Regarding A Proposed Subdivision In The Verde Valley”

Spring Creek Ranch Development Proposal

As many Audubon members know, in 2018 a proposal for a massive housing development west of Sedona, called El Rojo Grande, was submitted to Yavapai County. To be located on land surrounding Dry Creek, your chapter submitted a letter of opposition due to its likely severe negative impacts on a significant seasonal riparian area. Our chapter mission includes support for the preservation of bird habitat, hence our letter of opposition. As a result of strong opposition from the Verde Valley community this development was soundly rejected by the Board of Supervisors.

Spring Creek at FSR 796

Now an even larger development has been proposed for the Spring Creek area. The original proposal for the 282-acre Spring Creek Ranch development on the banks of Spring Creek called for 3,100 housing units: 1900 manufactured home lots, 600 recreational vehicle pads, 400 rental units, and a 200 unit assisted living facility.
Facing massive opposition from hundreds of citizens, this proposal was voted down by the Yavapai County Planning and Zoning commission.
The developers have now responded with an Amended Letter of Intent and an Amended Site Plan. They now propose 2,100 housing units: 1,500 manufactured or site-built home lots of which up to 200 may be used for recreational vehicle pads, 400 rental units and a 200 unit assisted living facility.

Yavapai County’s Comprehensive Plan states the following:
“The County’s vast recreational and outdoor opportunities, abundant natural beauty, scenic vistas, clean air, forests, grasslands, healthy rivers and bio-diverse riparian areas will be protected and preserved through the implementation of the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan’s goals and objectives.”

The County Plan further states:

“We recognize the importance of safeguarding the County’s resources for future generations, including our treasured rivers, streams and other resources…”
“Environmentally sensitive lands include areas with critical resources. These include floodplains, riparian zones, rivers and streams, wetlands, springs and seeps and steep slopes. These areas provide habitat for rare or endangered plant and animal species. In addition, some are important for groundwater recharge. Environmentally sensitive lands require special consideration in the development/design process.”

The US Forest Service (USFS) has made the following comments concerning this proposal:

“The proposed zone change and subsequent development in close proximity to a riparian area that occurs on both private and NFS lands poses some serious concerns from a water quality, water quantity, and channel geomorphology perspective. Spring Creek is a tributary to Oak Creek and is classified as an Arizona Outstanding Water which requires compliance with higher water quality standards.”

The Arizona Game and Fish department has made the following comments concerning this proposal:

“The Department’s assessment of the proposed residential community is that it would have substantial impacts on sensitive, endangered, and threatened species onsite and downstream, both within and adjacent to Spring Creek. The proposed Project is a high-density residential development, resulting in groundwater withdrawals, impervious surfaces, and human visitation. These changes in land use and hydrology will likely degrade water quality and quantity in Spring Creek and Oak Creek, impacting many native species, and the character of the area for residents and for public recreation downstream.”

Spring Creek

The proposed development by SRC Manager, LLC is the worst-case scenario for this unique land:

  • It maximizes density far beyond current zoning.
  • It has little sensitivity to building in harmony with adjacent natural surroundings.
  • It will destroy significant riparian areas and severely damage the interface with the forest lands that surround it.
  • Both the federal and state agencies have expressed significant concerns about the development.
  • It is in direct conflict with the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan as noted above.

In our letter to the county on the El Rojo Grande development, your chapter stated that it is not anti-growth but such growth must be done in a manner that that preserves our natural habitat and is in harmony with the character of the Verde Valley.

A significant reason for Planning and Zoning’s rejection of the original proposal was the outpouring of community opposition.

If you too are concerned about over development that will affect one of our few riparian corridors, we suggest that you contact Yavapai County Planning and Zoning and each of the County Supervisors. The deadline for written submissions is March 11.
In your email and/or letter, you must include your name and address, or the County will not consider it. Only one communication per household is considered. See below for the contact information.

Yavapai County Development Services:
planning@yavapai.us
10 South 6th Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
________________________________________
County Supervisors:
Rowle P. Simmons: web.bos.district1@yavapai.us – 1015 Fair Street Prescott, AZ 86305
Thomas Thurman: web.bos.district2@yavapai.us – 1015 Fair Street Prescott, AZ 86305
Randy Garrison: web.bos.district3@yavapai.us – 10 South 6th Street Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Craig L. Brown: web.bos.district4@yavapai.us – 1015 Fair Street Prescott, AZ 86305
Mary Mallory: web.bos.district5@yavapai.us – 1015 Fair Street Prescott, AZ 86305

Brent Bitz