Preserve Vistoso Pulse Published in 2021 July - December
July 12, 2021
TOWN COUNCIL CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO NEGOTIATIONS TO ACQUIRE THE VISTOSO GOLF PROPERTY
July 12, 2021-- The July 7th Oro Valley Town Council meeting included an agenda item discussion on progress toward the purchase of the Vistoso Golf Property to preserve it as open space. The Mayor opened the agenda item with request for community comments. Several members of our community voiced concerns about our desire to see the purchase of the Vistoso Golf Property completed. Those comments were excellent and represented our community’s frustration that the deal to purchase the property has not been reached. Listen to those comments beginning 32 minutes into the meeting https://orovalleyaz.new.swagit.com/videos/128706.
After the community comments, Town Council members met in an executive session. Following that meeting, Mayor Winfield asked the Town’s lawyer, Jonathan Rothschild, to read a statement on behalf of the Town Council members. His statement begins at 53:30 minutes into the meeting https://orovalleyaz.new.swagit.com/videos/128706
Rothschild said that Town Council members have been limited to what they could say about the negotiations because of confidentiality agreements and the potential for litigation. He said that the Town, The Conservation Fund and Romspen have been involved in strenuous negotiations for the sale and purchase of the Vistoso Golf Course to preserve it as open space and that all parties are negotiating in good faith. He indicated that Romspen has provided its expected combined sales price for the six acres zoned as high density residential and the 202 acres zoned as recreational. Progress has been made in negotiations for the six acres by a private developer.
As to the 202 acres we hope to see preserved as a nature preserve, Rothschild said Romspen has acknowledged that The Conservation Fund is limited to paying no more than the appraised amount for that property. A completed new appraisal should be available by early August. The Conservation Fund has agreed to pay the appraisal price for the 202 acres and preserve it as a dedicated conservation area.
Rothschild then said that if the appraisal price for the 202 acres is less than Romspen’s “agreed on” price, the Town and the Council Members agreed unanimously to continue further negotiations in an attempt to resolve outstanding disputes with Romspen in an effort to complete the purchase of the property. He said that if an agreement could not be reached, the Town Council will continue to review all legal options and weigh the benefits and risks association with those options. Rothschild repeated that he could not go into detail about the negotiations but that he was informing us about the process and where negotiations stand.
Preserve Vistoso is encouraged that the Town Council publicly reaffirmed its commitment to our community to insure that the Vistoso property is preserved as open space. We will keep our members informed as we learn more about the progress of the negotiations.
August 29, 2021
THE CONSERVATION FUND ISSUES UPDATE REGARDING NEGOTIATIONS TO PURCHASE THE VISTOSO PROPERTY
Mike Ford from The Conservation Fund asked that we share with you this update on the Vistoso property purchase. Thank you for your continued support. We will keep you informed as we learn more.
Proposed Purchase of the former Vistoso Golf Course
The Conservation Fund (Fund) is pleased to announce substantive progress is occurring relative to negotiations with the Town of Oro Valley and representatives from Romspen Vistoso, LLC, concerning the purchase of the former Vistoso Golf Course. As reported in earlier communication, securing the 202 +/-acre property is contingent upon reaching agreement based upon an updated appraisal establishing current fair market value. The report has been completed and we expect to reach final agreement following the upcoming Town Council meeting scheduled the week of September 6th.
In the interim, we are asking for your continued patience and understanding while the Fund and the Town work through specific details in furtherance of finalizing necessary agreements. The Fund has also developed a draft Conservation Easement to ensure the property will be protected and managed for conservation and open space, in perpetuity, prior to transferring the land to the Town of Oro Valley for long-term ownership and management.
The Fund shares the collective passion to preserve this unique property and we expect to be able to make a formal announcement around September 9th. We will make every effort to coordinate directly with all interested parties, including Preserve Vistoso and the many residents who have long supported this important effort. In the interim, we are respectfully asking everyone to refrain from speculation, rumor, innuendo, or any other information unless you hear directly from the Town or the Fund.
We want to thank everyone for your continued trust and confidence. Your support, financial generosity, and valuable input will be needed now more than ever as we work to create lasting results for everyone. We remain cautiously optimistic resolution of this longstanding effort is finally possible under mutually acceptable conditions.
September 3, 2021
CALL TO ACTION
SEND COMMENTS TO TOWN COUNCIL BY TUESDAY SUPPORTING THE VISTOSO PROPERTY PURCHASE
Sept. 4, 2021 -- As a member of Preserve Vistoso you continually have shown your unwavering commitment to preserving the former Vistoso golf property as a nature preserve and community trail. Preserve Vistoso’s goal of preservation is now within reach as the appraisal on the property has been completed and negotiations are in the final stages.
The Vistoso property is on the agenda for the September 8 Town Council meeting and we need to send “on the record” comments to the Town by 5 pm Tuesday, September 7. There will not be public comment on this issue during the meeting, so it is critical that we make our voices heard by sending emails to the Council.
Last week, Preserve Vistoso forwarded Mike Ford’s announcement that The Conservation Fund (TCF) was pleased to announce substantive progress in negotiations with the Town of Oro Valley and Romspen concerning the purchase of the former Vistoso Golf Course. Your comments to Town Council will help us achieve what our community has worked so hard to accomplish.
Email your comments to Town Clerk Michael Standish at email@example.com for distribution to the Town Council prior to the meeting. Your comments do not need to be lengthy. You just need to say that you support the Town’s efforts to date and that you want a successful resolution of the negotiations to purchase the Vistoso property.
Please be sure to ask that your comments be part of the official meeting minutes of the September 8, 2021, Town Council meeting and include your name and Oro Valley address.
As mentioned, emails must be sent by Tuesday at 5:00 PM (24 hours before the Town Council meeting) to be delivered to town council members prior to the meeting.
Here are two examples of emails already sent to the Town Clerk:
Dear Mr. Standish,
We write as residents who live on the former Vistoso golf course. We ask that this email be entered into the official minutes of that September 8 Town Council meeting.
After several agonizing years, it appears this nightmare is about over. We urge the Council to do whatever is necessary to bring the negotiations to a swift and successful conclusion. We wholeheartedly support the plans of The Conservation Fund to turn this property into a preserve that can be enjoyed by the citizens of Oro Valley in perpetuity. Finally, we know that the Mayor, Council, City Attorney, Town Manager, and many city employees have been working tirelessly to get this done. We thank them for their efforts.
Thank you for your attention!
Oro Valley Address
Dear Mr. Standish,
I am a resident of Oro Valley and have been actively involved in the Vistoso property issue. I would like to express my support for the Conservation Fund, along with the Town of Oro Valley, to help our community realize the finalization of making the property a Conservation Easement and to ensure the property will be protected and managed for conservation and open space, in perpetuity.
This project has been a long time in coming and we thank the Town of Oro Valley, the Mayor, Vice Mayor, Town manager, attorney, and council, for helping us add such a wonderful amenity to Oro Valley, for all to enjoy. Please make this email an official part of the Town Council Meeting on September 8, 2021.
Oro Valley Address
The Wednesday Town Council will be an in-person meeting at the Council chambers, 11000 N La Cañada Dr. If you attend, you can complete a blue card and if the Mayor asks for comments about the Vistoso Property, he may call on you. There also is a link to a streaming option at the top of the agenda. If you select the streaming option, you will be able to see and hear the meeting, but there will not be an opportunity to speak during the meeting. More information about the agenda and format for Wednesday’s meeting is at:
Our strength is in our numbers! This is our opportunity to make our voices heard and support the Town in closing out this three-year nightmare. Please get your letters to Mr. Standish by Tuesday at 5:00 PM!
September 9, 2021
ORO VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION
TO PROCEED WITH ROMSPEN SETTLEMENT
September 9, 2021-- The Oro Valley Town Council last night approved a resolution to facilitate completion of the negotiations for the purchase of the 202 acres of the former Vistoso golf course by The Conservation Fund (TCF). The Town has been involved in these negotiations since November 2020 and this motion authorizes the Town staff to take the necessary final steps to ensure the transaction is completed.
“We thank Town Council members, Town Attorney and Town Management for supporting our efforts to save the Vistoso property as a community trail and nature preserve,” said Gayle Mateer, President of Preserve Vistoso. “Negotiations are nearing completion and this resolution is the final step to remove any barriers to getting it done. Mayor Winfield proposed the resolution which was unanimously approved (7-0) by Town Council members.”
Here is the resolution:
I move that the Town Council direct staff in accordance with their discussion in Executive Session to proceed with a settlement agreement of all disputes with Romspen that will facilitate the Conservation Fund’s purchase of the 202 acres of the former Vistoso golf course; that the Town Council will allow the Town to be party to the resolution of all claims with Romspen and be party to the negotiations of a conservation easement between The Conservation Fund and Romspen; including any consideration required by the Town; and that staff is directed in furtherance of a settlement agreement to involve a third party regarding the purchase of the 6 acres of the property owned by Romspen, currently zoned multi-family residential.
Preserve Vistoso wishes to thank all our members who sent letters to the Town Council prior to last night’s meeting. By making your voices heard you have shown the Council that there is strong community support for their actions to complete the purchase.
More information will be shared once the deal is complete and the details can be made public.