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Mon, March 25

Young's Farm development moves ahead

Courier/Jo. L. Keener
Young¹s Farm as seen from Highway 69 appears behind lush green fields and farm equipment Thursday.

Courier/Jo. L. Keener Young¹s Farm as seen from Highway 69 appears behind lush green fields and farm equipment Thursday.

DEWEY-HUMBOLDT ­ After months of discussion, the town finally made a vote ‹ albeit a preliminary one ‹ regarding the proposed Young's Farm development on Thursday night in the Humboldt Elementary School gymnasium.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to give the Town Council a positive recommendation for a zone change to Planned Area Development (PAD).

The issue likely will go before the Town Council on May 2, according to Town Manager Roger Swenson.

The commission conducted a public hearing about the zone change request at its March 9 meeting but continued the discussion and action to Thursday night.

Most of the comments at the March hearing were against the project. After Thursday's vote, resident Sandra Goodwin questioned the commission's decision and their discussion prior to voting.

"I heard water, I heard sewer, but I never heard anybody ask 'Is this the right thing to do for our community if we want to keep it rural?'" said Goodwin. "Pro or con, I never heard one person talk about 'the right thing.'"

Rezoning to PAD establishes criteria for the development based on the concept at this point. If the council approves the zone change, the developers will determine the specifics of construction at subsequent stages, which will also be subject to approval by the council.

Essentially, the PAD zoning assures that Monogram Development Services will not stray from what it has said so far. For example, this includes that all homes will be site-built, homes will follow set architectural guidelines and at least 115 acres will be public open space.

Sticking points during the commission's discussion were over the environment, water and number of housing units.

Chairman Boyce MacDonald said that agencies such as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) would take care of some of the environmental concerns. If problems arise when these groups do their studies, they will handle them accordingly.

Concerning water and whether the development has enough to support it, a stipulation says Monogram must obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) later.

Commission members then grappled with setting a maximum number of housing units.

"If I had some feel for how many units were going in each one of those parcels, it would help me in my thought process," said Doyle Wiste.

Don Allison of Monogram said it is difficult to show the exact number of units at this conceptual stage. The exact count will come before the town at a later date.

The majority of the commission decided to set the maximum at 580 units and to see what happens with more specific proposals.

The recommendation carried by a 5-2 vote. Lydia Chapman voted "no," citing environmental concerns and the number of housing units. Terry Nolan also voted "no," saying the maximum number of units could have been less and the town could increase it if it proved necessary and feasible. Nolan did say he liked the concept.

Allison said that the vote was very significant.

"I think it was a huge vote for the future viability of Dewey-Humboldt," he said. "As people take the time to listen to the facts and understand what we're trying to achieve here, then they begin to understand the concept and they start to warm up to it."

"I think (this development) is a huge asset to Dewey-Humboldt and its residents. This will be a development that will set the standard by which other projects will be measured."

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