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Live Update of the Prescott Council Study Session: November 21, 2017

21 November 2017  

More information on the Deep Well Development. Starts at 1 PM



3. Pledge of Allegiance: Councilman Lazzell


Discussion regarding Deep Well Development Agreement, update on Revised Master Plan, and update on engineering, airport and traffic issues.

Council Memo Printout

Item Summary

The City Attorney will present a briefing on the Deep Well Ranch Development Agreement. Community Development Staff will present an update on the revised Deep Well Ranch Master Plan.BackgroundThis will be the fourth study session to discuss the Deep Well Ranch Rezoning, Master Plan and Development Agreement.

 Financial Impact: None. 

 Mayor Oberg starts by explaining that they are trying to work through the issues. "The City has stepped up and tried to help and make sure things got moving."

He plans to allow public comment. He lists all the public meetings that have been held, plus the two executive sessions. 

Now, he's admitting that they may have reached "a bridge too far," and this council may not be able to vote on the issue themselves. 

They've received several documents in the last 2 days. "Not to abrogate our responsibilities to the public... I don't see that being done between now and the 28th. I don't think we'll be fair to the public... This is obviously a very complex subject and we want to do it right."

You can see the documents here. 

The study session will continue, and they hope to have 30 minutes of public discussion.

Billie Orr wants this to be on the agenda on the 28th, she assures the public that she has read all the documents that she has received except for the ones today. 

Interim Airport Director Jessie Baker is speaking about what is considered every time when developments might affect the airport. 

"Does it meet FAA requirements?" The answer is a firm, "Yes."

"Are we on the same page?" "Generally speaking, I think we hit the mark." 

What are the consultants asking for, and what will happen if there is no Master Plan? In current zoning, buildings could be 3000 feet closer than the Master Plan. They are offering "Open-like space" in the Master Plan. 

"That being said, I would recommend that we take the opportunity to plan... We don't know what we are going to get..." she admits, but she thinks that this is a more advisable way to go.

In Light Industrial zoning, which is what it would be zoned under current standards there could be buildings, even daycares. They are proposing Civic and Open Spaces, such as police and fire stations, government related buildings, annex City Halls, libraries, etc. But they promise that there will be at least 50% open space. 

There is an area of mixed use - such as commercial and residences, retail, industrial, etc. Most likely it might be an apartment like buildings, not single-family residences. 

Baker feels that the City is protected through the most current Development Agreement. "It's really about what we can get as far as open space vs. current zoning." 

City Attorney Jon Paladini and the Development Plan

We are not starting from a position of, "Is the Master Plan better than nothing? We're starting from that point that there is zoning in place already."

If the SPC zoning is approved, it mandates that a Master Plan must be adopted. 

At the beginning, there were essentially 400 points in discussion, they have all been resolved at this point. 

Here is a link to the latest draft development agreement:

Public health and safety will still be prioritized. 

In some places, they use development regulatory requirements to essentially place a moratorium on development. The developers understandably want to avoid that situation. 

"We're not imposing any kind of higher standards on development that we wouldn't do ourselves," Paladini said, noting they spent 4 multi-hour meetings with the developmers.

"You try to get the best deal under the circumstances," he said.

If they want to add property to the 1800 acres, they would have to:

1) Approve annexation.

2) Rezone the property.

After both 1, 2, this development agreement will apply to the new acreage.

Mayor Oberg recommends that the public read the documents online. 

In last fiscal year, there were about 350 new homes build. 

There is discussion of doing a joint traffic study with other jurisdictions. 

If a change is necessitated by development, development will pay it's way.

There is an amendment process built into the Master Plan.  

There will be continued public processes when things are proposed. 

Lazzell thanks the staff for their efforts in resolving this issue. Mayor Oberg agrees. 

Blair asks about the water issue. 

798.6 AF allows about 4K units. 

Additional water would allow a total of approximately 8.5K units due to binding agreements, under current zoning and water supplies. 

Lamerson points to private property rights and current zoning that they have the right to claim. 

Sischka points out, "This is not a family planning process. We have the baby already. Now it's dependent on how we raise this child."

Public Comments (Name spelling could be incorrect - apologies in advance!)

 Patti Schaffer thinks the water promises "seem like a fantasy." She's looking at drought predictions. "...looking at droughts that are unprecedented." She claims there is a guarantee of a 35 year drought. 

Bill Goslow: He says he has some ideas. Didn't elaborate. Says Happy Thanksgiving.

Larry Meades: Wants to read the development agreement. It's online, it's free.

Asks about a matter in the development agreement that provides for any changes made to requirements of materials or building - it will be limited to a cost of no more than 10%.

Also asks about hillside development standards. It's probably a moot issue, the property has few or none of the steep sections that qualify under this standard. 

Helene Berman: She is asking about the traffic impact on Willow Lake Road. Would traffic impact studies be done after homes are built? There is no change in current process. Orr says that Willow Lake is on the radar already. 

Sharon Eagan: Wants to know why the Council is considering moving forward when some of the P&Z members aren't in agreement. Blair asks the City Attorney to explain. 

Paladini notes that it did pass P&Z by a 4-3 vote. Current zoning allows for 14,500 homes. A Master Plan allows for better advance planning for streets, trails, parks, etc. "It's not a question of Master Plan or nothing. It's a question of whether they build according to current zoning or a Master Plan."

"I know that's what you say, but you need to take into account the people that live here."

Judith Merrill: She wants the Council to slow down on this - doesn't want them to take a vote next week. Is worried that the density will equal San Diego or Oakland. "I'm asking you to postpone this vote... I think as a resident, I should have more chance to know more."

Art Atona: Board member of Antelope Hills Property Administration. Their position on two of the issues - airport and highway 89. Need to keep the traffic flowing. Their board is adamantly opposed to giving extra ingress and egress south of the new Perkins roundabout and north of 89A. He is in favor of the proposed roundabout at Perkins. "We want that."

Rob Pecharich: On behalf of the James family. The James Foundation is a non-profit entity, and can only use it's assets for charitable, scientific and educational purposes.  

When you talk about where we stand on the timeline, "We think the timeline is now. Delay is money." 

The longer this takes, all the community foundations supported by the James Foundation will be hurt. 

"This owner intends to donate very valuable land to Prescott Unified School District."

This is the owner's water, the owner has this water and the owner will use this water. "What will restrict the development is not zoning, not the Master Plan Agreement, it's water."

Density: Under current zoning, it's 15,059, under the Master Plan it's 10,500. 

Jack Wiley: Water and the water allotment. How is that defined? Also bringing up 89A. Another issue is the infrastructure and highway 89. 

Blair asks if the Deep Well Ranch is assured water supply or alternative water supplies. Answer: Both.

The state is well aware of what is being done and the City of Prescott is authorized to proceed. 

Leslie Hoy: Thinks there are still conflicts within the Master Plan and the City of Prescott - those conflicts are often the subject of lawsuits. Will the development company promise to pay the lawsuit costs? Wants a paragraph that is confusing to be written in language that is understandable. Paladini is responding to her concerns. 

"Basically, what we're saying is that all of the rules and regulations in place basically apply, unless they're specifically agreed to in the development agreement or the Master Plan," Paladini.

Vagueness is what leads to legal disputes, Paladini points out. There is an arbritration process in the agreement. 

Page 2 of Recital Section J is questioned as to wording. Page 3, Item K: basically says the city would be willing to consider whether a community facilities district on the property. 

Hoy is asking about the community facilities district - is concerned about what happens when there is a downturn?

Lamerson asks Leslie Grasier: Portfolio has 24K A/F. The city is extracting about 6K A/F.

Peter Kroupnek: How much is the Big Chino pipeline going to cost? Probably about $200M. Wondering if the City of Prescott is paying for streets outside the development (

Paladini points out that all internal infrastructure is paid for by the developer. 

Bill Feldmeir: We must travel in different circles, there are numerous people that I've talked to that have lived in this community for decades that are supportive. "What we keep hearing is people that want to delay. Delay, delay, delay... This dog has been beaten to death."

"I don't want you to delay, delay, delay. This dog is dead. I want you to vote, vote, vote."

Lamerson thanks Feldmeir for his comments. "Thanks for not calling me a crook," Lamerson said in response to comments by Eagan. 

 Sischka in response to negative comments, "Why am I really objecting to this? ...Is it because I just don't want it to happen?"

Orr points out that they aren't rushing, they are being thoughtful with lots of study. She reminds people that the land is actually 18K in size, and they are only developing 1800 acres.

Oberg, "I'm not going to vote yes on this until I've read everything."



Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.