Crescent Resources, the developers of Chaparral Pines and The Rim Club, are in the process of purchasing Rancho Del Sol (formerly Fox Farms) and will go before the Gila County Board of Supervisors today, Tuesday, to ask for a zoning change.
Rancho Del Sol is an 80-acre ranch located at the end of Granite Dells Road. A rezoning would allow the ranch to be subdivided for residential development.
The company has the ranch in escrow, according to Garrett Goldman of Crescent Resources. He said the company signed a purchase agreement for the property in December 2005. The current owner is Angela Cesal, who could not be reached for comment.
The move, if approved, will not close any of the trail accesses on Granite Dells Road. In fact, the developer will be improving access to the three trailheads in the area.
The Rancho Del Sol property is managed by Cid and Chaz Adams, who make the riding facilities available to members of 4-H and the High School Rodeo Club, according to Lani Hall, county extension agent in charge of 4-H and youth development programs.
"They approached me in the winter of 2005 about making the facility available," Hall said. "Both are certified 4-H leaders." She said between four and five 4-H horse club members use the ranch for practices and all of them could if they wanted. She said between five and six members of the Rodeo Club use it. Hall said the couple also made the property available for meetings, trail rides and camp outs.
Allison Pfoutz is a former caretaker for the ranch and said the current managers, Cid and Chaz Adams, have done a lot to improve the place and make it available to the public.
Pfoutz is on record as opposed to the zoning change and doesn't want to see the place developed.
"If people move in, the use of the land around it could be limited," Pfoutz said. "A lot of people use the area for ATVs and dirt bikes, and they make a lot of noise. They might be pushed out."
Pfoutz said she thinks it is one of the few places in the area that is still mostly used by local residents.
If the zoning change is approved the next step would be to submit a preliminary plat (of the project) to the planning and zoning commission. He said it will take three months, at the most, to prepare the plat.
The current proposal is to construct 16 fractional-share cottages and 45 single-family home sites between one and three acres in size.
"The terrain is very rocky and we selected the (construction) sites based on the topography and to maintain the natural beauty of the area," Goldman said.
Initial construction is planned for late spring 2007, but before that the company will be required to develop the project's infrastructure and make significant improvements to the forest road. The 2.2-mile stretch from the end of the pavement to the ranch must be brought up to county road standards (and with part of it within the town limits, it must also meet those standards).
Pfoutz said she was concerned that an improved road would mean more traffic in the area. "People are already starting to dump trash back in there, and kids have parties. If the access is improved, there is likely to be more of that," Pfoutz said.
Improving the trail accesses is one of the requirements placed on the developers by the U.S. Forest Service, Goldman said.
The improvements will provide parking at the trailhead sites, making them safer for recreational use. Currently, people using the trails must leave their vehicles on the side of the road, Goldman said.
"The property is already gated, and we will maintain that," he said. The plans also call for the development to have equestrian use made available to the residents and cottage owners.
"Water will be provided by on-site wells," Goldman said. "Field work (on the property) shows it has sufficient water (for the project)," he said.
The development will also have a self-contained wastewater facility to serve the residents.