Esson: Here’s why we oppose a multi-family rezone at Pronghorn Ranch
Imagine you moved to your dream home, thinking that the town’s plan for the front door of your neighborhood was reasonable—only to learn it may be changed in a most unwelcome way.
This is happening to more than 2,000-plus residents of Pronghorn Ranch. But the zoning change is not yet approved. So, today, I am writing on behalf of the many who oppose this proposal.
Developer David Maguire wants to put as many as 15 living units per acre east of Viewpoint Drive on either side of Pronghorn Ranch Parkway. This 42-acre medium-high density use is part of a 128-acre plan.
What a stark contrast this is to our Prescott Valley neighborhood, with 1,490 planned homes on 640 acres, averaging 2.3 per acre.
At a work/study meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission Nov. 5, more than 200 concerned residents were told that, if approved, the 42 acres may contain town homes, condos, or apartments.
Here are three reasons why a majority of residents emphatically oppose the multi-family development:
Residents are limited in access to our neighborhood. There are two: Antelope Meadows to Pronghorn Ranch Parkway to Viewpoint Drive, or Antelope Meadows to Coyote Springs Road.
Anyone who uses Viewpoint Drive regularly knows how clogged it is during peak periods. Imagine how crowded Pronghorn Ranch Road will be with nearly 600 multi-family homes also using it.
We all remember the Viewpoint fire. Pronghorn Ranch was not evacuated, but if the worst happens, with emergency equipment racing to us and evacuation necessary—that invites catastrophe.
More than 250 Viewpoint residents have signed a petition opposing this multi-family development, joining more than 900 who signed a petition circulated at Pronghorn Ranch.
By our estimates, residents on just the 42 acres will consume an additional 32 million gallons per year. This exceeds the water consumption if the land were only to be developed consistent with its current low density residential land use. It’s the equivalent of water in 49 Olympic-size swimming pools, consumed every year.
ALTERING THE 2025 GENERAL PLAN’S INTENT
The plan shows that the area to the south and west of Pronghorn Ranch is slated for low density residential development—single family homes.
This is why residents feel the rules are being changed mid-stream.
Unfortunately, a staff report to the Planning and Zoning Commission considers Maguire’s zoning request a “minor” amendment to the General Plan.
This differs from a “major” amendment, which calls for more due process steps and public input. I believe the technical arguments around this question deserve fuller public debate, but my requests have been turned down.
This is not “minor” to those of us who signed the petition. We love our neighborhood. Our quality of life is at stake.
Incoming Mayor Kell Palguta made it part of his platform that citizens’ voices would be heard. We are heartened to see Facebook posts in which he stands with residents of Pronghorn Ranch and Viewpoint who oppose changing the General Plan in this way. He believes that many questions remain to be answered.
At the Nov. 5 meeting, Maguire was asked if he knew why so many oppose his proposal. He wasn’t sure, and was puzzled that he’s received few questions despite a wave of protest.
The reason, Mr. Maguire, is that our concern goes beyond the specifics of what your housing would look like. It’s the much larger question of altering a general plan’s intent with higher density housing in the wrong place, at the expense of loyal local taxpayers and voters.
We’ll be there again at the expected public hearing on Dec. 10.
Rob Esson and his wife moved to Pronghorn Ranch in 2014. He chairs the Homeowners Association committee representing residents opposed to the medium-high density rezoning.