vote, and his department released the draft document on Thursday, Nov. 16.

In recent months, the city has received dozens of comments and questions about the Deep Well project from the public, with many of them focusing the proposed number of homes, the water allocations, and traffic.