Save Our Sonoran Preserve

Click here to sign the Save Our Sonoran Preserve petition 

UPDATE May 11, 2022:

The most important opportunity to safeguard the Sonoran Desert Preserve will be the June 1st Phoenix City Council hearing.  At that hearing the Council will vote on whether to weaken the Desert Character Over District, which is essential to keeping the Preserve a place of great natural beauty and a great place to hike, bike, run, or simply enjoy the desert.  

So please plan on speaking during the June 1st hearing.  

If you signed our petition we’ll send you details on how to register to speak as we get closer to June 1st.  In the meantime please urge your friends, neighbors and other Phoenix area acquaintances to sign the petition.

Thus far Save Our Sonoran Preserve has mailed letters to 3,400 registered voters living near the Preserve asking that they support keeping the Desert Character Overlay District intact by signing our petition.  The response has been phenomenal.  The following aerial shows the location of all 1,057 voters who have signed the petition thus far. We anticipate that hundreds more will sign in the coming weeks.  

Nearly all of our petition signers explained why they felt keeping the Desert Character Overlay District intact was vital to safeguarding the Sonoran Preserve.  Their reasons can be viewed at:

Saving The Sonoran Desert Preserve

Our beloved Sonoran Desert Preserve is threatened by a massive development and a proposal to lift vital safeguards.  Pictured below is the Sonoran Desert Preserve.  The red area is the location of development proposed for the Verdin site adjoining the Sonoran Desert Preserve.

At issue is a proposal to double or triple the number of housing units that can be built on the Verdin site.  Development in this area is guided by the Desert Character Overlay District which allows growth but with a number of measures to safeguard those Sonoran Desert Preserve values we treasure.  The Overlay District covers the areas shown in the map below.  The Desert Character Overlay District regulations are available at:

The Verdin development company has asked the Phoenix City Council to ignore the Desert Character Overlay District.  If granted, Sonoran Desert Drive traffic volume could go from 8,300- to more than 20,000-trips/day from this one development.  Other potential growth along this corridor could raise Sonoran Desert Drive traffic to nearly 50,000 trips/day or more!

Sonoran Desert Drive traffic volume is already at a point where additional bike safety measures are needed.  While there are proposals to add these measures, there is a point where traffic volume becomes so great that cycling or just walking is no longer enjoyable.

Doubling to tripling the number of nearby homes would detract from the true wilderness essence of the Preserve.  Additionally, abandoning the Desert Character Overlay District is like turning our back on the beloved Sonoran Desert Preserve – eliminating the protections that were thoughtfully placed to maintain the uniqueness and beauty as well as ensure maximum conservation of the incredible ecosystems while allowing a reasonable amount of development.

It is for these reasons that we ask you to sign the Save Our Sonoran Preserve petition urging Jim Waring and other Phoenix City Council members to require that Verdin and other development fully comply with the Desert Character Overlay District safeguards.  

For further information contact Save Our Sonoran Preserve chair Dr. Gary Kirkilas at or (708) 369-4566.