Ten square miles of State Trust land bisected by hwy 89A just North of he city of Cottonwood has been under consideration for annexation to the city. The original
Plan called for a possible 24,000 homes or 50,000 people and lacked recognition of the sensitive watersheds that intersect the
property, the wildlife habitat, and the viewsheds now enjoyed along highway 89 A.
Many, including Verde Valley Land Preservation (VVLP), got involved to modify this Plan to be more sensitive to these concerns as well as
the high densities allowed. Through much negotiation and compromise the State Land Department heard the community feedback and concerns
about the high densities, and was later willing to consider a figure of 12,000 homes while looking at the "highest and best use" of the
land, aka - money earned for the trustees.
The Cottonwood consultant, after working with the State Land Department, explained that planning
could be flexible within the broad use categories, and preserving watersheds and slopes for open space could allow for density transfers.
There is now a new map with a greenbelt corridor along 89 A with several entrances to the project, concentrated developed land,
agrarian and vineyard villages, and more open spaces among other improvements.
Many are pleased with the current developments. Bob Rothrock, president of VVLPI, was enthusiastic saying, "I like the direction
this is going with the smaller number of units". Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens expressed concern that if the city does not move forward
the State might bypass Cottonwood's planning. "There is a chance they would break off chunks to sell," she said.
Verde Independent article of 5/13/11 for more details and a map.