Dec 4, 2012 7:10 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Oro Valley weighs development of land near Catalina State Park

ORO VALLEY - A proposed plan for developing a parcel of land in Oro Valley near Oracle Road and Tangerine has residents up in arms about what that could mean for the environment.

The unincorporated stretch of land sits next to the Catalina State Park, which has some worried about the potential negative impacts new residential and commercial buildings could bring.

The quiet desert scene could soon be cleared to make way for hundreds of new homes and stores, but the idea of breaking ground on this roughly 100-acre piece of land has environmentalists worried.

"This is what brings people to Oro Valley, this is what is their economic driver," said Carolyn Campbell, of the Coalition for Sonoran Protection. "The open space both for bird watching and wildlife watching, but also for things like hiking, mountain biking..."

Campbell is worried developing the Sonoran scenery could destroy the habitat for native wildlife.

"From mountain lions and bobcats down to skunks and fox...and no matter how big Coronodo national forest is, if you isolate those animals there they're not going to be there long...they're going to die out," Campbell told News 4 Tucson.

But Sunchase Holdings, the company behind the development, says it could be a few years before they break ground.

"From the beginning of our discussion with the town and the town's constituents, we have worked to sit down and listen to everyone's concerns, we have really tried to understand all the interests," said Eric Bose, Director of Development for Sunchase Holdings.

The company has even taken building a resort on the property off the table.

"We are fully invested in continuing to work with all of the constituencies in the region to really make this project the best that it can be," Bose said.

However, Campbell understands it's private land.

"Recognizing that it's private land, what we'd like to do is work with the town to have it sensitively developed," Campbell said.

The land development plan is expected to be discussed Wednesday evening at the Oro Valley Town Council Chambers at 5pm.


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