Fantasy Island Update, August 2019. PLEASE READ!
Hopefully you all have seen our posts and updates over the last few years about the Mattamy Homes/Saguaro Trails development and the Tucson Water/SHARP recharge project. Anyone who rides Fantasy Island knows that major changes have been happening, and more are coming. To see the original 2006 Master Plan and get the historical perspective, GO HERE
Several months ago representatives from SDMB, TORCA, and SAMBA were contacted by Council Member Shirley Scott’s Office and local attorney Keri Sylan (on behalf of the Arizona State Land Department, or AZSLD) to meet and discuss the future of Fantasy Island. In short, most of the land that Fantasy Island currently occupies is owned by the AZSLD and has no permanent protection. We have known for years that some of the land would be sold and developed, and the 2006 Master Plan represented a monumental community effort to preserve as much of the trails as possible. Fast forward to 2019, and the AZSLD is preparing to sell 2,500 acres of land in the Houghton/Valencia area which includes much of Fantasy Island. To the best of our understanding, originally the AZSLD had no intention of honoring the 2006 Master Plan or preserving any of the trails (which they had no legal obligation to do) and the City of Tucson was able to negotiate the current arrangement.
We acknowledge that the loss of any trails, especially ones as important as Fantasy Island, is tragic and the sale and eventual development will impact many riders. The SDMB board truly believes that the 2006 Master Plan and the proposed preservation arrangement is the best offer on the table and that continued negotiation/advocacy will not bring any additional benefit. We will continue to advocate for preservation of as much of the original trail system as possible, and will work to minimize overall loss of mileage.
The good news:
The bad news:
What you can do:
QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? PLEASE EMAIL TRAILSTEWARD@SDMB.ORG.
READ BELOW FOR THE STATEMENT FROM THE ARIZONA STATE LAND DEPARTMENT AND CITY OF TUCSON…
Atterbury Trails PCD and Fantasy Island
The Arizona State Land Department (“State Land Department”) is working with the City of Tucson (“City”) to rezone approximately 2500 acres of State Trust Land (“Trust Land”) along Houghton Road to the Atterbury Trails Planned Community Development (“PCD”). See attached map for boundary of the PCD. The PCD is a zoning entitlement that allows flexibility in location of uses and overall master-planning of very large acreages within the Houghton Area Master Plan (“HAMP”) that will be developed over a 20-40-year time horizon.
The State Land Department is Trustee of over 9 million acres of land throughout the State of Arizona that it manages for 13 specific beneficiaries, primarily the State education system. State Land’s role is to ensure that all trust lands are held, leased, and/or sold to maximize the financial return for those beneficiaries. This Trust Land is part of the 7800 acres of State Land within the HAMP boundary.
As part of the PCD process, the State Land Department has reviewed the Fantasy Island Master Plan and, in working with City staff, the Ward IV office and Fantasy Island stakeholders, State Land is proposing to formalize the portion of Fantasy Island near Irvington Road as Open Space/City Park (over 200 acres of land) pursuant to the attached map. The PCD would acknowledge this area as Open Space with the Fantasy Island park and mountain bike trails in a similar regulatory manner as the Saguaro Trails PAD. The City and State Land will be working through a separate process for the City to either own, lease or otherwise obtain a permit to use this area of the PCD for Fantasy Island. This treatment in the PCD brings forward the vision in the Fantasy Island Master Plan and solidifies the rights for Fantasy Island users in this area of the PCD for generations to come. Fantasy Island stakeholders acknowledge that this means there will need to be some re-routing of trails on the western edge of the Open Space per the PCD map to permit a 300-foot buffer and option for a Harrison Road connection into the future. In addition, the Fantasy Island Trails south of the Mattamy development and City Water site will be removed once those areas are ready to be auctioned by the State Land Department to an end-user. Fantasy Island and the City will continue to work with the State Land Department and the end-users to provide appropriate connectivity from new homes/development to the bicycle trails balanced with protection of those trails into the future.
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