Frequently Asked Questions (revised 1/29/2020)
What is Preserve Vistoso?
Preserve Vistoso is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed to help determine a favorable outcome for the future of the now-closed Vistoso Golf Club. We have evaluated all manner of outcomes from doing nothing, to operation as a golf course, to purchase and operation as a park. Our over 1000 members provide a vital united force in determining what the community desires as well as dealings with the Town of Oro Valley and the property's present owner.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from nearly all HOA's surrounding the property, many of whom are experts in finance, fund raising, government affairs, and park planning.
Who owns the Vistoso Golf Club?
Romspen ( http://www.romspen.com/default.aspx ), a Canadian non-bank mortgage lender, bought the foreclosed Vistoso Golf Club in 2014. The course has gone through a number of ownership and management changes through the years and has been closed since June 2018. Romspen has been trying to sell the golf course for a number of years without success. It is reasonable to assume that a residential developer would be interested in the property if Romspen is unable to find a buyer.
Romspen shared a concept for the land's redevelopment with Preserve Vistoso, but not an actual plan. The concept consisted of rezoning 109 of the 208-acres of the property into low, medium, and medium-high density housing. Romspen indicated that it would consider donating the balance of the property to the community to determine future use.
Could the property re-open as a golf course by paying for it with golf memberships?
There are no potential buyers for the Vistoso Golf Club. Numerous attempts to find a buyer for the golf course have failed. At this point, it is economically unfeasible to operate it as a golf course and Romspen has indicated they are no longer offering it for sale for that purpose. They are working to to rezone a large portioin of the course for residential development. With the decline in golf across the U.S. and the abundance of golf options in the Tucson area, Preserve Vistoso believes that it is in the best interest of our community to move forward to protect the land as a park and nature preserve.
What is Preserve Vistoso's Plan for the property?
Rather than speculate on Romspen’s plan, Preserve Vistoso is focused on protecting the entire property. Our plan is to purchase and convert it to a nature preserve to benefit the community. Our goal is to unify our voice so the Oro Valley governmental officials hear loud and clear that the community wants to retain existing ordinances and keep recreational space as recreational space. Keeping the property zoned recreational is consistent with the Oro Valley Planned Area Development and the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan. If purchased, the plan is to write CC&Rs that will maintain the land as a nature preserve in perpetuity.
How will Preserve Vistoso purchase the property?
Funds to purchase the property are expected to come from several sources:
• Preserve Vistoso members will be asked to pledge contributions, payable only if Preserve Vistoso is able to negotiate satisfactory purchase terms and price with Romspen.
• Numerous organizations interested in various aspects of conservation and natural preservation have been contacted with the aim of receiving matching funds. Examples are: Arizona State Parks and Trails, Trust for Public Lands, and Nature Conservancy.
• We will try to obtain outright grants or gifts from businesses or other organizations who support community-based causes.
If purchased, who will own and maintain the property?
In the long term, Preserve Vistoso expects to turn the property over to another organization specifically tasked with owning the park, such as a government entity. Negotiated purchase price and funds raised will allow for minor improvements plus short-term maintenance until the eventual owner takes over.
What will happen to the cart paths, club house, and rest rooms on the course?
We believe our community is best served by converting the property into a nature preserve and recreational area. The property lends itself well to hiking trails, bike paths, picnic areas, and exercise stations. We are working with nature conservancy groups to assist us in our vision. All existing amenities will be evaluated for how they might enhance our plan. We want to take advantage of this opportunity to turn the unfortunate closing of the golf course into something the community can support by making it better than it was.
We want to provide a first-class amenity for the entire community; one worthy of the Vistoso name. Our goal is to retain the natural tranquility, spectacular scenery, and wildlife habitats that exist there today. Preserve Vistoso is working on a plan to purchase the entire 208-acre property. It is too early to give specifics, but some ideas include converting portions of the property to a butterfly park, cactus gardens, humming bird sanctuary, exercise stations, hiking trails, and biking trails. Our goal is to retain the natural tranquility, spectacular scenery, and wildlife habitats that exist there today.
Members of Preserve Vistoso have a say on plans through participation in HOA and neighborhood meetings and by serving on the Board of Directors. This website contains names, neighborhoods, and pictures of our Board of Director.s Additional information about our organizational structure, task forces, and committees will be posted to the website in the near future. You also can send questions to: PreseveVistoso@gmail.com
What are your plans for the petroglyphs?
Our intention is that the petroglyphs will stay where they are. Our goal is to preserve them and hope to incorporate them into an educational exhibit in the nature preserve.
How is the property zoned and can it be re-zoned?
The majority of the property is currently zoned "Recreational." Six acres around, and including the club house is zoned "Commercial and High Density Housing." The Town has indicated that the designation "Recreational" has a loose meaning, but does not include housing. Recreational zoning is consistent with the Oro Valley Planned Area Development and the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan. We need to unite as a community and keep the zoning as it currently exists.
You can obtain a pdf document detailing the specific steps of the Oro Valley rezoning process by clicking this link or going to: https://orovalleyaz.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/2017/rezoning-process-guide-revised-1172017.pdf As part of the Oro Valley rezoning process, Romspen must hold neighborhood meetings prior to formal submittal of the proposed project. An engineering review must be completed and it is likely there will be significant changes.
If a developer presents a plan that requires rezoning recreational space or other variances, Preserve Vistoso will work with all Oro Valley authorities to assure that responsible development is achieved, maintaining the quality of life for all in Rancho Vistoso. We need to protect our recreational area, natural habitats, and our Native American petroglyphs, which are important to the history of Oro Valley. We want to minimize development that would increase traffic, add congestion and noise, and adversely impact our schools. Development of current recreational space will detract from the image and reason people move to Oro Valley, as expressed in the Oro Valley tag-line – “it’s in our nature”.
Who has responsibility for the rezoning process in Oro Valley?
The rezoning process is the responsibility of the Oro Valley Town Council with input from the Planning Department, Zoning Commission and residents. Rezoning the Vistoso Golf Course for something other than recreational purposes would require an approved amendment to the Oro Valley General Plan. A well-organized group of citizens with a cohesive message will have a much greater impact on influencing these governing bodies than individual citizens. Preserve Vistoso’ s mission is to organize and mobilize community members in an effort to give us an equal voice in the rezoning and development process.
For more detailed info about the rezoning process, go to: https://orovalleyaz.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/2017/rezoning-process-guide-revised-1172017.pdf
Can we really stop the rezoning?
Yes. The Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission considers community feedback before making a recommendation to approve a zoning amendment to the Oro Valley Town Council. Preserve Vistoso is a large group of 1000+ members, is well organized, and knowledgeable about the rezoning process. The current zoning code is aligned with our position. We are requesting that Oro Valley government officials listen to its constituency - retain existing recreational zoning and not approve zoning amendments for residential development.
What can I do? Should we send emails, letters, or call Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission or Town Council to express our opinions about rezoning?
Your voice is important. When the time is right, we want the Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Committee and Town Council to understand that we are united behind a common goal to maintain the zoning of the property as recreational. Preserve Vistoso will monitor and will keep members informed about when we need to make our viewpoints known and provide information on how to most effectively voice your opinion. We will keep our members abreast of when it is the time to attend any meetings and write/email government officials regarding our desire to retain the existing recreational zoning. Look for future editions of the Preserve Vistoso Pulse on when to take action.
What happens to the donations to Preserve Vistoso?
All donations currently received go the general operating budget to cover items such as: legal advice, website hosting, communication materials, etc. We are a 100% volunteer organization; no salaries are paid. Once we advance our plan to purchase the property, a separate fund-raising campaign will be conducted. We truly appreciate all those who have donated and provided their support to get Preserve Vistoso off the ground and keep it operating!
I don't live on or near the former Vistoso Golf Course, why should I get involved in what happens to it?
We are all part of the Rancho Vistoso community. Preserve Vistoso wants to retain recreational space as outlined in the Rancho Vistoso Planned Area Development and the Oro Valley Your Voice, Our Plan General Plan. The Rancho Vistoso community was not designed to have as many as the additional 700 homes that could result. These additional homes could stress our existing school system, roads/infrastructure, and increase traffic. Our goal is to retain the natural tranquility, scenery, and wildlife habitats that exist there today. We want to provide a first-class amenity for the entire community; one worthy of the Vistoso name.
Who do I contact about "property maintenance issues?"
Contact Jessica Hynd, Oro Valley Constituent Service, 520 229-4471, if you have issues or concerns.
What is the role of the Vistoso Community Association (VCA) in the development and/or preserving the Vistoso Golf Course property?
The VCA is the "Master" HOA for Rancho Vistoso and has a fiduciary obligation to all 8,000 voting units (5,000 homes and commercial owner members). While the golf course is a central feature of the community, the vast majority of the property is not governed by the Rancho Vistoso CC&Rs, meaning that as a community, we have no direct control over the use of the Romspen property. Only the parking lot, clubhouse area, and the driving ranges are governed by Rancho Vistoso’s CC&Rs. The parking lot and clubhouse areas are presently zoned for high-density residential, while the driving range is zoned for light-commercial.
What is the role of my neighborhood HOA?
Many neighborhoods in Rancho Vistoso have local HOAs in addition to the VCA. The golf course property is not subject to these neighborhood CC&Rs. While your local HOA has no direct authority or role, it can help support Preserve Vistoso’s mission. Your HOA can share our communications and encourage community engagement regarding preservation of recreational area, or other development endeavors that that will benefit the community.
What can I do to help Preserve Vistoso?
JOIN PRESERVE VISTOSO TODAY. It’s free! Go to preservevistoso.org and click the “JOIN” button. Indicate the level of engagement that interests you or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A financial contribution is always welcome to help offset operating costs used to help communicate to our neighbors, plus aiding in pursuing our mission. You will find a "DONATE NOW" button on the home page. Preserve Vistoso is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation may be tax deductible. Together we can achieve greater control of over future of the golf course property.