Massive Housing Project on Doll Baby Road Goes Forward | Gila County

The massive Canyon River Ranch project planned on Doll Baby Ranch Road was the subject of a series of zoning changes approved by the county last week.

The planned senior living community spans approximately 158 acres west of Payson, on the south and north sides of Doll Baby Ranch Road.

The property remained intact for years after the Great Recession of 2008 put development on hold.

Originally, the county approved residential development plans for Canyon River Ranch in 2008. A 5,600 square foot pavilion was built with a 20,000 square foot indoor arena, well site, decorative entrance / water tower, and some interior road works and leveling. It all came to a halt in 2009, according to a report by community development staff submitted to supervisors for the July 27 public hearing.

Canyon River Partners LLC and International West Civil Contractors Inc. now own the property. The requester of the changes is Michael Baker International, who was represented at the meeting by Adam Pruett with the Phoenix office of Michael Baker International.

Responding to questions from supervisors Steve Christensen and Woody Cline, Pruett said the project is aimed at those 55 and over and expects to see around 35% seasonal occupancy and between 60% and 70% occupancy throughout the year. ‘year.

The “new” Canyon River Ranch project, according to the staff report, is a mixed-use development comprised of residential and commercial uses with a substantial amount of passive open space. At full construction, there will be 721 residential sites with a mix of single and double mobile homes with approximately 40% of all residential sites dedicated to RVs (288 sites). Each housing site will have electricity, water and wastewater services and will be rented to the resident for the installation of a house or recreational vehicle.

The owners would however like to have the option of leasing up to 100% of the property for RV purposes until the project is fully developed.

“We are excited about the project and are working to keep the process moving at a rapid pace,” Pruett said in an email to Gathering. “Our goal is for the Doll Baby Ranch Road improvements to be underway over the next few months and completed for a breakthrough project in the first quarter of 2022.”

The project will develop in two phases – split between the north and south sides of Doll Baby Ranch Road.

“Occupancy is expected to begin within six to eight months of the start of construction and is expected to increase rapidly as marketing efforts are underway,” he said.

Approvals

Proposed commercial uses include restaurants, personal service businesses, self-storage facilities, and the sale of fuel and propane.

The owners are also considering temporary outdoor events.

The owners propose to offer a significant number of amenities with the development, including the existing pavilion and arena, a large community clubhouse, several miles of trails and multi-use trails, a one-acre fishing pond, passive open space accounting for nearly 60% of the property and multiple sporting opportunities such as pickleball, tennis, baseball and softball, basketball courts, three dog parks and three community pools.

County staff said the applicant would also like to have the option of developing the property either in a single phase or in two phases, depending on the timing of approvals related to infrastructure permits, construction costs and mobilization. . If it becomes a two-phase project, the applicant is planning a phase north of Doll Baby Ranch Road and a second phase south of that road.

Water

Water is currently expected to come from seven wells on the property, as well as a 60,000 gallon water tank, with more as needed.

The applicant is exploring these options. Previously, when the property had to be developed for single-family residences, the water had to be supplied by private wells. With a change in use of the property from single family residences to a mobile / manufactured / RV home project, the applicant retained the services of a hydrologist to determine the potential capacity and availability of water to serve the project. Ultimately, the applicant will need to obtain approvals from the Arizona Departments of Environmental Quality and Water Resources to provide water to the property.

Already, the Salt River project is raising red flags regarding the drilling of wells on the property due to its proximity to the East Verde River. In a letter to the county, Shawn Lucas of SRP said the company had serious concerns. It is only 1.5 miles from the East Verde River and any wells on the property will conflict with SRP’s rights. An independent hydrological study has been suggested.

The back-up plans for the water include purchasing the town of Payson and shipping or transporting it, said Paul Brown, another representative for the developer.

Waste

The applicant proposes to use a private wastewater collection and treatment station. The proposed treatment includes the reuse of the effluent with a private transporter to remove the remaining material for off-site management. The applicant will need to obtain approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for the remediation system.

Emergency services

The applicant has had numerous discussions with the Town of Payson regarding the emergency and fire medical services for the project.

According to a letter dated May 12 from Payson fire chief David Staub, the city is supporting the project subject to the following conditions:

1) The developer of the property creates a fire district which will contract with the city to provide fire and emergency service

2) The developer will pay the city $ 700,000 for the purchase of a fire truck and equip it according to the needs of the city (the truck will be kept in a municipal facility).

3) The promoter will ensure that all access roads to the interior of the development comply with the International Fire Code.

4) The proponent will provide fire hydrants throughout the community.

5) The developer will provide a fire water flow of 500 gallons per minute from all hydrants at a residual pressure of 20 psi for a two hour duration.

6) That all buildings in the development be equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system that meets the building’s use which is required when there is no secondary access outside the development.

7) That the developer will dedicate two acres of land for the fire district to be used for a future fire station.

Road improvements

Doll Baby Ranch Road, which is the main access road between the property and town, is a two-lane public road. Approximately 1,000 feet of this road lies within the city and approximately 2,000 feet falls under county jurisdiction. The Applicant has discussed the necessary improvements to Doll Baby Ranch Road with the City and County and has agreed to make the improvements. Part of the upgrades will include realigning the road and drainage crossings to the American Gulch drainage.

The US Forest Service must approve the improvement of the road.

Due to the large number of facilities offered and the fact that the project will bring more affordable housing to the area, community development staff, in their report to supervisors, said they believed the project would have a positive overall impact. on the community.

The changes approved by the Gila County Board of Supervisors on July 27 are just the first step in a long process before they begin.

The changes approved by the BOS: A minor amendment to the Gila County Comprehensive Plan to change the land use designation from residential to mixed use, an amendment to the Gila County zoning map to change the designation zoning from R1-D40 and R1L-D40 to Transitional Residential with a planned development overlay and trailer overlay and reversion to the area related to the Canyon River Ranch flat subdivision.


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