Originally Published: December 12, 2018 6:11 p.m.
With about 250 people filling the auditorium in the Prescott Valley Public Library to capacity at the Dec. 10 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, commissioners listened as close to 30 residents spoke either in opposition to a rezoning request or with concerns about evacuation routes in the Antelope Park development north of Highway 89A.
Many held signs calling for the town to “Stick to 2025 General Plan.” The issue of General Plan amendments was not on the P&Z agenda, and therefore no comments on the General Plan were allowed during the Public Hearing, said P&Z Chair Matt Zurcher.
After hearing from numerous residents over the course of two hours, commissioners unanimously recommended the town council approve the zoning map change from RCU-70 (Residential, Single Family Rural) to R1L-10 PAD (Residential, Single Family Limited Planned Area Development) on four acres.
Increased traffic and emergency evacuation topped the list of concerns most residents expressed. In fact, near the end of the public hearing, Pronghorn resident Ben Snyder offered to conduct and pay for an emergency evacuation study for the town.
The development, like several others in Prescott Valley including StoneRidge and Quailwood, has a single ingress and egress. Antelope Park, a gated community, does plan for a locked gate at an emergency exit at the northeastern portion of Parcel B that will connect with Antelope Meadows Drive.
Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority and town staff have signed off on the plan; however, residents mentioned their concern that the plan has only the one emergency exit.
“The reason we did not extend a roadway to the north to Antelope Meadows Drive, is it would be a very expensive thing to do; we have that drainage channel to go over. This is all about the economics to be able to make the project work,” Project Developer David Maguire said, resulting in a rumble from the audience.
He added that a roadway to the north at that location wouldn’t do a lot for circulation because traffic goes the opposite direction toward Viewpoint Drive.
“An evacuation study is much more important than a traffic impact study,” said resident Dennis Royalty, who reminded the commissioners of the trapped, burned cars in Paradise, California; and he requested an evacuation plan prior to the commissioners making a recommendation.
“Please remember that Antelope Meadows is a very long road, very long, that leads to Pronghorn Ranch Parkway or Coyote Springs Road. Antelope Meadows is the only way out of Pronghorn Ranch for most of our residents,” Royalty said.
Other speakers from the audience reiterated the concern of a single exit.
Following the meeting, PV Community Development Director Richard Parker said the town has plans to conduct a town-wide evacuation study. Such a study would take months and involve police and fire agencies as well as Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management Department. Top priority for which parts of the town to study first would be based on fuel loads, and Antelope Meadows may or may not be near the top of the list.
The Traffic Impact Analysis identified roadway improvements constructed in phases, which includes a widening of Viewpoint Drive from Highway 89A to Pronghorn Ranch Parkway during the first phase.
Residents also mentioned prior public meetings as being inadequate to gain information. Several requested a delay in the commission’s decision until another meeting for the community could take place.
The first public meeting was closed down by the fire marshal after 45 minutes because the venue was inadequate for the number of people who showed up. The second took place in an open forum in the Transportation Facility of the Humboldt Unified School District, and lasted four hours. Some residents objected to this meeting as they were unable to hear the four speakers answer questions because of the crowds.
Town of Prescott Valley Planner Joe Scott introduced the request for rezoning of four acres on Parcel B of the Pronghorn Ranch, and presented background on the zoning. In 1999, the town annexed the site with an RCU-70 zoning. In 2006, the town rezoned 60 acres of the property to RIL-10 PAD. In 2007, the town rezoned 30 acres to C2-PAD with a Planned Development Plan (PDP) for commercial development.
On Monday’s agenda was a request from Maguire to revise Parcel B, four acres, from RCU-70 to R1L-10, and requested a revised PDP for 189 lots on 62 acres located on both sides of Pronghorn Ranch Parkway, south of Antelope Meadows Drive.
The existing General Plan places a low-density land use on both parcels, R1L-10 PAD. The revised PDP includes 189 single-family detached residential lots on the 62 acres, about three units per acre. R1L-10 PAD use allows up to four units per acre.
The revision includes an updated Certificate of Assured Water Supply through the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Prescott Valley has no involvement with water supply within its developments, said P&Z Chair Zurcher.