Sonoran Desert Preserve Protections Won

Since February, 2022, CEDS has been assisting Save Our Sonoran Preserve with an effort to prevent a massive development from harming the 9600-acre Preserve in north Phoenix, Arizona. That battle culminated on July 1st, when the Phoenix City Council approved changes to the Desert Character Overlay District. However, Save Our Sonoran Preserve won several key concessions:

  • The number of housing units were reduced from 1460 to 1250.
  • Homes on the eastern and northern border (adjacent to the Preserve boundary) were limited to a single story to protect the views when of Preserve hikers and other visitors
  • The buffer along the eastern border was doubled from 25 feet to 50 feet.
  • Walls facing the Preserve were changed to a barrier style view-fencing to allow openings for regular passage of wildlife and reduced in height from 6 to 5 feet.
  • A total of 16 acres were donated to the Preserve.

Previously, the City had required the developer to contribute $12 – 16 million toward Sonoran Desert Drive improvements to accommodate the substantial increase in traffic volume due to their home development.

Thanks to the nearly 2,000 area residents who signed the petition, Councilman Waring has become more supportive of our efforts which we are immensely grateful for.

Save Our Sonoran Preserve chair Gary Kirkilas will be asking Councilman Waring to serve in an advisory capacity for the Sonoran Desert Drive build out. Among the measures we’ll be pushing for are 1.) safer bike lanes, such as those either physically separated from traffic flow or a double white line for extra space from vehicles 2.) Traffic slowing measures like round-a-bouts, speed bumps or slower speed limits.

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