From: State Representative Mark Finchem, LD-11 <>
Date: August 10, 2017 at 5:23:14 PM MST
Subject: Oro Valley Push to Annex & Develop State Trust Land

Tangerine Crossings Update


New Developments

Yesterday I met with State Lands Trust Commissioner, Lisa Atkins and her staff, to talk about the matter of annexation and land use. I was able to confirm what I had suspected, the annexation of State Trust Land is a separate issue from land use. I do not wish to vilify Marana for annexing the land due east of the intersection of Tangerine and Thornydale, however the annexation cut into what would have been Oro Valley along a range line. That said, Oro Valley approached the State Land Trust (SLT) to work on annexation of all lands east of Thornydale held by the SLT into Oro Valley. The discussion is on-going and will remove land from unincorporated status in Pima County, to controlled, incorporated status in Oro Valley. This status change helps to reduce the amount of unincorporated land in our area, which increases the state shared revenue coming back to our area for road maintenance.

Even with annexation, the land will still be controlled by the State Land Trust; there will be no transfer of ownership with the change of the Oro Valley General Plan. Regardless of the local jurisdiction [read as town or city boundary] the SLT is free to sell the land to the highest bidder today, even without annexation.

With regard to land use, as I examine the flood plain map, the land south of Tangerine has a major exposure running NE to SW through the eastern half diagonal. As flood plain, this land will most likely be off limits. There is a commercial corridor along Thornydale that could be designated as an industrial park, however the value is dependent upon a buyer who would want to spend the money to protect against flooding. This is a serious impediment.

As for the northern side of Tangerine and the State Land Trust holding, where development has already occurred -both commercial and residential- the State Land Trust is obliged by State Constitution and voter initiative to manage the lands to “the highest and best use” for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the State Land Trust. The beneficiary receiving the greatest share of the State Land Trust “profits” is public education. There is an opportunity to pre-empt development of the land by home builders, which is to purchase the land at auction, placing it into an independent land trust.

The land will eventually go to the highest bidder regardless of what jurisdiction is sits within. Water access is the limiting factor. While Oro Valley might provide access to water, there has to be a 100 year assured water supply certificate for any builder to build upon the land. Mayor Hiremath asked me for a meeting this morning, which I intend to take and share your concerns about development pans. Personally, I would prefer to see the land held as open space or at the most very low density housing, however that will ultimately rely on the owner. As I gather more information, I will share it with you.

Old News

I’ve heard from several property owners of homes in the area of a proposed development near Coyote Crossing, Thornydale, and Tangerine. As a Realtor, I know for a fact that many people who purchased land and built homes there paid a lot of money for a premium lot expecting wildlife, tranquility, and the quiet nature of our Sonoran desert-scape. The proposed annexation and possible development of state trust land at/near Thornydale & Tangerine and the Big Wash in Oro Valley is a local matter. However, with that said, I am reaching out to the State Land Trust Commissioner, Lisa Atkins.

Here is what I already know. First, it is a good thing that The town of Oro Valley is absorbing land that is currently controlled by Pima County. This action brings more state shared tax revenue directly to our community for such things as road maintenance and public safety (police, fire, ems).

Secondly, it is the responsibility of the State Land Trust to manage the lands ceded to the State at the granting of statehood for the 13 beneficiaries, which include the K-12 government school system among others. It is the responsibility of the State Land Trust to ensure that such resources are put to their “highest and best use,” which in this case may be viewed as commercial development.

Thirdly, some of the land in question is part of the Tortolita Mountains Flood Plain. I have asked for the current FEMA Flood Plain maps to understand how this important feature will be affected.

I have scheduled a meeting with Commissioner Atkins for next week to understand what may be done to ensure that private property values are not diminished by the proposed General Plan amendment and the land use that will flow from it. I hope to have more for you next week. While I am in favor of the annexation, I do not support further development of the open space in that area. I would rather see the land in question remain as set aside property to ensure that what we love about our community is preserved. One solution, that is not at all assured of being considered, is zoning that requires an agricultural use such as grazing.

I hope to have more information for you about what can be done after next weeks meeting.

Legislative District 11, includes Saddlebrooke, Catalina, Oro Valley,
Marana, Eloy, Casa Grande, Arizona City and Maricopa City.

Copyright © 2017 AZ Rep. Mark Finchem, Constituent Services, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wrote me to ask for help with the proposed development of state land at/near Coyote Crossing/Thornydale & Tangerine and the Big Wash in Oro Valley.Our mailing address is:

AZ Rep. Mark Finchem, Constituent Services
PO Box 69344
Oro Valley, AZ 85737