Emphasizing the Deep Well Ranch project near the Prescott Municipal Airport could bring thousands of residents and millions of dollars of residential and commercial-industrial growth to Prescott during the next few decades, representatives of Espiritu Loci described the master plan to approximately 200 persons attending an open house July 13.
Trevor Barger, chief executive officer of Espiritu Loci – The Spirit of the Place – explained that he represented Chamberlain Development, which had teamed up with the James Family to create a long-term vision for development of just a small portion of the ranch owned by the James Family. Barger’s firm is headquartered in Scottsdale.
Barger stressed that project growth and development would not happen in the immediate future.
“People need to realize that we are looking at a 35- to 50- year growth project. I won’t likely be around when it reaches build-out. But we’re trying to anticipate what residents’ needs and interests will be in 20 or 30 years – and we’re sure there will be things then that don’t exist right now. That’s our challenge,” he said.
Barger suggested that the audience reflect on the changes that have occurred in just the past 25 years or so, and how they have changed lives. “Consider computers, cell phones, the Internet, satellites – how they have changed the way we live. We need to be visionary in planning for the future.”
Residential growth has the long-term potential for up to 22,000 people, he said.
He stressed that zoning permission for the development had been granted several years ago and the project has an existing water allocation as a part of an earlier water agreement. “Deep Well Ranch already has approximately 950-acre-feet of water available,” he said.
Using a PowerPoint presentation and several large posters scatted around the room to illustrate his presentation, Barger said the public meeting was the first of several planned to inform the public of plans being submitted to the City of Prescott and its various departments, as well as the Prescott City Council.
Decisions from the city are likely several months away, Barger said.
Development to Include Variety
Barger and his colleagues urged those present to look carefully at the color-coded posters to get a better idea of how the acreage was apportioned, by category, for development. Categories include residential, retail, commercial and employment potential, as well as a wide variety of residential options. Land is also dedicated for schools and public safety facilities. The long-range plan is designed to protect the long-term operations of the airport, while at the same time provide the City of Prescott with an economic return on its extensive infrastructure investment.
He emphasized that the development would not be one big asphalt and concrete-covered expanse of land. The plan calls for more than 400 acres of open space, including a 50-acre wildlife corridor and several miles of hiking trails to complement already existing local trails.
“Be assured we are giving major attention to open space and outdoor living experiences. Some of you may not know it, but Prescott has, statewide, the reputation of having the best trail system in Arizona. This master plan will add to that,” he said.
Responding to a question about the relationship of the airport to the overall plan, Barger said, “The airport is integral to the master plan. You are fortunate in Prescott that you have a municipal airport, one owned by the city. That makes it easier to cooperate and collaborate with the city and protect the airport while at the same time utilizing the adjacent areas for the benefit of the greater community. We are confident Deep Well Ranch will be a strong economic engine for the city.”
Responding to a question about roads and increased future traffic, he said the development team has been constantly in consultation with city personnel as well as Yavapai County officials and Arizona Department of Transportation authorities about future road expansion.
Positive and Negative Reactions During Question and Answer Session
Following his formal presentation, Barger opened the floor to questions and comments. Some in attendance commended the development team for trying to think ahead while protecting existing community values and the environment. Others were concerned that increased population growth would change the rural nature of the community. Other questions were about how much taxes would increase or what the impact of the development would be on nearby property values.
Yavapai County Supervisor Craig Brown, who represents District 4, the site for the future development, said he attended because he wanted to be certain that the infrastructure needs of the development would not adversely impact the county. He said the county will monitor carefully what is being proposed for the future. QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN
The Deep Well Ranch Office is located at 8400 N. State Route 89, Prescott. For more information, visit espirituloci.com/deep-well-ranch.
Photo by Ray Newton