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Thu, Sept. 19

Residents and developers try to negotiate in north PV

Courier/John P. Kamin
This land near the intersection at Pronghorn Ranch Parkway and Viewpoint Drive is the site of two separate commercial proposals. Currently, developers are meeting with Viewpoint residents to make sure that all sides are happy with the development plans.

Courier/John P. Kamin This land near the intersection at Pronghorn Ranch Parkway and Viewpoint Drive is the site of two separate commercial proposals. Currently, developers are meeting with Viewpoint residents to make sure that all sides are happy with the development plans.

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­Developers and Viewpoint residents are negotiating for a compromise regarding a pair of commercial proposals that would bring two grocery stores and a variety of businesses to north Prescott Valley.

The proposals would create developments along the east and west flanks of Viewpoint Drive, between Highway 89A and the Viewpoint subdivision.

During several planning and zoning meetings in early 2005, some Viewpoint homeowners and developers clashed during planning and zoning meetings over a 90-acre proposal for the eastern side of Viewpoint Drive. Coyote Springs LLC, the developer of the property, reduced the proposal to 30 acres and now awaits a decision by the Prescott Valley Town Council on a general plan amendment necessary to the development process.

On the west side of the street, Nick Malouff and Jason Gisi of Mingus LandCor LLC proposed a 55-acre development that would include a 72,000-square-foot grocery store, a self-storage center, at least nine medical offices and numerous retail operations.

Both projects need zoning map changes before developers can begin construction.

Representatives from the developments have hosted meetings with the home owners, which always feature several recurring complaints about both developments: traffic.

Diane Elmore, a board member of the Viewpoint West Homeowners Association, and Susan Lanning, the editor of the association's newsletter, both emerged in recent months as leaders of the opposition to the projects.

"Number one is traffic ­ that is the one that most people are concerned about," Lanning said. She and Elmore both frequently cite a recent survey in which 160 of the 260 permanent Viewpoint West home-owning residents opposed any new commercial development in the area.

Gisi, a managing partner for Mingus LandCor LLC, recently presented plans for a traffic signal at the Pronghorn Ranch Parkway and Viewpoint Drive intersection to nearby residents.

He said his site plans for the 55-acre development feature one primary entrance and exit, but added that his group may be able to convince other landowners to build an alternate route on the southeast corner of the property.

Talk of a roundabout at the intersection infuriated residents during commission meetings. During a recent meeting, Gisi acknowledged that their opposition has made the roundabout proposal very unpopular.

His company submitted a traffic study for the area, which was based on the original plan that included a now-removed big-box store.

"That traffic impact study serves as the baseline," Gisi said. "It also assumes a big box, because that is the highest-intensity use the parcel could have been developed under."

Gisi said the removal of a big-box store from the site plans "certainly reduces the amount of traffic."

Richard Parker, the town's community development director, said the staff is reviewing the traffic study for the Northgate pro-posal.

The study includes the proposal to widen Viewpoint Drive up to four lanes as far north as Pronghorn Ranch Parkway, he said.

Still, Gisi's removal of the big-box store did not eliminate traffic concerns.

"Even as far as I live from the highway, I can still hear the trucks at night," Elmore said. "You have got to consider all of the semis that are going to come in there."

She predicts that the new development, if approved, will increase garbage, theft, annoying lighting and also scare away a herd of pronghorn antelope.

"We all moved out here, and we all knew we had to drive down to 69 to shop," Elmore said. "If we didn't want to do it, why would we have bought a house out here?"

During the June 14 meeting with Viewpoint residents, Gisi noted that plans for an overpass at Viewpoint Drive and Highway 89A could drive the development.

"With the development of our site and the potential development of the Richter site, the overpass is going to need to be there to support the traffic sooner versus later," he said.

The Central Yavapai Municipal Planning Organization dedicated two years' worth of money to the project last fall.

"I was told from day one by Richard Parker that they would look to us to pay our pro rata share of the overpass and off-site improvements that would have to do with the Viewpoint and Pronghorn Ranch (Parkway) intersection," Gisi said after the meet-ing.

He said the developments' traffic studies will help government officials decide how much each developer should pay to the project, based on the amount of traffic they will create.

Gary Emery, a representative for Coyote Springs LLC (the 30-acre proposal on the east side of the road), said his company will pay for a traffic study during the rezoning pro-cess.

Currently, the company's proposal is still in the general plan amendment process.

Contact the reporter at jkamin@prescottaz.com

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