The Prescott City Council announced it will be considering a Letter of Intent (LOI) for a 300-acre purchase of private land in the Granite Dells during tomorrow's November 9th voting session at 3:00 PM. The land, which would be acquired for open space, is currently part of Sundog Ranch (also known as Storm Ranch). According to the Daily Courier, this agreement is the product of a longtime dialogue between the property owners and City of Prescott Recreation Director Joe Baynes:
The letter of intent and purchase contract would culminate years of discussions and negotiations on the land. “For three years, I’ve been meeting with the family,” Baynes said, noting the purchase would be a major step in the city’s efforts to preserve open space in the Granite Dells."
Building a conservation legacy for the Granite Dells would not be possible without the generosity and goodwill of private landowners who have an interest in conserving this special place. The successful purchase of this prime Granite Dells acreage would be an invaluable addition to the 473.7 acres of Natural Open Space (NOS) recently transferred into public ownership as part of the AED Annexation deal, connecting existing public open spaces into a larger, more contiguous length of protected land.
Save the Dells has always been a voice for the citizens of Prescott. We were recently contacted by citizens and some in city leadership regarding concerns about a few of the other agenda items being considered by the council before turnover to the new council in December. The council is considering taking action on agenda items that directly affect water and our quality of life.
With reports of controversial projects being approved for "fast track" processing as well as a reference to a "mini plat rush," some believe that these actions have been prioritized in anticipation of the future changes the new council plans to make to the city's water policy.
It is concerning and disappointing to see these last-minute efforts to circumvent the will and values of the voters, which were so clearly demonstrated in the results of this year's election. Overwhelmingly, Prescott voters opted for smart growth and sustainable water management, for transparent decision-making and consideration of the common good.
The following items have raised concern:
1. The Petroglyph Pointe - The View project in Prescott Lakes. An administrative staff decision was made to allow a change from nine lots with smaller medical offices to a multi- story 200+ unit apartment complex. The neighboring residents within the Prescott Lakes community are concerned that this a) does not follow the master plan they reviewed when buying their home, and b) will have a negative impact on traffic/congestion/accessibility, public safety, quality of life, and increased water use.
City council chambers were packed for the water subcommittee hearing on this project and 10 residents presented well crafted comments. The measure was approved to be sent to council in a 2:1 vote, with Mayor-elect Phil Goode voting against the measure. The vote at tomorrow's meeting is for water only.
2.There were two other water service agreements that were approved in a 2:1 vote, again with Mayor-elect Phil Goode voting against. City staff recommended that these projects be "fast-tracked," however the reason for this designation of urgency was unclear.
Save the Dells and the people of Prescott worked hard to elect a new council that recognizes our concerns. These items should be delayed until the new council is seated at the end of the month.
If you share the concerns voiced to Save the Dells by Prescott's citizens, you are encouraged to contact your city council members to let them know, whether by phone, email, or attendance at the council meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, November 9th, at 1:00 PM.