Q and A with owner of proposed Cornville development
CORNVILLE — After the owners of two properties located along State Route 89A, about halfway between Cottonwood and Sedona, recently applied for zoning changes in order to build large planned area developments in what is still a mostly undeveloped part of the Verde Valley, the Cornville Community Association held a public meeting to get community feedback.
The reactions from those who spoke at the Nov. 12 meeting, attended by more than 250 people, were overwhelmingly negative, voicing apprehension about everything from traffic to emergency needs to water issues to the affordability of homes, from both longtime residents and those who recently moved to the area seeking a rural lifestyle.
Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Garrison acknowledged the housing price ranges mentioned by the applicants for both the Spring Creek Ranch and Villa Bellagio proposed planned area developments might be above what many current Verde Valley residents can afford. However, with a housing crunch becoming tighter as more visitors decide to make the valley their home, Garrison said, retirees with larger budgets would hopefully seek to move into one of the two planned developments — both of which including assisted living facilities — freeing up other housing inventory in the valley for those with more modest housing budgets.
The two re-zoning applications could both be reviewed publicly by the Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission at its Dec. 19 meeting, but the agenda for that meeting isn’t typically released until about one week prior, or Dec. 12.
The owner-developer of Waddell Road-area parcels in the Villa Bellagio plan — Sunset Valley Farms, LLC, of Mesa — has not yet responded to the Verde News’ communication.
Lisa Borowsky, an attorney whose family are the developers for Spring Creek Ranch, replied to questions about the 282 acres it plans to use for a development that includes residential housing, recreational vehicle spaces and assisted living with direct access to State Route 89A via Spring Creek Ranch Road.
Verde News: What are the roles of everyone in your family that is involved with the development business?
Lisa Borowsky: My father, Eric Borowsky, is the lead on our Application for Zone Map Change and the future development. He has extensive experience as a land and business owner in Arizona. Eric has great vision and he has had a strong focus, and passion, for water management and conservation throughout his career.
He led the effort that resulted in the Arizona Snowbowl using reclaimed water for snowmaking instead of precious groundwater, the first ski area in the world to do so. Now, ski areas across the US have implemented the use of reclaimed water for snowmaking.
Eric was the majority owner and operator of the Arizona Snowbowl from 1992 to 2017; he remains involved as a minority owner and general partner.
I am an attorney and I have focused heavily on construction law throughout my career. In addition, I served on the Scottsdale City Council from 2009-2013, a period of time where many development proposals and zoning cases were decided upon. As part of my work on the Council, I chaired the Planning Commission. When reviewing zoning cases which came before the Commission and the Council, my priorities centered on rational and thoughtful growth.
My sister, Kristen Spayd, is a licensed Realtor. My mom, Betty, has always been my father’s greatest partner and she is closely involved in business decisions and visioning. We will all be involved in the Spring Creek Ranch development and we will work together to make it a great community for our residents.
Verde News: How did your father came to learn about Spring Creek Ranch? What made him want to put such a large development there?
Borowsky: He was invited to view the property by an acquaintance in the real estate industry. Having a long and storied career in water-related properties throughout Arizona, he was immediately drawn to Spring Creek. The property was purchased in 2005 and he has owned it since.
Verde News: How did ideas for the Land Use Plan get on there, and who was involved in this discussion?
Borowsky: The proposed development originated in response to the housing needs of the Verde Valley. There is a significant shortage of housing options for the workforce in the area.
We have identified a plan that will meet those housing needs, while providing a community that residents will enjoy calling home. We will be offering Class A amenities, including two clubhouses, fitness facilities, sport courts, a 2.5-mile walking trail around Spring Creek, restaurants, a general store and on-site storage facilities.
The first amenities will be completed during Phase 1 of the project so that prospective residents can tour the facilities and new residents can enjoy them.
Verde News: There really isn’t a planned development with the size and scope of this one anywhere in the Verde Valley. Is public reaction considered when proposing this PAD? Or is that aspect not part of the discussions?
Borowsky: We are one of two large, privately owned land parcels in the area, the other being the future 89 & Vine development. There aren’t other parcels that would be appropriate for the proposal that we have submitted such as Spring Creek Ranch is.
So far, we have received lots of positive feedback. We understand that there are community members that will be concerned about the scope of our project and we are looking forward to meeting with them.
We hope to get feedback and input from longtime residents and, in exchange, provide assurances as to the quality development we intend to create.
Verde News: Did anyone representing your group or project attend the Nov. 12 meeting, and if so, why didn’t that person speak or present anything?
Borowsky: No. Unfortunately, we learned about the meeting after it had been scheduled and we were unable to make the date and time. We have reached out the Cornville Community Association several times in an effort to schedule a date in the near future to meet with their members. We will also be hosting an open house presentation in early December to provide all interested community members with details about our proposal.
Verde News: Was the size (at least 250 people) and largely negative reaction at the meeting surprising to you or anyone with your organization?
Borowsky: The reaction is not surprising. We haven’t had the opportunity to meet with those that held the meeting or attended it. I think it is natural to be concerned about development you don’t know much about; we hope to change that and have a constructive dialogue to address concerns.
Verde News: What other projects the family is pursuing or has recently wrapped up?
Borowsky: The Arizona Snowbowl snowmaking expansion was the last construction project my dad was involved in. Spring Creek Ranch is our primary focus now.