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Fain passes 1st hurdle for planned luxury apartments near PV Event Center

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Town officials took the first steps Thursday, Sept. 10, toward allowing construction of luxury apartments south of the Prescott Valley Event Center.

Fain Signature Group proposed the plan for 260 luxury apartments in early 2014 that would require a change in Prescott Valley's general plan as well as a zone change for 9.5 acres.

In August, the town's planning and zoning commission heard public comments, as well as staff presentations about the proposed development, before voting to recommend approval of the general plan amendment to the Town Council.

Richard Parker, community development director for the town, told the commission the proposal is intended to complement the development of commercial properties along state Highway 69 and Glassford Hill Road.

"The inclusion of these residential units is intended to improve that 24/7 occupancy of downtown and the utilization of services within walking distance," Parker said.

He noted that the town's zoning code doesn't allow residential uses in a commercial zone, with few exceptions, so a zone change and general plan amendment are needed for the project Fain proposed.

Parker said staff supported the plan in concept, explaining how the focus of the town's economic future shifted away from commercial and retail development.

"The town has really moved the focus to attracting a university in downtown - a teaching university in concert with the hospital," he said.

Parker also told the planning and zoning commission of changes in the bondholder agreements connected to the Prescott Valley Event Center, allowing the town to generate revenue for bond payments through surcharges on rental properties, and not just sales taxes.

The changes in bondholder agreements were the result of a protracted legal battle between bondholders, and the owners and operators of the $35 million Prescott Valley Event Center. The original case and the ensuing appeal by a minority of bondholders wrapped up in July, allowing the town and Fain to continue with the planning process.

Parker said the current plan will be for the town to assess a 2 percent surcharge on rental properties, with revenue dedicated to debt service.

Attendees at the planning and zoning commission's public hearing in August expressed concerns about pedestrian access, creation of low-income housing, the availability of services to support increased population and water resources.

Parker said the town is seeking to allow pedestrian access through the development and said the project does not have a low-income housing component.

He and other town officials agreed with residents' concerns about the availability of services, particularly health and medical services

However, Parker rebutted concerns about water resources.

"This community has enough water to grow well in excess of 125,000 persons based on existing resources that are in hand presently," he said.

There were no public comments as part of the Town Council's public hearing Thursday, and the council signed off on the general plan amendment.

According to Parker, the next steps for project developers include the application for zoning entitlement as well as submission of a preliminary development plan and related documents.

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 1110, or 928-830-950

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