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Madera-area developers want deal on open space

County adjustment board takes up request; residents worry about water

Developers want an exception to Pima County’s open space ordinance to build 288 homes near Madera Canyon, the popular bird-watching site near Green Valley.

The county District 4 Board of Adjustment will consider the request of a Massachusetts family to waive the rules on Jan. 9.

The family plans to build Cielo Madera about one mile from the canyon, said Jeanette De Renne, a county senior planner.

Madera Canyon, 25 miles south of Tucson and 11 miles east of Green Valley, is part of the Coronado National Forest. Visitors from around the world go to the canyon to see a wide range of birds.

Residents are concerned about the impact the development will have on traffic, water, nighttime skies and wildlife, said June Wortman, a Green Valley resident and member of a citizens water coalition.

“We’re very concerned about development after development coming in,” she said.

The developers’ Tucson representative, Valerie Feuer, didn’t return a telephone message Wednesday afternoon.

The county can’t stop the development or reduce the number of planned homes, De Renne said.

The property is zoned rural residential, meaning houses can be built on 4.1-acre lots.

At issue is how the houses are situated on the 1,200-acre property, she said.

Under the county’s open space ordinance, developers must set aside 30 percent of the property for nondevelopment. Depending on lot sizes, that amount can be increased.

To meet the ordinance’s requirements, the developers would have to increase the size of the lots, De Renne said.

Although the houses would have bigger lots, that approach would reduce the amount of continuous open space now called for in the development plan, she said.

The county’s planning staff has yet to make a recommendation. De Renne said the county’s primary interest is in preserving as much open space as possible, and the developers’ plan seems to accomplish that better than what the ordinance requires.


● What: The Pima County District 4 Board of Adjustment will consider a waiver of open space rules to allow construction of a housing development near Madera Canyon.

● When: Jan. 9, 1:30 p.m.

● Where: basement of the county Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Ave.

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