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Dewey/Humboldt community fights to stay rural

The Dewey-Humboldt Community Organization has started the ball rolling toward incorporating the two small communities. Their incentive is, not to become a new urban entity, but to save their rural lifestyle from Prescott Valley's urban encroachment.

In June, the Town of Prescott Valley annexed hundreds of acres of private property in Dewey, as well as school district property associated with Bradshaw Mountain Middle School. Working with developers, the Town will extend water and sewer lines into the annexed lands to serve a 1,000-home subdivision and commercial strip on the east side of the highway, and a shopping plaza on the west side.

The Dewey-Humboldt Community Organization (DHCO) views the annexation as an invasion of their community, and the unwanted high-density housing and commercial projects as destructive to their rural atmosphere.

Battle of the plans

"Six years ago DHCO filed a community plan with the county recorder's office," DHCO board member Vicky Cooksey said. "It showed the areas we considered our community. Prescott Valley annexed some of that area we identified and that's why it's become such a passion for a lot of people to incorporate. Annexing that last piece with Bradshaw Mountain Middle School was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Prescott Valley identified that parcel for annexation, as well as other properties in Dewey totaling 560 acres, in the Town's General Plan 2020, approved by PV residents in 2001.

PV Community Development Director Richard Parker said the Town and the property owners had been actively discussing the annexation since at least 1998. That's why the 1,000-home Quailwood Meadows housing development proposed for the recent annexation has a Certificate of Assured Water Supply, he said - the developer got his proposal in before the 1998 Groundwater Mining Declaration. Since that declaration state law requires housing developments to come up with an "alternative water supply" other than groundwater. Alternatives include buying grandfathered water rights from others; PV, for example, bought the water rights from the school district prior to annexing the middle school property in Dewey.

Parker said the Town knew of the DHCO community plan at the time it included the disputed Dewey parcel for annexation in General Plan 2020. The Town also knew that the high-density 1,000-home subdivision planned with the property owner was in conflict with DHCOs community plan.

"We were aware there was a DHCO plan adopted by the county board of supervisors," he said. "But the community plan document submitted by DHCO didn't recognize a pre-existing use planned for that parcel (by Prescott Valley). The Town's land use was warranted based on existing developed lands in PV, as well as the Town infrastructure planned for that area."

That infrastructure is the extension of town water and sewer lines to Quailwood Meadows and the middle school.

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