Letter: Private property rights
In Ron Fiedler’s recent letter about Save the Dells, he expressed concern that Arizona Eco Development’s property rights were being unduly limited by a citizens’ cause. This is a common misconception, even among council members, and it’s simply not true.
AED’s property rights currently lie in the county. Under current zoning, its land can be subdivided into 2-acre residential parcels — and that’s it. It does not have the zoning rights to build higher density housing nor to build a resort, which is what AED is hoping to do in the heart of the Dells.
AED knew what its rights were when the property was purchased. It has chosen not to exercise those rights and is instead requesting new, expanded zoning rights from the city, rights that will greatly increase the value of the property.
But with new rights come new responsibilities, including fulfilling the city requirement that developers set aside 25% of their land for open space.
The city has the right to require its citizens be compensated for the valuable city resources (water, sewer, infrastructure support, and emergency services) that will be given to AED with annexation. It’s also City Council’s right, and actually its duty, to protect publicly owned trails and ensure that the open space be functional, high quality land — not drainage ditches or the center of roundabouts or land bisected by roads.
Annexation is a privilege, not a right. Just because AED wants to be annexed into the city doesn’t mean it has the right to be. Protecting the established rights of Prescott’s citizens should be the focus of concern, not the wants of a developer.