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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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6/13/2013 6:02:00 AM
Annexed land on ranch may be used for youth sports complex
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Click here to enlarge map(opens in new window)
Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Based on an "assumption" that a tract of ranchland northeast of Prescott could one day serve as a youth sports complex, an impact study has predicted that annexing the land into Prescott city limits would translate into upwards of $20 million in new revenues by 2037.

Annexation of 247 acres of James Deep Well Ranch land near the Prescott Airport was the topic of discussion at a City Council public hearing on Tuesday.

Central to the discussion was an economic impact study that consulting firm Applied Economics of Phoenix conducted for the city.

Sarah Murley, a partner with the firm, presented the 30-page study to the council. "In order to look at the impacts on the city's budget, we needed to make some assumptions about the land use," she told the council.

One of the assumptions was that the land, which is near the Pioneer Parkway/Willow Creek Road/ Highway 89 intersections, would one day be the site of a youth sports complex that would feature 104 acres of soccer and softball fields, basketball courts, and dormitories.

Other predicted uses included 62 acres of community retail, 62 acres of general industrial, 15 acres for a hotel, and four acres of open space. Little activity was predicted until about 2020.

Planning Manager George Worley said on Wednesday that the assumptions came from the owners of the land, the James Deep Well Ranch, as possible future uses.

He added that a sports complex in the area has been an idea that has circulated for years. "They're reasonable uses, given the zoning," Worley said of the sports complex and other predicted uses. "It's conceptual, but based on permitted uses."

The study listed a number of likely benefits that the annexation would bring to the city through 2037. Taking a number of city funds (general fund, water, wastewater, streets, and bed tax) into account, the study estimated that the annexation could result in net revenue gains of $20,493,576 over the next 24 years.

"Relative to the size of your budget, it is positive, but not a significant amount," Murley said of the projected revenue increases.

During a May meeting of the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commission, residents from the nearby neighborhoods of Piñon Oaks and Antelope Hills protested the proposed "light industrial" zoning on a portion of the land.

They emphasized that the category includes intense uses such as chemical-based manufacturing, fabrication of materials, machine shops, meatpacking, and warehousing and distribution.

The concerns came up again this week. Mike Willinger of Antelope Hills told the council that while the neighborhood did not object to the annexation, "the only issue is the level of industrial zoning."

He worried about noise, smoke, and smell that the neighborhoods could experience because of the prevailing winds in the area. In addition, Willinger noted that industrial uses could leave a negative impression with people arriving via the Prescott Airport. "(The property) is the storefront to the airport," he said.

While city officials have acknowledged that the "industrial light" zoning would allow for the more intense uses, they say the property owner could impose deed restrictions that would prohibit undesirable uses.

"We would anticipate something more like a business park," Worley said.

Councilman Steve Blair also brought up the possibility of a large cemetery on the property, and he asked Willinger whether that would be agreeable with the community.

"When you look at that vs. a batch plant, I think the answer is obvious," Willinger said.

Because of its proximity to the airport flight path, officials say, the land is largely not appropriate for residential uses.

As the official applicant for the annexation, the city paid for the economic impact study, which officials say cost less than $5,000.

This week's discussion was a public hearing only, and the council took no vote on the annexation.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Article comment by: What the? someone's making money

Wow, the nerve of these guys. After the overwhelming fail of the golf course, elks etc, they actually have the nerve to want to build another money pit. Really? no money, no water, no interest. Yeah the golf course tried that 'if you build it they will come' philosophy and they are over 4 MILLION in debt. Someone will make money off of this and it certainly won't be the town.

Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Article comment by: Add To The Mix

A search of the Corporation Commission on computer for the LLC's that the mayor cited in the above article as income came up ziltch, couldn't find them listed...would someone else research to double check and report findings?

Next stop the Yavapai County recorders office to research property holdings. Two heads are better than one...anyone else up to the task? Go for it...you may learn something.

There is little time between now and the August election.


Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Article comment by: Another Look

I smell a stinking decaying skunk! There are things such as abuse of power, conflict of interest just to name a couple that can be investigated.

I also smell a sweet violets story for the Daily Courier. They could easily investigate these LLC investments, what properties they hold,etc.

It would be quite interesting to look at all the candidates financial holdings. If you want to be in public office...be transparent. If one has nothing to hide...disclose!

How about the county attorney get involved, but without the plea bargain mode. Wonder if the Attorney General needs a little vacation in Prescott? hmmmm


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Fasting Badger

As a longtime resident of Prescott I know that the mayor has been involved in the past with hotel business at the airport. I have no idea how the business or his involvement is structured at this point in time. Based on the various points of view expressed below I am mildly shocked at the overt and arrogant activity of mayor K. His comments and actions over the past few weeks are disgraceful. This bunch need to be watched closely. My gut feeling is that the mayor and Blair are going to do whatever they are going to do simply because they stand to personally benefit. Whether or not the voters call them on it, or even vote them out of office is secondary to them. A vote for them is permission for them to continue to abuse the office. The people of Prescott apparently don't mind, based on these men getting re-elected. I've had frank discussions with some local investors who view all of this as sound business practice. They see no ethical problems, and that's part of the sad part about all of this. Local pols are able to justify their actions and see no reason why they can't feather the nest from their service. For them, it's part of the game. If we can't stem this type of bad government at a local level, we don't have much hope for state or national reform I'm afraid. The amazing thing is that they do it right under our noses.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Let's get it Right

The Ranch is the jewel. The shopping center notion would be a Peter to pay Paul for sales tax, stressing some already stressed commercial shopping areas, while a regional event could draw sales tax from outside the City. Otherwise, the typical approach is to build a residential component to support the acreage in retail.

The sports complex together with keeping the integrity of the core of the Ranch would be ripe for new accommodations and light shopping, restaurants. The airport flight easement pushes any accommodations southward, and that east to west road will need interchanges at 89 and at Willow Creek.

The Airport will expand in time and an underpass for SR89 to expand the airport facilities is not too soon to consider. The sports complex idea needs to be explored. However, some of the comments leads me to hold judgement.

You can resist, or you can lead them to the right outcome. I suggest resistance is usually futile in these type of decisions. The utilities have been upgraded, as has been my frequent observations of the northwest corner of SR 89 and Pioneer Parkway.



Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Conference Center- Airport Centre Properties, LLC

Previous Comment: "I remember hearing someone say that this land would be developed for a conference center/hotel".

There are a number of events underway around the airport, all seemingly unrelated, but they are. The realignment of WCR moves the road, at taxpayer expense to the western boundary of the Deep Wells annexation allowing for undisturbed development of the property that now has WCR running thru it. The realignment of WCR to the Ruger road intersection also allows the City to close the current entrance to the airport and redesign that area of the airport.

At last months council meeting the Mayor appeared to have an "off the cuff" solution during the on-going Antelope Hills Golf course discussion of how to stop the red-ink proposing a closure of 9 of the 36 holes of the course. He also asked to hand pick and lead a citizens committee to see if building a conference center on the 50 acres of the open 9 holes of course is feasible.

I suspect this idea is just another well played piece in this game of misdirection that lets the taxpayer think they are saving money at the golf course, while they in fact pay for development of a conference center with taxpayer money for private benefits (the true meaning of a Private/Public Partnership).

Again, Voters need to stay on top of what's being proposed and who benefits from these taxpayer expenditures. As part of the Mayors re-election bid, he released a financial statement showing that he's received income from a firm named: "Airport Centre Properties, LLC". Now the mailing address for this LLC is 6000 Willow Creek Road. Is the Mayor an employee of this LLC, is he an owner or is he acting as a lobbyist? A YES to any of these questions means there is a probable conflict of interest on his part.

Given the new revelations of this LLC and the Mayors property at the GC, do the voters really want the Mayor to be involved with anything related to the golf course/airport region?


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Mr. Maverick

The average age in Prescott is between 46-48 years old. Why spend money on this folly for children?

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: trickyrick smith

Why don't they fix the Prescott sewer system first before they start talking about new projects?

They cannot even maintain the current infrastructure to modern standards! sheesh


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Fasting Badger

No surprise that local pols are resurrecting the same old "visionary" noises to entrance the natives since elections are looming.
Revenue from bed tax went away because mayor K is in the hotel biz, and he owed the favor to the industry, never mind the blow to city budget.
Blair is a serial bush league baseball proponent who has never had an original good idea in his entire career.
Maybe they can come up with a multipurpose cemetery/baseball field complex that taxes both the ball players and the buried as well. Dual occupancy including citizens along with pets planted in the same plots. Just add water.


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: A Wonderful Deal?

If this is such a wonderful use of this land, why isn't it already functioning as such? Oh, it's the MONEY. Where might the money come from to bring this wonderful idea to fruition? Private investors? I'll bet they are just lining up drooling at the prospect. Ha. More likely the private pockets of the Prescott taxpayer. Hang onto your wallets, people.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Another thing! Good for the taxpayers?

I remember hearing someone say that this land would be developed for a conference center/hotel. A great place for a sports complex, I think not. Does this annexation have anything to do with the rush to realign Ruger Rd? Bet it does.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: More Light Industrial and more roof tops?

There are roughly 150,000 people in the region with hundreds of acres of light industrial space that has been unable to be filled. (Note the empty lots at the Airport Industrial Park). Mike Fann's project, at Side Road just requested a zoning change from light industrial to residential reasoning that the market cannot support the light industrial zoning.

So how is it that this Deep Well project can come to the table figuring that an additional 200 acres of light industrial zoning is needed? How large will the population of this region have to grow to fill the jobs these industrial parks will generate--300,000 or 400,000?

Now, who really believes that there is 100 years of water available to support 300,000-400,000 people?

Force the candidates to answer these questions. Demand accountability for the "pay me later" deals that "blind-side" tax payers, ie Bridge to nowhere was contracted to in the 1990's and the Deep Well Ranch water rights was contracted to in the 1970's, with taxpayers in the 2010 paying the bill.







Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Let's see Prescott wants its own complex to cost 20 Million and will bring in a projected 20 Million over 17 years?- I think PV had a "study" done before the Event Center was developed. Government should stay out of business they are not very good at it and it costs the tax payers Millions.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: The pieces to the puzzle get pieced out slowly over years- pay ATTENTION.

The sports complex may or may not be planned as a municipal project. It may be planned as a private venture that will compete with the City's complex's. Also, those wondering about the water, I believe that the owners of this ranch sealed a deal with the City Council back in the 1970's for water rights. In recent years they made good on this promise with the rights to 2300 acre ft/yr from the Big Chino project.

Now that's 2300 of 8000 acre feet the City has rights to. No, no the field of dreams will happen and it'll happen at a tragic cost to the future of this region and to the Verde River.

Stop the Big Chino and demand reasonable growth from our City Council. Vote these guys out of office and stop these lifelong water deals for a select few.


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Look Look

Hmmm. Does anyone know if there is a connection here regarding this newly proposed 'youth sports center" and the financial disclosure from the mayor? Just what is his involvement with property around the airport and the golf course?

Kuykendall reported that he receives consulting fees from the Airport Centre Prop. LLC. He also reported owning real estate under Kuykendall Property, LLC, and being a managing partner in Kuykendall Prop. LLC.


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Money Pit

You'd think the real motivation was to buy land and make the owner rich. It's hard to think of any other reason to acquire more land, build something for which there really isn't a demand, and then pay to maintain it. If you can't manage a golf course, a sports facility is a fantastic way to blow a fortune.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: It's Perfect!

It's absolutely perfect for a cryogenics center for old and useless politicians. We could freeze their butts and thaw them out after really smart people take their places. That would be just about anyone but the yoyo's in office now. Maybe they could be so frozen they could be used as goal posts for the 24 football fields of dreams. Everyone should own a Blairsicle!
Good luck fellows. Thaw you later!


Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: The rest of the story

Here's my assumption: The City will annex this land, realize they have no idea what to do with it, and lease it to Ruger for $1 per year. Meanwhile, the citizens of Prescott whose tax money paid for the city parks will have to pay more than the current $2 per car per day to park at their parks. That's a lot more likely than that lousy land by the airport pulling in $20 Mil by 2037.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: Bud Wisen

A sports complex seems to be an unlikely use in that area. With a major sports area nearby in the Pioneer Park area, with room for expansion, another in the new location would be a surprise. The consultant must have picked up on a past hypothetical Baseball Heaven or Cardinals Stadium not far away. In addition, the elimination of both the Parks and Recreation Impact fees in recent years would not be available to help fund residential growth that is expected in the Airport area. Another land use would have been more realistic, but the numbers would likely have not come out much different.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: Chris T

Thank you for adding the link to make the map larger.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: An Oberser

It is ironic that a city that has lived without an Economic Development director for three years because tourism was touted as our economic salvation has resurrected the tired "Field of Dreams" proposal. It was a bad idea before and it is worst today with mounting evidence it is a money sinkhole.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: An American

Since we are the only county in the state without an actual county fairground facility, this might be a good location and opportunity to discuss it.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: Prescott's last frontier

Fortunately, the "Fields of Dreams" proposal that Prescott seriously entertained on the middle of the recession, didn't get very far. We were lucky. However, other communities did pursue it, and some have apparently been left holding the bag by the promoters.

I have to assume that the petitioners (Deep Well) only threw the "youth sports complex" prospect into the mix in hopes of making the requested zoning change and annexation seem a bit more warm and compatible to any potential opponents. It's a red herring. The odds of that property being developed into ball fields is about 1 in 1 million.

As for the cemetery idea, I'm at a complete loss. Mr. Blair seems fixated on burying stuff up there. A couple of years ago he publicly suggested building a municipal cemetery with an adjacent pet cemetery near the airport. Of course, the city assumed title to a cemetery at the airport more than 50 years ago, and in the years since, it has often fallen into deplorable condition. Overall, Mr. Blair seems to be challenged when it comes to envisioning the highest and best uses for the land in that area.


Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: some oldguy

$20M from what? Soccer field rentals? Bed Tax? and look at all the waste water we get - Hey youse guys where is the water coming from to make the waste water? A cementary - oh there is a good use - nobody wants to be buried in our cemetaries now they are ugly ill cared for and you look like a ghost after visiting from all of the dust because there is NO WATERING there, why because there is NO WATER. get a grip city council unless you have some novel new water source your brains as as empty as the deep well ranch land

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: JA POSADA

Make sure the city gets the water rights and the wells on the site they want to sell. That land is useless without the water wells and the water rights. That is the way its done in Gilbert AZ. Prescott will always need more water.
(24 yrs. workings in water treatment and water distribution).



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