Wednesday, June 7th, was a very busy morning. Not only was an infamous utility company owner being arraigned in federal court, but the Pinal County Board of Supervisors was also meeting and some items on that agenda were troubling to say the least. As I could only be in one place at a time, I sent the following letter to the Board of Supervisors to be read into the record. Unfortunately, while the letter was mentioned that it had been received, the letter was not read at the meeting. As a result, I am posting the letter here for anyone who may be interested in reading what it said.
PLEASE READ INTO THE RECORD AT BOS MEETING JUNE 7TH
Good morning, I apologize for not being able to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting this morning, however there is a certain arraignment hearing, for a particular utility provider, taking place at the same time, that I am attending. While I am unable to attend the BOS meeting this morning, I have serious concerns about all of the agenda items for rezoning commercial land into residential land in San Tan Valley. I'd like you to please accept my comments via email, and read them into the record to show not only my concern and opposition to those items, but to include a request that all members of the BOS, our county manager and planning and development departments discuss whether or not these decisions should be pushed through while our community is working to create our own future.
LETTER TO THE BOS:
Good morning Mr Chairman and Supervisors,
My name is Tisha Castillo and I am a resident of San Tan Valley.
As most of you should know, the residents of San Tan Valley have been trying for years to have the right to determine their own future. On Feb 21st of this year, after years of me personally lobbying for our community's right to vote, Governor Doug Ducey signed our bill removing veto power from smaller surrounding municipalities who have worked tirelessly to prevent us from voting on our own future. While the bill doesn't become law until the middle of August 2017, our community is pulling together and working hard to put an incorporation initiative on the ballot, allowing our residents the opportunity to vote YES or NO on whether or not we should become our own municipality.
With the passing of HB2088, we have seen a sudden rush to the finish line, by neighboring municipalities, such as Queen Creek, to hurry up and annex as much of our commercial areas as they can. All of this taking place before we, the residents of San Tan Valley, can draw our own boundaries and finally create our own planning area, an opportunity that we have never had before. While annexation of commercial property is a true threat to the financial stability of our community, it isn't the only threat. For the last couple of months, there are more and more rezoning requests and agenda items before you, requesting that commercially zoned land in San Tan Valley, be rezoned to allow for more residential build out. Not only do the majority of San Tan Valley residents firmly believe that we have plenty of houses, we are concerned that decisions being made today by the county, will also negatively impact the financial success of our new municipality.
We all know that no one in the county ever expected that San Tan Valley would grow into a community of over 100K people the way we did. While we are a beautiful community, with great potential, we have a list of issues that we are being forced to deal with. We have challenges with our infrastructure, we have limited commercial development and almost zero industrial opportunity. Our residents constantly leave the area, spending their hard earned dollars in other cities and counties, because San Tan Valley does not have the commercial quality of life business that a community of over 100,000 would normally have. As we struggle to bring these businesses into our community, the limited commercial land that we have is either being annexed by neighboring municipalities hungry to pad their bottom line & profit from our population or rezoned by the county grandfathering in development that we as a new municipality will be forced to adhere to.
Annexing and rezoning our commercial land, before we can legally start a campaign to actually get an incorporation initiative on the ballot, is just another example of things being done to San Tan Valley, without our input that we will have to live with.
You would think that the county would have learned its lesson by now - if you build affordable housing, people will move into them - however those people will also then demand services and a certain quality of life, that more houses will not provide.
As a concerned resident of San Tan Valley I urge you to wait. Whether or not San Tan Valley becomes its own municipality, these decisions are not wise. More homes will not help the county take care of our community. Rezoning our commercial parcels for more homes will negatively impact our future whether we become our own municipality or remain the huge liability, we currently are for the county.
Stop making promises today that San Tan Valley residents will have to deal with later. We are so close. The county should be focusing on how to assist us as we move forward, instead of making decisions that will pull the rug out from underneath us.
Thank you for your time.
**Additional Note: I have to say that I am disappointed that the Supervisors voted in favor of all rezoning items on the June 7th agenda. Even more disappointing is that District 2 Supervisor Goodman not only seconded several of the items up for vote, but voted in favor of all them as well.