Editorial: Growth will come, we need to manage it smartly

During the uproar of Chino Valley’s Town Council considering a bid to put a motorsports facility at Old Home Manor, then-Mayor Chris Marley offered some sage words:

Paraphrasing, Marley said everyone wants to be the last person to move to town, then close the door right behind them.

We have seen that sentiment play out recently in comments from readers upset over plans to build the Deep Well project or adding homes along the Peavine Trail, part of the Arizona Eco Development project.

Growth is going to happen, there is no way to stop it. People bought property here many years ago and they have as much a right to build on it as did those who have already built out their properties. If you believe in property rights, then you can’t support closing the door and keeping everyone out.

That does not mean, however, that officials should just allow any development to proceed without careful thought and planning. There are legitimate concerns about water resources, and infrastructure that need to be addressed.

And keeping in mind the sensitivities of neighbors would benefit all involved. People moved here expecting a rural, mid-city life. They do not want the traffic jams and dense populations of major cities.

In today’s paper The Courier prints a story that points out there have been three crashes of airplanes on land where the Deep Well project is planned. With it very likely the airport will expand during the time it takes to build Deep Well, it is prudent to expect there will be more plane crashes and plan accordingly.

We also need people to be smart when purchasing homes. If you buy a home next to the airport, you forfeit most of your rights to complain about airport noise.

And that is our point. Growth is coming, it is both unrealistic and wrong to think current residents can tell others they can’t move here.

Our local governments must be smart is how they manage that growth through zoning laws and reviews of developments. When someone proposes a 14-story building, they have to say no. When they propose 10,000 new homes, they better have a plan for water.

And developers need to be smart as well. A home in the Dells would be something most would desire, but if you ruin the experience of hikers by building too close to the Peavine Trail, or erecting walls to block the views similar to parts of the trail in Chino Valley, would actually remove a selling point to the development.

Two of the people who opposed that motorsports facility in Chino Valley recognized that dilemma.

Brightstar residents Tom and Melissa Austin entered the council’s chamber against the race track at Old Home Manor. Both left ‘on the fence.’

“We were talking about it yesterday, we bought a home that’s butted up against the Peavine Trail deliberately so no one could develop near us,” Tom Austin said. “It’s not lost on us that there are people on the other side of our house who are now saying, ‘Our view is gone.’ It’s bitter to be on the receiving end of that.”