Commentary: 300+new homes in Rimrock ultimate in bad planning
In response to Mr. Engler’s editorial about growth in Beaver Creek:
First, I’m sorry you don’t think our community is “vibrant” enough. If the comments from the community meeting of Aug. 17 is any indication, people in Beaver Creek love their community just like it is.
Sure, we could use more amenities like a grocery store or high-speed internet, and it looks like those amenities are coming. What we don’t need is sudden mega-growth that will outstrip our water supply, make traffic even more horrific than it already is, and add to the already overcrowded classrooms at our elementary school.
While most of the community supports the grocery store, and some of the community may support MRWC Well #4, there is little to no support for a zoning change for Cavanaugh Construction to build a 302-unit apartment/townhouse development (Primrose Peaks Estates). Especially in the location the developer proposes.
There are many reasons this development would be devastating to Beaver Creek but I will just address the one I am most familiar with -- water. Having been the Water Chairman for the Beaver Creek Regional Council and President of Friends of the Well for many years, I have spent hours of research on the water situation in our community.
You have described this problem as the “ultimate battleground for curbing growth” -- as if that is an absurd idea. One look at Arizona Department of Water Rescource’s hydrographs for various wells in Beaver Creek shows the precipitous fall in the water table over the past 50 years. I invite you to review some of these hydrographs from ADWR I provided for the Say No to PPE folks on their website: http://saynotoppe.com/our-water-supply/. Or simply go to the ADWR website and pull some up yourself.
I was not surprised to hear testimony from many people at the Aug. 17 meeting that they have had to deepen their wells. I heard the same thing from many residents when I was Water Chair for BCRC. But I was surprised to hear that the Wickiup Mesa well owned by Arizona Water Company (AWC) had gone dry, and it will need to be re-drilled too.
AWC already has one well in the area that is 1039-feet deep. Why is that significant? Because it is the only well in Beaver Creek that reaches into the deep Red Wall Formation. Most wells in our area are in upper Verde Formation. Oh, except for one other – Montezuma Well.
When the Verde Formation is tapped out, all wells in Beaver Creek will need to reach into this deeper aquifer. What will become of Montezuma Well then? Won’t be much of a tourist draw when it is just a big hole in the ground.
Not all people in Beaver Creek are supplied by the two water companies. And the water companies do not have infinite resources to build pipeline out to all homeowners, especially considering the rugged terrain and two creeks that bisect the area.
What happens to homeowners who lose their well when a new large development moves next door, drills a big well and lowers the water table even more? There is no “first in rights” laws in Arizona to protect well owners. It’s all about who has the money.
You accuse Beaver Creek of not planning for growth. There is only so much an unincorporated area can do.
Our only recourse is to beg the county to hear our voices and needs. I think we are planning by opposing this development. We are planning how we are going to preserve our dwindling water resources for the existing population and two large developments that already exist here, Beaver Creek Preserve (101 homes) and Thunder Ridge (106 homes), that are far from build out.
Not to mention the hundreds of legal home lots that could still be developed by individual homeowners. Adding yet another, even larger development to an over committed water resource … Now that’s bad planning.
Kayo Parsons-Korn has lived in the Beaver Creek area since 2007. Since moving to Beaver Creek she has served as the Water Chairman for the Beaver Creek Regional Council and also was a member of the Beaver Creek Plan Committee. She is an avid environmentalist and served as the President of Friends of the Well for six years. She also participated in educational programs at the Well such as Green Rangers, Junior Rangers and BioBlitz events. She has been instrumental with the group Verde Valley Ancestral Gardens in creating another Native American Demonstration garden for the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.