Originally Published: July 20, 2018 5:46 p.m.
With great land comes great responsibility. AED understands this very well and looks forward to the opportunity to develop our private property in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. AED’s financial interests are aligned with the interests of the public as we look forward to maximizing the scenic value of our land for the benefit of our future residents and also for members of the public.
In addition, AED is very sensitive to providing native vegetation buffers along the existing public trails which will also serve as wildlife corridors.
AED feels that the City of Prescott should own the Point of Rocks and Entro, just as the City owns the Peavine Trail. Trail access across our private land will make it easier for the public to access both the Peavine and Iron King Trails via spur trail connectivity through our proposed development.
AED has also discussed the possibility of helping the City to create a public park on Granite Creek.
Indeed, it is AED’s desire that the City maximize the opportunity by creating a unique recreation space that serves the citizens of the region. Park specifications will be discussed publicly during the annexation process.
To date, opponents to the proposed annexation have offered arguments against the development of private land that unfortunately do not include actionable alternatives to development. These reactions were expected, and we understand people’s emotional attachment to this land – we feel it too! AED will continue to listen to the citizens of Prescott in hopes that a fair and equitable plan for development can be reached.
That said, I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of the miss-statements and inaccuracies that unfortunately have been presented to date:
1) Limited Access to Public since the late 1800’s: The subject lands are not a park and have never belonged to the City or its citizens. They are private and under the law are not accessible to anyone but the owners for more than a century;
2) AED is Proposing Generous Open Space: The total open space that AED will cede to the town will exceed the Prescott Land Development Code requirement of 25 percent by a wide margin and will allow increased access to these lands by Prescott citizenry;
3) No Offers Received to Buy the Lands for Park Ever made: AED has controlled these lands since early 2012. Thus far, over six years, there have been no credible, market-level offers to AED from any source to purchase the Point of Rocks or surrounding lands for a park or open space;
4) Prescott’s Choice is to Annex or to Leave the Land to Other Jurisdictions – Refusing Annexation Will Not Stop the Lands being Developed: If the lands under discussion are not annexed into Prescott they will remain within the County, where they are allowed to be split into 36 acre parcels with minimal development requirements. The objective truth is that Prescott either annexes these lands into Prescott’s control or the land will be left in the control of other jurisdictions where they also can be developed.
5) Other Citizens’ Land is Targeted for Proposed (Unfunded) Park: AED-owned land is not the only private land targeted for incorporation into the proposed regional park. Save the Dells has not stated how the park can be funded, seemingly the park will be created by all landowners donating their land into a park which will never happen.
6) Zip Codes: References have been made to the Prescott “zip code gift” (in the form of enhanced value). The fact is that the zip code has been set by the US Postal Service and the area proposed for annexation is identified as Prescott.
7) Financial Benefit to Prescott – Lower Taxes: The cost/benefit analysis, as required by COP, will prove that the development of AED’s land will produce millions of dollars in positive revenue for the benefit of COP’s general fund via tax revenues from development impact fees, construction permit fees, bed tax, rent tax and sales tax generated by retail sales for many years to come.
In closing, please let me say that “Save the Dells” seems to be synonymous with “Save My View.” I genuinely believe that in realty, AED represents the best opportunity to save the view, save the Point of Rocks via City ownership and enhance legal public access to public lands.
Jason Gisi is the CEO of Arizona Eco Development, LLC.