Tangerine/Thornydale AZ State Land


The 2016 Your Voice, Our Future General Plan was the first to detail four Special Areas requiring specific planning.  The Tangerine 550 (aka Tangerine South) was one of them. 


“The area commonly referred to as Tangerine 550 (bounded by Tangerine Road, Thornydale Road, Camino del Norte and Shannon Road) is currently outside the Town of Oro Valley limits; however, this 550 acre section of land is currently being explored for annexation into the Town in cooperation with the Arizona State Land Department.”  Source: 2016 Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, Pg 56


Former Councilmember Joe Hornat met with the State on Aug 8, 2012, regarding annexation of this parcel which would also involve an OV General Plan Amendment/Rezoning. This deal was to be the first in a pilot project that would be rolled out for the entire 9.3 million acres of AZ trust land, with the goal of speeding development by transferring zoning rights from citizens to developers via "zoning banks."


The State outlined three items required for Oro Valley to move forward with the annexation. They were:

1) A no-objection letter from the Town of Marana (obtained 10/1/12) (NOTE: The Town of Marana had no objection to OV annexing this land.  They had no ability to serve the area with water nor did Pima County).


2) A waiver of town ordinance requirement for fencing of open range livestock grazing (passed by Council 4/3/13)

3) An agreement not to enact or apply ordinances or regulations prohibiting mining on the State Land (passed by Council 4/3/13)


At some later point, the State expressed interest in also annexing the 7-parcel (aka Tangerine North).  This parcel is 300+ acres, but that number was reported as between 302 & 335 acres at various times.

The Town held numerous Neighborhood & Focus meetings in 2017 & 2018.  The project was met with vehement opposition.  Objections included: 1) destruction of pristine desert land for 3200+ dwelling units adjacent to large lot homes 2) Density 3) Buffer yards 4) CAP water as only source for water with the additional cost of it to be spread throughout OV 5) Developers’ campaign donations and cozy relationship with Oro Valley Town Council 6) wildlife 7) Lack of fiscal analysis 8) traffic 9) flooding/drainage issues.    

None of these issues mattered to the former Hiremath Council.  They continued to support their rooftops strategy.  Mayor Hiremath & Councilmembers Hornat, Snider & Waters met with resident disapproval & lost their re-election bid in August 2020.

However, they had been so confident of winning re-election that Town Staff began placement of the yellow public meeting signs for annexation the morning following their loss. Many feared that they would vote on the issue prior to leaving office, but they took the high road & left the decision for the Winfield Council. 

The newly elected Council held a Study Session on the proposed project & annexation in January 2019.  They raised a number of questions & concerns.  By summer, AZ State Land backed off the project citing staff shortages.     

Be aware that State Lands was incorporated into the Town’s Annexation Strategy in 2020 & the State Land Department will likely come back to the table if/when another developer friendly council is elected. (NOTE: The 2022 challenger team of Sharp, Erceg, Hurt & Rodman supported this annexation). 



An Unexpected Surprise

Bayer Vella, Planning Administrator for the Town, was met with thunderous applause when he announced that the newly elected Winfield council would be voting on the State Land Rezoning and Annexation.

Many OV residents and neighbors who live adjacent to the state lands had been concerned when Public Meeting signs were placed on the parcels the day following the election. The fear was that the lame duck council – known for rubber-stamping high density projects - would rush the rezoning through before the newly elected council would be seated.

Continued community participation is required to pressure Town Staff into negotiating a considerable reduction in housing density, buffer zones and other issues introduced at the meeting.

For those who were unable to attend the 1st Neighborhood Meeting, the Town and State Land’s presentation can be viewed here.

Public comments can be found here:

Annexation Videos

6/30/20  Solomon & Rodman support Annexation of State Land

1/16/19 Mayor Winfield discusses Revenue & Expenditures of State Land Proposal 

1/16/19 Tangerine State Land Study Session – Building understanding in the community

1/16/19 Water Increased rates for all OV part 3 

1/16/19 Water restrictions part 2  

1/16/19 Water rate increases part 1

12/11/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning– Focus Meeting 4 No Blading

12/11/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning– Focus Meeting 4 Broken Promises: Transitions 

12/11/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Focus Meeting 4 Blowing up General Plan  

11/30/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Focus Meeting 3 Bufferyards

11/28/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Focus Meeting 3 Fundamental change

11/19/18 Tangerine State Land Transitions

10/30/18 Tangerine State Land Drainage issues

10/4/18 You Don’t Say -Tangerine State Land Rezoning

9/27/18 State Land wildlife    

9/20/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 2 Gen Plan non-conformance 

9/20/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 2 – Rich Hyatt

9/17/18 Neighborhood Meeting 1 – Guide to Remove Cactus

9/17/18 Neighborhood Meeting 1 –  Water

9/17/18 Neighborhood Meeting 1 – Unexpected Surprise

9/13/18 Part 4   Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 1 WLB  

9/13/18 Part 3   Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 1 State Land

9/13/18 Part 2   Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 1 History

9/13/18 Part 1 Tangerine State Land Rezoning – Neighborhood Meeting 1  Intro & schedule

9/13/18 Tangerine State Land Neighborhood Mtg 1 – Eric

9/11/18 Tangerine State Land Rezoning

9/11/18 Keep OV Special  

12/6/17 Tangerine State Land Staff & Council Comments Part 3

12/6/17 Tangerine State Land Public Comments Part 2b

12/6/17 Tangerine State Land Public Comments Part 2a    

12/6/17 Tangerine State Land Background Part 1 

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