Frequently Asked Questions (revised 6/10/2020)
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 not taking any action, to operation as a golf course, to purchase and operation as a park. Our over 1200 members provide a vital united force in determining what the community desires as well as in dealing 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 and what are their plans?
Romspen (http://www.romspen.com/default.aspx), a Canadian non-bank mortgage lender, bought the foreclosed Vistoso Golf Club in 2014.
Romspen is now endeavoring to get portions of the property rezoned to make it salable to residential and commercial developers. They submitted preliminary plans to the Town of Oro Valley early in 2020. Romspen indicated that it would consider donating the balance of the property that could not be developed to the community, who would then determine its future use. Who would pay the cost of restoration to desert is undetermined at this time.
What is Preserve Vistoso's Plan for the property?
Preserve Vistoso is focused on protecting the entire property by purchasing it and converting it to a nature preserve and community trail to benefit the community. Our goal is to provide a unified 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.” When purchased, our 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 a purchase price acceptable to all parties, establish a Conversion Plan that reflects community input, plus a Funding Plan for ongoing maintenance.
• 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.
• Outright grants or gifts from businesses or other organizations who support community-based causes.
When 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. At a minimum, a negotiated purchase price plus 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 community trail. The property lends itself well to hiking trails, bike paths, and picnic areas. All existing amenities will be evaluated for how they might enhance our plan and be integrated into the preserve. We are working with nature conservancy groups to assist us in our vision. 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.
The nature preserve and community trail will provide a first-class amenity for the entire community; one worthy of the Vistoso name. Our goal is to retain and enhance the natural tranquility, spectacular scenery, and wildlife habitats that exist there today. Specifics of special features will depend on funds raised and community input, 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.
What are your plans for the petroglyphs?
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 now?
The majority of the property is currently zoned "Recreational." Approximately 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 both 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.
Preserve Vistoso will work with all Oro Valley authorities to resist re-zoning, while at the same time, working toward purchasing the land and maintaining it in perpetuity as a nature preserve and community trail. Our goal is to maintain the quality of life for all in Rancho Vistoso by protecting our recreational area, natural habitats, and our Native American petroglyphs, which are important to the history of Oro Valley. We want to avoid 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”.
What is the process to re-zone and who has responsibility for the rezoning process?
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. An organized and mobilized community has a stronger voice in the rezoning and development process.
You can learn the specific steps of the Oro Valley rezoning process by clicking this link.
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 during the process.
Can we influence 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's large group of 1200+ 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.
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. By JOINING Preserve Vistoso, you will receive emails and our PULSE bulletin to keep you informed in a timely manner 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 most effective time to attend meetings and write, phone, or 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 to the General Fund go the operating budget to cover items such as: legal advice, website hosting, communication materials, etc. We are a 100% volunteer organization; no salaries are paid. A separate fund-raising campaign will soon be conducted to purchase the property. 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 320 homes that could result. These additional homes could stress our 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, 520 229-4711, if you have issues or concerns.
What is the role of the Vistoso Community Association (VCA) regarding 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 plus commercial owner members). While the former 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.
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 support Preserve Vistoso’s mission by sharing our communications and encouraging community engagement in Preserve Vistoso's endeavors.
How can I help Preserve Vistoso?
JOIN PRESERVE VISTOSO TODAY. It’s free! Click the “JOIN” button on any page. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your concerns. 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.