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Online Neighborhood Meeting

We are committed to encouraging a productive discussion about the Bike Ranch. Please leave your all comments and questions here.

8 thoughts on “Online Neighborhood Meeting

  1. admin says:

    (Moved from old page)
    Don Hunt wrote:
    I hope the Bike Ranch becomes a reality.   Here is the text of the e-mail I sent to the clerk of the board:

    I have read with interest the pros and cons of the proposed Bike Ranch development on Old Spanish Trail across from Saguaro National Park.  I am writing this letter as a resident of east Tucson and frequent visitor to Saguaro National Park to encourage you to approve the Bike Ranch development.  I believe you will arrive at the same conclusion as I have once you realize that it is not realistic to expect anyone to own and pay taxes on 45 acres of land without developing it into an asset for that owner.  In light of that reality, the Bike Ranch appears to be a rare opportunity to minimize negative effects of development while allowing use of the property within the limits already established by the Buffer Overlay Zone Ordinance.

    The most remarkable unfavorable comment I have read is the one from the Saguaro National Park Superintendent, so I’ll address it first.  In his memorandum, he says he opposes the bike ranch for several reasons, among them, “the Bike Ranch would certainly infuse additional numbers of high speed bicyclists onto the Loop Drive, increasing the likelihood of visitor use conflicts and safety concerns.”  His statement implies that the park already has all the visitors he wants it to have or that he is of the opinion that motor traffic is somehow less damaging to the desert than bicycle traffic.  He points out that more visitors would increase the likelihood of conflicts and his plan for reducing conflicts is to avoid enticing more people to visit.  It seems to me that we all agree that the Bike Ranch will be a boon to Saguaro National Park visitation numbers and the commissioner should welcome the opportunity to address any issues that increased patronage might generate.

    His comment that the development is incompatible with the park’s goal of preserving “pristine stands of saguaro cacti and associated diverse Sonoran Desert vegetation and wildlife” would be germane if the development was proposed in the park, but it is not.  He expressed concern about the impact of the Bike Ranch on the vistas seen from within the park, and the traffic the Bike Ranch might create outside the park.  The impact of the Bike Ranch must be measured against the alternative of 13 single family homes, not against the current condition of undeveloped land.  I can’t see how 13 individual homes can be expected to be any better for the vistas than a coherent development under the influence of a single architect.   The wild life corridors have been identified and protected within the Bike Ranch plan, and will be much easier to defend with a single property owner than would be possible with 13 single family dwellings.

     

    The debate about the development of the Bike Ranch seems to be easily led off track by a resistance to any development at all.   Like many others, I’d really rather the land remain undeveloped and/or be annexed to Saguaro National Park, but that is not an option.  Once we accept the idea that the land will be developed in some manor, it is hard to imagine a development that will have less impact in terms of traffic, noise, pollution, or lifestyle on the east side of Tucson while increasing cash flow into the community.

    It is generally accepted that Tucson needs to bring in more tourist dollars and grow jobs in our area.  That means bringing people into our community and that typically means people who drive around to entertain themselves.  This is a unique opportunity to bring in revenue with the least imaginable addition of motor traffic on our roads here on the east side of Tucson.  In operation, the Bike Ranch will add almost no noise or air pollution to our area, and very little infrastructure needs to be built.  The trails and bike lanes are already in place. Bicycles already travel these routes in large numbers without adding to our noise or air pollution.

    Please keep in mind that you are not being asked if you think the Bike Ranch proposal is better than “pristine stands of saguaro cacti and associated diverse Sonoran Desert vegetation and wildlife.”  You are being asked if the development is responsibly planned within the limitations established in the Buffer Overlay Zone Ordinance, and is it in the best interest of the community.  Any other development scheme will surely have a more damaging impact on noise, traffic, air pollution and quality of life here on the east side of Tucson.  This is a development proposal that we should support.  It is the best way for us to address our economic imperatives while we defend our serene desert lifestyle.

    Reply
  2. admin says:

    (Moved from old page)
    Barbara McCool replied)
    Mr. Hunt did not attend the open hearing sponsored by the Pima County Development Services or he would have realized the Saguaro Park Superintendent is a woman, Darla Sidles. She testified forcefully that the proposed bike ranch should not be placed across the street from Saguaro National Park. She stated clearly that park officials believe a commercial project like the bike ranch would increase traffic in an already crowded area, jeopardize the wildlife that cross Old Spanish Trail, cause more light pollution and weaken the existing buffer zone.

    It was also apparent that the 100 plus people who attended the hearing opposed the proposed bike ranch because of the dense scale and its assault

    on the tranquility of this region.

    o

    Reply
  3. admin says:

    (Moved from old page)
    admin wrote
    The Superintendent’s letter is a matter of public record and the only testimony that she offered at the hearing was a reading out loud of her letter. Whether or not Mr. Hunt was present at the hearing is of no relevance to his having a valid opinion. Ms. McCool wants to interpret the Superintendent’s letter as “forceful”, when it uses modifiers like “does not appear to be in alignment with the Buffer Overlay Zone,” “could result in potential impacts to wildlife corridors, scenic viewsheds, etc.” Wording like that means a level of conjecture that requires additional clarification. The Conditional Use process is one of proposal, public response, and plan alteration. The fact that Ms. McCool is still citing comments made over six months ago when there was vastly less information about the project would indicate that she has made little investigation of the information provided on this website.

    Reply
  4. Matt Hardin says:

    Here is the letter I sent…

     

    Dear Tucsonan,

    I had one of those bizarre moments we have in life sometimes when I first heard of the Bike Ranch. I was having lunch with a friend of mine and we were trying to brainstorm where best to house a group of athletes coming to Tucson to train for the upcoming Kona Ironman. My friend is a world class triathlete and coach to a growing number of Ironman hopefuls. One challenge was establishing lodgings and accommodations for approximately two dozen athletes, their expensive bicycles, their extensive gear and their rigid dietary needs. The second challenge was finding a place with close proximity to Reddington Pass and Mt. Lemmon. It should be noted that my friend does not charge “Econo Lodge” rates and caters more to the resort type than the hotel type.

    Miraval was too far and Canyon Ranch was unable/unwilling to house so many with so much baggage. As we eliminated options, I received the solution from the sky -in the form of a text from a friend informing me that someone was opening a classic style ranch for bicyclists. On the east side. Near Mt Lemmon and Reddington Pass.  I showed the text to my friend, who said: “it’s perfect, too bad it’s not here already”. It’s not often that the solution to a problem falls into our laps, or inboxes.

    There is a well kept secret about Tucson in that it is quickly becoming the residence of choice for world class triathletes. I personally know of six who have permanent homes here. My aforementioned friend is a professional athlete and coach, but also an entrepreneur who launched a clothing line specializing in swimming, cycling and running. Another friend is a previous Ironman and Canadian National Triathlon champion. When asked, they cite the weather and access to Mt Lemmon as primary motivation.

    It is virtually impossible to drive the streets of Tucson without seeing the signs that this a community that embraces the growing sport of competitive cycling. The white elliptical bumper stickers with the numbers 70.3 or 140.6 (signifying half and full Ironman participation) are everywhere, and the streets are choked with teams of cyclists of all ages on the weekends. As a city, we can choose to embrace this growing trend, or act to alienate a potentially economy-changing industry. The development of The Bike Ranch would serve to advance the first, while allowing the blockage of it to serve the latter.

    I have lived at the intersection of Houghton and Old Spanish Trail since the late 1990s. I remember when I first moved there, the thing that struck me most was the stars at night. They were numerous, clear and bright. As the years passed, the view became more and more limited as uninspired and ubiquitous commercial sprawl encroached: Target, McDonald’s, Walmart, Walgreen’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. If it is the argument of the opposition that the east side should be saved from commercial development, they are years too late. The only hope now is the development of businesses that are unique, subtle and help to maintain the integrity of Tucson and its rich history and architecture. It seems that the Bike Ranch achieves all of these criteria and more. I would rather see 10 Bike Ranches than one more corporate monolith go up in my neighborhood. I would rather see my beloved hometown embrace an industry that is not about death and war making (such as Davis Monthan AFB and Raytheon). I would love to see a Tucson that has something unique to offer tourists, not just the same strip malls of the same boring and ugly businesses.

    In short, The Bike Ranch seems like a no-brainer. To anyone, that is, with a brain. Please allow the building of The Bike Ranch and prove to Tucsonans that we have something to be optimistic about where our economy is concerned. Please do the right thing and embrace the future of our beautiful city.

    Matthew Hardin

    Native Tucsonan

     

    Reply
  5. Pat Rech says:

    I wanted to share the email I sent to Darla Sidles at the Saguaro National Park:

    Darla Sidles:

    I am asking you to support the conditional use request submitted for the Bike Ranch near the entrance of Saguaro National Park East.  The business plan along with the related environmental impact studies for the proposed use of this property outline a very environmentally responsible use of this land including preservation of open space beyond what could be achieved if the parcels were developed as 3.3 acre residential.

    The Bike Ranch serves multiple purposes including much needed employment opportunities and attracting international tourist trade.  This proposal is an excellent example of innovation balanced with preserving our natural resources in the desert.    The studies highlight that the Park and the Ranch can co-exist in harmony with the desert fauna and animals without any detriment.

    As a neighbor, I highly endorse this land use.

     

    Pat Rech

     

    Reply
  6. roxanne says:

    Ummm…Are there t-shirts available?

    Reply
    • admin says:

      Yes, there are…we’ll be giving them out to supporters at the November 18th hearing.

      Reply
  7. @katalinscherer says:

    Check this out instead: http://i60.tinypic.com/30be7mf.jpg

    Your design is only marginally better than a developer using that land to build 3 macmansions. You could build a traditional village with narrow streets and 2-4 story zero setback building and make a human friendly completely self contained village that would be unique in the SouthWestern US and attract a LOT more people. You are throwing your money away designing the farmhouse style “resort”. Other than in name, its really not much different from any of the resorts around Tucson, except for its proximity to Old Spanish Trail. What use is it, if guests have to rent a car to shop, eat out, etc. In a traditional village, you could have EVERYTHING in one place, and guests could spend weeks there and never have to have a car (or use their 10K tri bikes to run errands). Best of luck on your endeavor.

    Reply

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