By Tony Davis for Arizona Daily Star
The Benson City Council gave its first stamp of approval to the planned Villages of Vigneto project in the Whetstone Mountains, despite concerns from a packed house that the development threatened the area’s water supplies and the fragile San Pedro River.
The council voted 6-1 to approve a preliminary development plan for the 28,000-home development, which could hold 70,000 people. Councilman Patrick Boyle cast the only “no” vote at the Monday night meeting before a crowd of about 100.
The development would lie in the Whetstone Mountains, straddling Arizona 90, which stretches south from Interstate 10 toward Kartchner Caverns and Sierra Vista.
The project’s 12,300 acres already has zoning for a 60,000-home project. But the developer has said the company doesn’t want to build something that big and is proposing something much more cohesive than the earlier plan.
“Our desire is to do something far more conscientious, in keeping with the landscape,” Mike Reinbold, a partner with Phoenix developer El Dorado Holdings told the council. “We want a community not bound by walls or with little boxes. We want to create a community with an abundance of open space.”
El Dorado Holdings plans to submit a final development plan to the city in 30 to 45 days, Reinbold said after the council meeting. The first homes should be ready for occupancy in late 2017 or early 2018, he has said.
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