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Prescott Council approves smaller lots on fewer acres for Granite Dells Estates
Developer opts for smaller lots on fewer acres

Shown is the proposed master plan amendment layout for the Granite Dells Estates.(City of Prescott, Courtesy)

Shown is the proposed master plan amendment layout for the Granite Dells Estates.(City of Prescott, Courtesy)

With a nod to the evolving housing market, the Prescott City Council approved changes this week that will allow local developer Mike Fann to build more houses on less land in his next phases of Granite Dells Estates.

In four consecutive 6-1 votes on Tuesday, July 9, the council approved amendments to the project’s master plan, the city general plan, the land’s zoning and the preliminary plat.

The end result will be that phases 3 through 5 of Granite Dells Estates, located south of Highway 89A/Granite Dells Parkway interchange, will feature significantly smaller lots than originally planned.

Prescott Planning Manager George Worley told the council that the reduction in lot size is due to the changing housing market, which is shifting toward smaller lots.

The new homes will be built on lots starting in the 7,800-square-foot range, or about five homes per acre, Worley said.

City Councilman Steve Blair voiced support for the developer’s proposed changes.

“It’s probably a good idea to look at what the market’s doing,” he said. “You don’t want to build something that’s not selling.”

The project received its original city approval in 2007, just before the start of the recession of 2008. Housing tastes reportedly have veered away from the large lots that were included in the original plans.

Phase 1 of Granite Dells Estates has since been nearly 100 percent built out, while Phase 2 is under construction.

Under the changes, the developer plans to build 695 homes in the next three phases — for a total of 1,384 homes in the entire subdivision.

In addition, the project will exclude nearly 240 acres from the subdivision’s eastern side — a move that will serve to condense the three coming phases onto fewer acres.

Overall, the developer plans to decrease the total number of homes in the entire subdivision slightly, from the previous 1,456 total to 1,384.

Despite the drop in the number of homes, Councilman Phil Goode stressed that the 240 acres on the eastern side still will be open for development at a later date.

He said “it seems pretty clear” that the 240 acres would be developed, and the end result would be “much, much more home development” than originally planned. That, in turn, would result in more traffic congestion on Highways 89A and 89, Goode said.

“I don’t see the justification for increasing density without looking at the traffic and congestion,” he added.

Worley said that regardless of whether the parcel is sold to a new developer or developed by Fann, the land would have to go through the entire city approval process again.

“Any development that would occur would require every approval (including a water allocation), with a number of additional public approval steps,” Worley said.

A city memo notes that Granite Dells Estates was the first annexation under the voter-approved Proposition 400, which added more stringent requirements for large annexations.

At the time, the project consisted of a residential, commercial and industrial subdivision, totaling 1,142 acres located south of the Prescott Airport and Highway 89A.

The changes that the council approved this week pertain to the land in the southern portion of the subdivision. They include:

• Shifting the previously approved housing on the easternmost portion to the west, leaving 239 acres undeveloped at this time.

• Clustering higher-density homes on the western portion.

• Including 46.7 percent open space in phases 3 through 5, with 39.3 percent open space (336 acres) in all phases.

• Changing the interior and connective circulation by creating cul-de-sacs where roadways were previously proposed east. That would result in sole ingress/egress from east-west roads, Granite Dells Parkway and Dells Ranch Road, to the north.

Goode ultimately voted against all four of the proposed amendments for phases 3 through 5, while the six other council members voted for the changes.

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

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