RESIDENTS OPPOSE OVER-DEVELOPMENT; WANT TO “PRESERVE THE CHARACTER OF ORO VALLEY”
A key component of Planning is how growth should be managed to preserve the character of the area. This concept was important to Town residents during development of the Town’s General Plans. However, it was largely ignored when the Town shifted to a “rooftops strategy” under the leadership of Mayor Hiremath (2010 to 2018). During those years, a number of General Plan Amendments & Rezonings were passed to allow high-density residential development & apartment projects.
The Hiremath Council (Satish Hiremath, Joe Hornat, Mary Snider, Lou Waters, Bill Rodman, Rhonda Pina, Steve Solomon) believed that more rooftops would attract more retail businesses & increase sales tax revenue. Instead, it did little more than cause congestion & aggravate residents that felt the town’s character slipping away.
When newcomers Joe Winfield, Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey & Josh Nicolson entered the OV political scene in 2018, they promised sensible development & refused to accept donations from developers & special interests. Voters ousted the Hiremath Council. Since then, reasonable growth – although interrupted by the COVID shutdown – has prevailed & incompatible projects have been denied or improved by the developer to satisfy the Council’s concerns.
In the 2022 Council election, Challenger candidates (Chief Danny Sharp ret., Bill Rodman, Joe Erceg & Charlie Hurt) resurrected the “rooftops strategy” & accepted donations from developers & special interests. The four incumbents stood by their original promises & were re-elected for a 2nd term.
Clearly the development issue remains a high priority to OV residents. Town Staff has already begun planning for the 2026 General Plan. The decisions that affect everyday lives in OV are made at the local level. OV residents must engage in this process to ensure the Town’s character is not diminished any further.
SEE Archives, Development History for more information on General Plans & the COVID impact on Development