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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

Wednesday School Closures & Delays

 

Want to know if you should be getting your lunch packed for school? Well, here's all the information we could glean for you, including links to your district or school website.