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9:54 AM Sat, Jan. 19th

700 acres of Stringfield Ranch eyed for large-lot subdivision

Trail through project would close gap on Prescott Circle Trail

Local developer Jeff Davis makes a presentation to the Prescott City Council on the 264-lot subdivision he is planning for 700 acres of vacant ranchland near Williamson Valley Road. Davis is proposing that the parcel, which is a part of the Stringfield Ranch, be annexed into Prescott city limits. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

Local developer Jeff Davis makes a presentation to the Prescott City Council on the 264-lot subdivision he is planning for 700 acres of vacant ranchland near Williamson Valley Road. Davis is proposing that the parcel, which is a part of the Stringfield Ranch, be annexed into Prescott city limits. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

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The Stringfield Ranch project will be located just to the west of the intersection of Pioneer Parkway and Williamson Valley Road in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

A proposed 700-acre annexation that could bring 264 new homes to Prescott city limits got its first review by the City Council this week.

Local developer Jeff Davis appeared before the council during a study session on Dec. 11 to introduce his plans. He has yet to officially submit an application for annexation, but said he is ready to do so.

Noting that the Williamson Valley Road-area parcel – a part of the Stringfield Ranch – currently lies in unincorporated Yavapai County, Davis said he would like to see the land brought into Prescott city limits.

“I would prefer to see it develop inside the city,” Davis told the council. Among the benefits of the annexation, he said, would be the use of city water and sewer systems for the new homes, rather than private wells and septic systems.

Davis, who was involved with the development of the nearby American Ranch subdivision in the county, said he envisions a similar project for the Stringfield Ranch parcel, but within city limits.

Currently, the vacant ranchland carries county zoning that allows for home lots of about two acres, and Davis proposes bringing the land into the city limits at the city’s equivalent two-acre-lot zoning.

Using the city’s Planned Area Development (PAD) option, which allows for flexibility on lot size through the preservation of open space, Davis said the project is being planned to have 106 two-acre lots, 158 one-acre lots, and about 236 acres of open space.

PRESCOTT CIRCLE TRAIL GAP

Among the main features of the project would be a recreational trail that would improve a portion of the 55-mile Prescott Circle Trail.

Davis’ plan includes a one-mile section of trail through the property. “The Stringfield Ranch holds the last one-mile stretch to finish the Circle Trail,” he told the council.

Prescott Recreation Services Director Joe Baynes said after the meeting that the Circle Trail currently bypasses the Stringfield property by routing trail users onto a series of paved streets.

Noting that he has often said that the Circle Trail “is connected but not complete,” Baynes said the trail’s current configuration near Williamson Valley Road “is the worst part of the Circle Trail.”

Also part of Davis’ plan is the purchase of about 10 acres of Arizona State Land, which would allow for a connection of the western end of Pioneer Parkway with the Stringfield property.

While he proposes that the city would be the applicant for the purchase, Davis said the development would pay the cost of the land.

A road through the State Land parcel would include an area that would be dedicated to a trailhead with more than 50 parking spaces, Baynes said.

Rather than a golf community or an equestrian community, Davis said the Stringfield project would be “a recreation community” that would offer access to the Circle Trail, as well as space for homeowners to have workshops for RV storage and/or car restoration work.

WATER ALLOCATION

Davis is proposing to build the Stringfield project in five phases, and he told the council that not all of the water allocation for the 264 homes would be needed at once.

“It could be a 15-year project,” he said, adding that the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) would require homes to be built to water-conservation standards.

Under the city’s current water allocation policy, 0.2-acre-feet of water is required for each home, and Councilman Steve Sischka pointed out, “The total for the whole development over a 15-year period would be 53 acre-feet.”

City Manager Michael Lamar said Friday, Dec. 7, that adequate water is available in the city’s portfolio to serve the homes in the Stringfield project.

Still, Lamar emphasized Tuesday that Davis’ presentation was the first introduction of the project to the council and the community, and plenty of steps remain in the process.

Because the annexation exceeds 250 acres, it would be subject to the requirements of Proposition 400, a 2005 voter-approved measure that requires, among other things, a 60-day public comment period and approval by three-fourths of the City Council.

Davis said after the meeting that if the annexation proceeds as planned, construction on the subdivision could get started by about January 2020.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or cbarks@prescottaz.com.