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Road Deal Jumpstarts Tucson Development

The sun rises in the Rincon Valley where the Rocking K Ranch sign hangs over the entrance at 13401 E. Old Spanish Trail in Tucson. Photo credit: A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star

By Patrick McNamara for Arizona Daily Star

Groundbreaking is a little closer for a master-planned development on the far southeast side that has been decades in the making.

The Tucson City Council in June agreed to de-annex a portion of East Valencia Road east of South Houghton Road to allow developers of the Rocking K project, Diamond Ventures, to construct a more than 2 ½-mile section of the road to Old Spanish Trail in agreement for credits on impact fees.

The road now lies within the city and county. By placing it under county jurisdiction, Diamond Ventures could receive reimbursement for constructing the road from the impact fees the development would generate. Construction of the roadway is estimated at $13.6M.

The Rocking K plan has undergone changes since first conceived in the 1980s. The most recent amendments to the plan in 2011 scaled back the development to 3,000 houses and a golf course on 5,600 acres. Earlier plans called for 10,000 houses and four golf courses in the community that borders Saguaro National Park.

Commercial development is also planned for part of the property.

The amended plan also included the impact fee reimbursement agreement.  It should take the county about two months for its process to accept the de-annexed areas.

The possible start of construction comes at a time when county officials anticipate the far southeast side is primed for intense growth and development.  Rocking K stands just a few miles from the University of Arizona Tech Park and a proposed new connection between the interstates.

National and regional government officials have pushed for federal funding for a connection between interstates 10 and 19 south of Tucson International Airport.

In June, members of Arizona’s congressional delegation sponsored a bill that would include the proposed highway, the Sonoran Corridor, on federal planning documents. The move would make the corridor eligible for federal funding.

The county also has committed to use $30M toward construction of the Sonoran Corridor from a future bond package. Voters will decide the fate of that and six other bond questions in November.

Read more at Arizona Daily Star

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