Letter: Time to get serious
The Prescott City Council has the opportunity to decide how land is developed in the area around the Granite Dells. The landowner, Arizona Eco Development, is seeking annexation of its property into the city. The city has no obligation to annex this land, and is indeed in a strong negotiating position to be certain that AED provides offsets for the many benefits of annexation.
AED is required to set aside 25% of the land to be annexed for open space. A local group, Save the Dells, has identified 500 acres of land that is most critical for habitat and quality of life, and the city should require that AED set aside this land as part of their open space requirement.
The city should not accept just any land that AED might be willing to provide. If AED claims that designating this particular 500 acres as open space means that the development is no longer economically viable for them, then so be it. The city is not required to make concessions to make development more lucrative for the landowner.
AED knew that the land was not within the City of Prescott when it purchased the property, and can develop the property with low-density housing in compliance with county requirements.
I urge the City Council to take seriously its role as stewards of the land, and require that the 500 acres identified as the most important in the Dells be set aside as open space for everyone in Prescott to enjoy.