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10:22 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Traffic woes surround annexation, subdivision<BR>Mount Vernon and Senator Highway residents urge City Council to resolve existing issues first

PRESCOTT – As controversy continues to surround a proposal for annexation of about 37 acres of land along Senator Highway, the plans for the related subdivision are evolving.

At their study session Tuesday afternoon, members of the Prescott City Council listened to more than an hour of comments about a Senator Highway annexation that the city has been considering for more than a year.Residents who live along historic Mount Vernon Avenue, as well as those in the large-lot areas along Senator Highway, have long opposed the annexation, which would allow developers to combine the 37 acres with 34 adjoining acres that are already in city limits to build a 72-lot subdivision.

Throughout the months of consideration, residents in the area have contended that the city should resolve existing issues with traffic on Mount Vernon Avenue and Senator Highway before approving any new subdivisions. Once again, much of the discussion this week focused on traffic – particularly on possible routes that the developers proposed as alternate access roads into the development.

A memo for the council from the Community Development Department pointed out that the current site plan from Crystal Creek Homes Inc. shows an extension of Haisley Road in an easterly direction, in the general vicinity of the existing Tenney Lane (a private drive). In addition, the plan showed two options for possible street extensions to the northeast.

But Mount Vernon resident Michele Sensing questioned whether the city should become involved in building an alternate route that would benefit the developers. "As a taxpayer, I don't think it's our responsibility to provide these people with a street," Sensing told the council.

But council members maintained that such a route would also help to alleviate traffic on the busy Senator Highway and Mount Vernon Avenue.

"It benefits you," Councilman John Steward told Sensing.

Senator Highway-area resident Glenn Gustafson doubted, however, whether any of the routes that the developers were proposing would be convenient enough to attract drivers to them. "They're pointless; nobody's going to use them," Gustafson said of the alternates.

And area property owner Harold Tenney maintained that the city should look into more than one connector for the area. One idea he suggested was that the council revisit the issue surrounding the Acker Park land that voters preserved as a park in a voter initiative in the 1990s.

The developers' attorney, Jim Musgrove, also broached the possibility of crossing a portion of Acker land for a connector. "The council is going to have to bite the bullet," he said. "Acker is the most obvious and least expensive way (to develop a connector)," he said.

The council asked city staff members to meet with Crystal Creek representatives to come to some accord about the connector issue.

On Wednesday, Planning Manager Julie Pindzola reported that a meeting that afternoon likely would result in a change in the proposed development agreement and the developers' drawings for the subdivision. The issue will be back on the council agenda during the Nov. 12 voting session.