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Hundreds of new homes and outlet mall coming to Marana

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Marana Town Council has just unanimously approved the re-zoning of two major housing development projects along Twin Peaks Road.

The Twin Peaks Preserves would be located near Twin Peaks and Blue Bonnet road.  The plan calls for 195 homes to be built on a 100-acre parcel of land.

The Twin Peaks Vista project will be located in the neighborhood of Twin Peaks and Decker road.  It would mean 58 new homes in the neighborhood.

Town officials said the Twin Peaks area was a hot bed of development, but they hoped to do it responsibly.  Ryan Mahoney, the planning director for the Town of Marana said they were using the Twin Peaks Corridor Study to make sure the growth was in line with the vision they had for the area.

There are several projects on the table, some have been approved while others are in the public hearing stages.  If all goes as planned, a brand new outlet mall was in the works at the corner of I-10 and Twin Peaks Road.  The lot had already been sold, and a sign announcing "Opening soon, Tucson Premium Outlets" was already planted in the ground.

Mahoney said the outlet mall was going to be built by the same company that developed the mall in Chandler.  The mall would be the anchor of the development at the southern end of Twin Peaks road.

Town officials were looking at a total of five re-zoning projects.  If all of them get the green light, Mahoney said that could mean 1,400-1,600 new homes coming into the town of Marana within the next few years.  All of the development would be along Twin Peaks Road, between I-10 and Tangerine Road.

"We see it as a very important corridor for the town, that is why we're trying to be very careful with the development coming in," said Mahoney.

We visited the areas affected by this growth.  Many of the residents in the affected neighborhoods were not too happy to hear about the development.

They had formed a group called "Save our Desert" and had been actively campaigning against the proposals.  Residents said they were concerned about their quality of life being diminished, crime, litter, wildlife, and the water table in the area.

Teri and Grey Carpenter bought their home in the Twin Peaks and Blue Bonnet Drive area about five years ago.  They moved there because the area was zoned low-density, and they liked the fact that each house had at least one acre of land attached to it.

The Carpenters enjoyed the landscape, and the peace and quiet of living out in the desert.

Now, the Preserves at Twin Peaks development meant 195 new homes being built practically in their backyard.

Susan Tremblay lived off of Decker Road for the same reasons.  She said many of her neighbors owned horses and livestock, and felt a new housing development would take away the rural charm that brought them to the area in the first place.

Residents have spoken out at planning commission meetings and written letters to town council members.  Now they said, they have learnt the hard way, that zoning laws can change with just a vote.

"Everything can change.  Zoning can be changed. If there is open land around you don't be naive. The zoning will change if people want it to," said Carpenter.

Mahoney said they were following the laws and holding public hearings.   The town was required by state law to have a general plan that was ratified by the voters.  The general plan called for two homes per acre of land, and the new projects were all in compliant of that.

"We've worked very hard to try and mitigate effects of developments that would be negative on.. really did take their word and incorporate it into the study," said Mahoney.

Tremblay said that was not good enough for her.  She might consider moving to a new area with her horses.

"It's not good enough, not when they're 25-feet from the back of my fence.  No. The only buffer I think is good is a big wall, and I didn't pay a lot of money to look at a big wall," said Tremblay.

Mahoney said the Casa Sevilla development project had already been approved by the town council. 

The Twin Peaks Oasis project had been recently annexed and a public hearing was scheduled to be held at a later date.

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