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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions February 05, 2016


11/6/2012 10:01:00 PM
Editorial: Yavapai Ranch plan approval is baffling

If you have ever traveled to the Yavapai Ranch, which is about 35 miles north of Prescott, you understand the confusion that the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors' decision Monday created.

The board approved a proposal for 12,500 homes and 96 acres of commercial development on the remote 50,100-acre ranch. The proposal, according to opponents, included negative impacts to prime pronghorn habitat, vague plans, lack of road improvements, lack of information about water impacts, loss of dark skies, lack of compatibility with the new Prescott National Forest draft management plan, and loss of access to 50,000 acres of the Prescott Forest that will be locked into a checkerboard pattern by the development.

District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis stated: "This is the biggest county giveaway I've ever seen. If it doesn't just jump out at you that this is crazy, I don't know what to tell you."

Davis' was the only dissenting vote. Like the county planning commission, the supervisors narrowly split their vote with a 2-1 approval.

The Daily Courier, in this space, often champions the rights of private landowners. It also is a proponent of preserving habitat for animals.

After considering that the general public has "property rights" to the acres of forestland that will be landlocked, and putting these concerns aside, the board's decision contains some basic flaws. The fact is that developers should all be treated the same. Said another way, everyone should have to follow the same set of rules.

Not so in the case of the Ruskin Family, owners of the Yavapai Ranch. The proposal, should it move forward, would allow them to not worry about improvements to the primitive roads, for example. Further, the Yavapai Ranch got approval for an exemption from all county road standards.

That flies in the face of the two supervisors who voted in favor of the proposal, Tom Thurman and Carol Springer. They said the alternative is lot splits, mostly based on the common fear of the poor quality of roads that come with them. Why did the supervisors, then, not require road improvements or county standards?

This is a proposal that should have been delayed for the new board of five members to consider early next year. Another reason exists to have done so: A planner with the county told the board they have "never had an application like this before." Maybe, then, they should not have acted hastily.

Now, the public's only alternative is to effort a referendum that would overturn the board's decision. We rarely promote campaigns such as that; however, when a development proposal such as this one makes so little sense, we wonder if that guideline too should change.





Related Stories:
• Approved: County gives green light to Yavapai Ranch development plan
• Huge Yavapai Ranch housing development plan goes to supervisors Monday
• Yavapai Ranch plan ignores wildlife agencies' concerns
• Editorial: Land proposal calls for scrutiny


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2012
Article comment by: Zane Greg

Springer and Thurman need to be investigated for criminal conduct. These two people have stepped over the line and acted against the public interest and trust for their own greed and power lust. These are dirt bags of the lowest order

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Article comment by: @ shane o

Getting rid of the red tape is what we voted for here in rural AZ. I vote Republican so the stupid hippy rules and regulations will go bye-bye when a job creator rolls up and says let me build, let me produce, let me do my thing!

Whether it's drill baby drill or loosening EPA regs or cutting the silly red tape that only the little guy needs to follow - that's the point! Rules are for the takers. Let the makers get out there and make.

Never fear - it trickles down to us. They promised.


Posted: Friday, November 09, 2012
Article comment by: shano o

"He didn't usurp anything. This is government agreeing to clear the red tape away so a job creator can create jobs.

It's what rural Arizona has traditionally and consistently voted for and needs". CaL

I disagree. He did usurp the rightly placed regulations on infrastructure that everyone else must obey. These regulations are not just 'red tape', they protect all of us and they protect resources that all of us rely on for life. The number of jobs that sprawl development can 'create' is debatable, and they are short term construction jobs at that- but what is not debatable is these sprawl developments always cost more than they pay into government coffers. They also raise property taxes for everyone else! There have been many studies on this, I suggest you Google 'sprawl costs'. So, did Yavapai county do any studies on this development that would give any indication as to the costs of this sprawl in Yavapai County? If so, please let me know so I can read this report.


Posted: Friday, November 09, 2012
Article comment by: @ Citizen at Largue

He didn't usurp anything. This is government agreeing to clear the red tape away so a job creator can create jobs.

It's what rural Arizona has traditionally and consistently voted for and needs.



Posted: Friday, November 09, 2012
Article comment by: @ Hooty Hoo

He may not make a freakin' dime, but let's leave that up to the market not government intervention.

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2012
Article comment by: No Way

Did not vote for Thurman because of this.

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Citizen At Large

I am all for a private land owner using his property to the utmost...BUT when he usurps or state and federal lands and expect tax exemptions and road exemptions, that is wrong. The shady way this was voted on the day before the stepped down smacks of insider politics.The negative impact on the watershed is galling as well. At best this is a short sighted poorly thought outPlan. Or it is a quick cash grab & go land scheme (A long Arizona tradition!) Can you say Holiday Lakes???

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

He's not gonna make a freaking dime. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the guy has a few loose screws. Nobody with money is gonna live out there. Trailer trash perhaps, but that's about it. Picture Deliverance and twang the banjo. Got that?

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: B. Parker

Baffling ??
Advertise some out in the middle of nowhere place as THE Place. Hope someone looking for like minds sees the ad. Add luck, or destiny, and don't you get every story of success you've ever heard.
I got vision, rest of the world wears bifocals.


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Dis Gusted

There are many of us conservatives out here who find this decision reprehensible. Thurman and Springer should be ashamed...but I'm quite certain they aren't. They are giving plenty of LEGITIMATE confirmation to all those who rail against "evil capitalists", "corporate greed", business "running over the little guy", "tax the rich more" etc. Gee thanks, we really need that right about now. Give those who attack the free market and private business all the advantage they need. That's great.

I have not voted for either of them and never will. I would also be in total support of any recall efforts.

Thanks to Davis for at least trying to bring sanity and justice to this and other matters facing the county.


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Really .

@ Geez Tom Steele:
Awesome. Exactly right. The hypocrisy in this county is staggering.


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: @ Hooty Hoo

Capitalism at it's finest.

Go Ruskin. Make your millions - it's the American dream writ large.

Never mind the naysayers - we all know one's worth is related to well, one's net worth!


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

All I can say is if you can find enough idiots to build houses out there more power to you. There's a sucker born every minute. And I won't be visiting you.

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Yavapai Ranch plan approval is baffling

Nah.........Not baffling, at all.

The Supes performed as expected.

All three.

Good for Chip.


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: rafe williams

What a shame that two of the supes acted for their own financial interests instead of the best interests of the citizens who elected them.

What a shame that they got elected and re-elected.


Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Bet Those who

Voted for Tom are really proud of themselves! See he is up to politic as usual. Well done!

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Geez Tom Steele

That's my point! We should cater to the job creators. That's pretty much the entire Republican platform that you and I voted towards. There is not a single project or piece of legislation that will ever benefit everybody 100%. That ideal is namby pamby liberal nonsense. This man is willing to create jobs and increase our tax base. Yet you want to stop him because of your special interests. Typical transplant Californian. How can you pretend to be about less government yet want the government to intervene when you don't like the outcome of shrewd business dealings? Hypocrite. Less regulation, less meddling, more free market. That's what this red state has voted for. Get out of the way and let the big boys get their money so it can start trickling down to the little people!

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

To GEEZ, the problem is not with the property owner, it falls on our elected officials for catering to them rather than working for "We the People". If this project were to benefit all we would not be in opposition. And the haste to pull it off "smells".

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: Jim THOMSON

Where do I sign referendum, it's about time we the people have our voice heard, it has been ignored for too long.

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: An American

It will be Ash Fork West. This county is only trying to keep pace with the I-40 corridor by selling off 40ac. ranchettes to any any sucker who does not care about water or access. Mr. Ruskin just hit the jackpot, make a profit on lot sales, reduce his property tax liability and still run cows on the land just like before, this is nothing new.

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: Geez Tom Steele

What's wrong with a "wealth producing property owner" doing what he wants with his property?

You sound like those Obamanauts you so despise. Think of all the jobs created by building the houses and infrastructure required to service the area. He got a sweet deal, but hey - that's how we get things done in government - breaks for the rich who create the jobs we need. If the hippies who voted for Obama can't understand that, too bad. You can have his meddling, stifling, regulatory politics at the national level - but here in rural AZ we know how to get things done.


Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: To Tom Steele

" I see the "rush" to get this approved before there was a board change a ploy of a wealth producing property owner and nothing else. "

You are so right. The two supes who would benefit from this knew what they were doing all along.


Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: Apply Reason

Williamson Valley Road is a four lane country road, that winds through the valley. It is hardly a superhighway. The improvements will save the lives of residents and reduce damage to our cars. A Teacher, were you opposed to the horseless carriage also?

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: sally herbert

No confusion there.,

Thurman and Springer stood to gain from their yes votes.


Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Article comment by: Ralph Kyner

Springer already old her soul to the devil to get Williamson Valley Road widened all the way to I-40. The real surprise is Thurman. He should know better, in fact, I believe he opposed this deal a few weeks back.


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