New Subdivision Centers Around Equine Facilities


Just six miles west of Main Street in Payson sits an $8 million, 116-lot proposed subdivision ready for development on the historic Doll Baby Ranch.

Canyon River Ranch developers hope to get approval on the final plat in early September from the Gila County Board of Supervisors, said Project Manager KC O'Haver.


The computer rendering shows the proposed entrance to the Canyon River Ranch. The subdivision waiting for its final plat approval from Gila County.

Construction has not begun onsite, except for clearing of brush and installing perimeter fencing.

"We are doing things that do not require permits," O'Haver said. "We have not technically broken ground, but we hope to at the end of next month."

The sales office, located at the former Stockmen's Bank, 816 S. Beeline Highway, opened in early August, said Dominion Arizona Realty owner Ed Oliva.

Canyon River Ranch, located at the end of Forest Road 406, is being promoted on its Web site as an "exceptional recreational residential community," offering an equestrian center, park and clubhouse all surrounded by Tonto National Forest.

Most of the plots are one-acre plus and start at $149,900 to $262,000.

Horizon Development owner Chris Anderson said the price range of custom homes built will be in the mid to high end. "Probably nothing built below $500,000," he said.

Houses will be built in a western style with timber and rock materials to keep a rural feel.

Oliva said they expect to see buyers looking for a second home, retirees and people looking for a community with a horse center.

"Adjacency to thousands of acres of the Tonto National Forest lands will allow our residents, their guests and club members unlimited access to miles and miles of riding and hiking trails." There will be a 20-foot wide riding trail that goes around the edge of the community, O'Haver said.

Canyon River Ranch is located on the 300-acre Doll Baby Ranch and is owned by Simonton Flat, LLC, which purchased the ranch more than two years ago.

Doll Baby Ranch has been a working ranch since the 1880s.

It has gone through numerous owners and even a few American Indian Wars. The ranch was the site of the original Mazatzal City, Anderson said.

"We are trying to incorporate the history of the ranch," Anderson said. Street names, such as Mazatzal City Road and Triangle Cross Road reflect that.

The community will offer privacy, nature and a golf membership at the Payson Golf Course, Oliva said.

Amenities include a half-acre covered arena, barn, stables or Mare Motel, event pavilion and park with a stocked catch-and-release fishing pond and swim complex.

Lee Greenwood, a country singer, has signed on as the ranch's national spokesman and will perform Nov. 1 at the equestrian arena.

Tickets for the show are being given away at the sales office Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Currently to get to Canyon River Ranch you have to take a dirt road because the pavement stops at the end of Main Street.

Plans to pave the road are under way. The road has been staked and paving will start in November, Oliva said. The cost to pave the road is estimated at $2 million.

O'Haver said APS will provide power, Midvale telephone service and the developers established their own water district, the Canyon Ranch Domestic Water Improvement District, to provide water from four wells located on site.

"Unlike other areas, water is not an issue here," Oliva said.

A water study, commissioned by the developers showed a lot of water in the wells.

Payson also had a water study done and was looking to buy the ranch for the wells. The town passed on it because the amount of water was not great enough to put a pipeline out to it, Anderson said.

The community will receive fire protection from a volunteer fire department, but Anderson said he would like to have the Payson Fire Department cover the area.

Developers hope to set up a meeting with Payson Mayor Kenny Evans to discuss paying for coverage from Payson Fire.

"Hopefully, it would not be a drain on the town," Anderson said.

Three other things are being done to provide fire protection, Anderson said.

The first, building a perimeter road around the property so the Forest Service has easy access to the surrounding forest and it will act as a buffer.

The second, installing a fishing lake that can be accessed by the Forest Service for water.

Last, installing fire hydrants throughout the community.

After completion of phase one, an additional 140 sites will be developed on the second part of the ranch sometime in the future, Oliva said.

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