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10:56 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Annexation on city’s north side raising questions

PRESCOTT – While city officials say the financial advantages of an annexation near Willow Creek Road and Pioneer Parkway are obvious, some nearby residents still had questions this week about the proposed action.

The Prescott City Council conducted a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed annexation of a 43-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Willow Creek Road and Pioneer Parkway.

Community Development Director Tom Guice kicked off the discussion by presenting information on the estimated revenues that the annexation would bring to the city.

Through the addition of retail sales tax, construction sales tax and property tax, the annexation would result in revenue for the city of about $10.7 million in its first 10 years, Guice said.

Developers have noted that they plan to develop the land as a “power center,” which would include at least one big-box anchor store, and possibly a grocery store.

Guice told the council this week that developers plan to build about 340,000 square feet of commercial space on the site.

Although the land currently carries residential zoning, Guice said, the city’s Airport Specific Area Plan (ASAP) designated the land as appropriate for commercial/employment use. If the city annexes the land into its limits, developers would likely seek a rezoning of the property, he added.

The hearing attracted more than a dozen residents, several of whom offered comments to the council.

Martin Markowicz of the Piñon Oaks subdivision, for instance, brought up the traffic that the shopping center would generate on Willow Creek Road. Area residents already have a difficult time accessing Willow Creek Road from the side roads, he said, adding that “I’m sure traffic is going to get a lot heavier.”

Markowicz urged the city to require that the entrance to the shopping center be directly across from the existing subdivision entrance, and that a traffic signal goes in at that intersec-

tion.

But Councilman Steve Blair noted that he “hates traffic lights every 50 feet, and there’s one already at Pioneer Parkway and Willow Creek Road.”

Other area residents brought up concerns about light pollution from the shopping center, and the proposed location of the commercial area.

“Why that corner?” one asked. “Why not (Highway) 89 and Pioneer Parkway?”

Blair responded that the city had annexed the Piñon Oaks area into city limits several years ago. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said.

Tuesday’s meeting was a public hearing only; the council took no vote on the annexation.

The next step will involve sending out annexation petitions to the owners of the property, Guice said.

While the city has about a year to adopt an ordinance annexing the property, Guice said the annexation ordinance could go to the council as soon as mid-August or early September.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com