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gymdayatcouncil
At the beginning of Council, the YMCA Girls Gymnastics team were honored for their excelling season this year.
Prescott Council members generally embraced new plans for a senior community development at Tuesday's study session despite a handful of questions regarding a list of concerns brought forth by an attorney for Las Fuentes Resort Village.

The Boulders - A Prescott Retirement Center Planned Area Development, designed to be built at 910 Canterbury Lane, was described by Developer Bill Spring of Forest Glen, Inc., in Sedona to council as an opportunity for "affordable, luxury rent comensurate to other facilities in the community with a spectacular view of Thumb Butte." He said the center would feature high-definition theater available in a non-denomination chapel, tip-free valet parking, van transportation anywhere residents want to go locally, massage facilities, recreation facilities and enclosed glass walkways connecting various buildings in the complex. He added he's trying to work something out with Yavapai Regional Medical Center officials to make physicians available on site for Boulders' residents.

Councilwoman Lora Lopas thanked Spring for "bringing another great project to town. It fits at that location like a square plug in a square hole." Councilman Jim Lamerson echoed her s feelings about the project being needed in the community. After Spring and designer Larry Meeks gave their presentations, Prescott Mayor Jack Wilson added, "I want to congratulate the architect and developer, this is not a cheap project. It's a high quality project, not a make-a-lot-of-money project. My wife says we should get some reservations in."

Council discussion centered on an amendment proposal to the development agreement that would increase the height of the facility from 45 feet to 49.5 feet, as well as approval of the grading and site plans.

Grading the area just south of Las Fuentes Resort Village to build The Boulders initially was a major concern reported Len Scamardo of the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commision. "We had a major problem with this originally because of the slope of grading," he said. "He (the architect) saved a large number of trees on this site and did a super job cleaning up construction." Scamardo suggested that Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted unanimously last Thursday to approve the change in plans as "something that would reward the architect for doing such a great job."

Prescott Community Development Planner Mike Bacon explained changes from the first site plan introduced meet all regulations and provide the community with a more well-thought-out, improved facility.

And Garry Falk, a resident in the area where The Boulders would be built told council, "I've been up to the podium at least 25 times over the past few years on this and hope this one can be built. I recommend that the majority of construction equipment comes through Canterbury Lane, not Sun Street."

However, not everyone in the community agrees the proposed project is such a great idea.

Janet Hutchison of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon Attorneys at Law in Phoenix presented a list of objections, repeating what she had written in a Jan. 28 letter to to Planning and Zoning Commissioners requesting denial of proposed changes in height and site plans on behalf of Las Fuentes Resort Village.

"The application/request is yet another proposed redesign of the site plan and reconfiguration for the Boulders property. This site plan, however, is fraught with major problems so severe that it is most likely doomed to failure and clearly will have a serious negative impact on the community," she wrote.

"We urge the Commission to carefully review this application, the history of attempted development of this property with its challenging terrain and consider the 'pronounced changes' being advanced in this site plan. If considered, it will be clear that this site plan is neither an improvement nor in substantial conformance with prior actions of Prescott City Council. While the staff report glosses over or completely ignores the material deviations and obvious pitfalls with this site plan, this Commission must carefully consider these problems and, in the best interest of this community, deny this application."

Hutchison again Tuesday listed a number of reasons for the denial, including previous zoning issues of the property, licensing, parking, traffic and access, safety, density and open space buffering, federal funding, lack of notice to neighboring property owners on public hearings on the project, and the proposed height increase. Hutchison said, "Another major problem with the proposed use is the request, once again, for a new, higher height limit. As disclosed in the staff report, the building height limit in 2003 was 40 feet, with a 45-foot request for one specific small area. The current application seeks 49.5 feet, a substantial deviation from the original request and Code."

"In fact, the (Prescott) Development Code provides that the maximum building/structure height in MF-H zoning is 35 feet. The applicant is therefore requesting a huge variation from the requirements, an almost 41.5-percent increase," she wrote in her letter.

She repeated her concern Tuesday to council that this information was not disclosed to neighbors, only to city engineers working with the developer.

Spring was obviously affected by Hutchison's comments and repeated a metaphor he's used several times in dealing with Las Fuentes' concerns over the past few months. "It's like McDonalds's complaining because there's going to be a Wendy's on the corner." He later apologized to council for letting Hutchison's complaints get to him.

Thomas Kack of Musgrove, Drutz and Kack Attorneys at Law wrote a follow-up letter Feb. 5 to the letter sent by Hutchison to Planning and Zoning Commissioners defending the
request for denial and countering her arguments.

"Attorneys for Las Fuentes Resort Village raised various issues regarding The Boulders retirement center in a letter submitted at the 11th hour. Most of the issues raised by that letter were addressed in the Jan. 29 hearing before the Commission. Bill Spring was correct in his comment at the recent hearing that 'Las Fuentes' objection resembles *McDonald's* complaining about a *Wendy's *opening next door. This is graphically demonstrated by the Las Fuentes' letter comments that the project is 'doomed to failure' and
will have a 'negative impact' on the community. There have been three feasibility studies on The Boulders project, including one by HUD, all with positive results, demonstrating significant demand for senior housing in Prescott."

Kack goes on to say, "The fact that Las Fuentes is fixed on the competitive aspect of this project is evident from the text of this section, including Las Fuentes' statement that 'The very issue of assisted living service raises numerous concerns.' The 'concerns' that Las Fuentes raises relative to the assisted living vs. independent living are red herrings, as is Las Fuentes' 'conclusion that the owner has either not determined the exact scope of this project, or is unwilling to share that information with the City and neighbors'. There have been six public meetings on the current development agreement and this project and various staff of Las Fuentes were in attendance at several of them..."

This issue was raised again at the study session. However, Prescott City Attorney Gary Kidd told council, "We believe, from a legal standpoint, that proper notice has been given on this project."

City Planner George Worley pointed out that perhaps the reason Las Fuentes administrators were not contacted in what they considered to be proper notice of neighborhood meetings leading up to the study session is the home address listed on official property records for Las Fuentes is in Tennessee.

Council agreed to pull the item from the consent agenda at next week's voting session to give neighbors in the proposed project area more time to bring their concerns to council before a final decision is made.

councilminuslopas
Last week, Councilwoman Lopas was absent from the City Council meeting.
Prescott Council members will begin discussion this afternoon on a change in plans for the 132-unit The Boulders - A Prescott Retirement Center Planned Area Development, at 910 Canterbury Lane. Specific discussion is slated on an amendment proposal to the development agreement that would increase the height of the facility from 45 feet to 49.5 feet, as well as approval of the grading and site plans.

Members of the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commission last Thursday unanimously approved recommendation for council approval of the plans. And City staff is recommending council approve the changes, along with some specific stipulations to the agreement to be followed as the development progresses. However, it appears not everyone in the community thinks the new retirement home is such a great idea.

Janet Hutchison of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon Attorneys at Law in Phoenix sent a letter Jan. 28 to Planning and Zoning Commissioners requesting denial of proposed changes in height and site plans on behalf of Las Fuentes Resort Village, the northerly neighbor of the proposed project.

"The application/request is yet another proposed redesign of the site plan and reconfiguration for the Boulders property. This site plan, however, is fraught with major problems so severe that it is most likely doomed to failure and clearly will have a serious negative impact on the community.

"We urge the Commission to carefully review this application, the history of attempted development of this property with its challenging terrain and consider the 'pronounced changes' being advanced in this site plan. If considered, it will be clear that this site plan is neither an improvement nor in substantial conformance with prior actions of Prescott City Council. While the staff report glosses over or completely ignores the material deviations and obvious pitfalls with this site plan, this Commission must carefully consider these problems and, in the best interest of this community, deny this application."

Hutchison lists a number of reasons for the denial, including previous zoning issues of the property, licensing, parking, traffic and access, density and open space buffering, federal funding, lack of notice to neighboring property owners on public hearings on the project, and the proposed height increase. In her letter, Hutchison states, "Another major problem with the proposed use is the request, once again, for a new, higher height limit. As disclosed in the staff report, the building height limit in 2003 was 40 feet, with a 45-foot request for one specific small area. The current application seeks 49.5 feet, a substantial deviation from the original request and Code.

"In fact, the (Prescott) Development Code provides that the maximum building/structure height in MF-H zoning is 35 feet. The applicant is therefore requesting a huge variation from the requirements, an almost 41.5-percent increase." She further states this information was not disclosed to neighbors, only to city engineers working with the developer.

However, Thomas Kack of Musgrove, Drutz and Kack Attorneys at Law wrote a follow-up letter Feb. 5 to planning and zoning commissioners defending the request and countering arguments listed by Hutchison.

"Attorneys for Las Fuentes Resort Village raised various issues regarding The Boulders retirement center in a letter submitted at the 11th hour. Most of the issues raised by that letter were addressed in the Jan. 29 hearing before the Commission. Bill Spring was correct in his comment at the recent hearing that 'Las Fuentes' objection resembles McDonald's complaining about a Wendy's opening next door. This is graphically demonstrated by the Las Fuentes' letter comments that the project is 'doomed to failure' and will have a 'negative impact' on the community. There have been three feasibility studies on The Boulders project, including one by HUD, all with positive results, demonstrating significant demand for senior housing in Prescott."

Kack goes on to say, "The fact that Las Fuentes is fixed on the competitive aspect of this project is evident from the text of this section, including Las Fuentes' statement that 'The very issue of assisted living service raises numerous concerns.' The 'concerns' that Las Fuentes raises relative to the assisted living vs. independent living are red herrings, as is Las Fuentes' 'conclusion that the owner has either not determined the exact scope of this project, or is unwilling to share that information with the City and neighbors'. There have been six public meetings on the current development agreement and this project and various staff of Las Fuentes were in attendance at several of them..."

Today's council study session agenda also calls for consideration of spending more than $1.7 million dollars on wastewater treatment center chemicals; creating a new sewer district in the area on Adams Avenue between Vyne and Oak streets to reimburse resident Linda Johnson for her $61,831.60 investment in a new sewer line for the area; and paying Prescott Downtown Partnership $15,585 out of bed tax money collected through event fees at Courthouse Plaza.

In additon, special recognition will be paid during the presentation portion of the council meeting to the passing of "Prescott's Singing Cowboy" Ted Edmundson and the YMCA's Gymnastics Team, 'Prescott Lightning,' for their recent win at the Las Vegas Invitational Lady Luck national competition.

Today's meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in council chambers at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St., Prescott.

County Attorney Sheila Polk will be the keynote speaker as the Chamber kicks off the 5th year of the quarterly "Women in Business" lunch programs.

An alleged guitar thief has been arrested and is in custody.

If you get stranded due to snow or other circumstances, are you prepared? Sometimes the unexpected does happen!

coldcase Yavapai Silent Witness is assisting the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with the following “Cold Cases.”

On September 7, 1987 the body of Kristina Sue Reyes was found by motorists in a small ravine at the Sunset Point rest area in southern Yavapai County. Even though her body was in an advanced state of decomposition sheriff’s detectives determined that her cause of death was strangulation.

On January 10, 1988 the body of William Wear was found in his residence in Bridgeport near Cottonwood. Mr., Wear was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. Mr. Wear had only been dead a short time when his body was discovered. He died of gunshot wounds and after shooting him the suspects robbed Mr. Wear.

If you have any information on either of these unsolved “Cold Cases” please call Yavapai Silent Witness. A cash reward is being offered. Call 800-932-3232 with any criminal information.

Steve Skurja
Program Director
Yavapai Silent Witness