● February 21, 2020
Romspen Plans to File for Rezoning
Preserve Vistoso Board members have learned that Romspen, the owner of the former Vistoso Golf Course, plans to file for rezoning of the former Vistoso Golf Course prior to Oro Valley’s April deadline. We DO NOT KNOW any details of the rezoning request because Romspen has not officially filed plans. The Town of Oro Valley also does not have any additional information at this time, so please DO NOT CALL the Town. We will share information with you as soon as it becomes available.
We anticipate that within the next few weeks, Romspen will file a notice with Oro Valley that the company intends to request zoning changes. This filing will be a public document which we will share with Preserve Vistoso members. Within weeks of the filing, Romspen needs to file a comprehensive report, detailing its rezoning request. The Town of Oro Valley will schedule an initial hearing to present to residents details of the requested zoning changes. Following that initial hearing, there will be separate neighborhood meetings with affected residents and community members. Oro Valley will announce dates and locations of the meetings and we will inform Preserve Vistoso members.
The homes in our community were sold based on having a golf course or recreational area in our neighborhood. When the owner of the Vistoso Golf Course defaulted on its loan, Romspen Investments assumed ownership of the property. Romspen’s business plan obviously changed with the most recent failure of the golf course, but we should not have to accept zoning changes that do not benefit our community.
A recent survey by Trust for Public Land, a leading conservation group, puts Oro Valley near the bottom of the list of communities that provide residents with easy access to a recreational area. Only 15 percent of Oro Valley residents are within a 10-minute walk to a park or recreational facility, while the national average is 54 percent. Oro Valley could change its ranking by preserving the closed golf course as a nature preserve and community trail.
The golf course was designed as a desert course and some 70 percent of the property remains desert habitat. It has spectacular mountain scenery, more than six miles of paved trails, restrooms, parking areas, and a pond. Our goal would be to protect existing wildlife as well as the petroglyphs found on the course.
Residents of Rancho Vistoso constitute 40 percent of Oro Valley’s population, but we have limited access to recreational areas. Honey Bee Park and Catalina State Park are great but not appropriate for people with mobility problems – seniors or even families pushing strollers. Seniors represent 49 percent of Oro Valley’s population.
Oro Valley is nearly built out. The former Vistoso Golf Course is the last opportunity for Oro Valley to add a sizable recreational area for all residents of Oro Valley to enjoy. We formed Preserve Vistoso to have a voice in what happens to the open space of the former golf course that is part of our neighborhood. We will make our voices heard.