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Latest News in Oro Valley, AZ

Home to roost: Backyard farming may germinate in Oro Valley

Nogales City Council to discuss downtown redevelopment, plus more in local gov't meetingsOK, here's something journalists covering local politics in a city of 1 million people don't see every day.During a meeting Wednesday, the Oro Valley Town Council will discuss a plan to allow residents raise small ...

Nogales City Council to discuss downtown redevelopment, plus more in local gov't meetings

OK, here's something journalists covering local politics in a city of 1 million people don't see every day.

During a meeting Wednesday, the Oro Valley Town Council will discuss a plan to allow residents raise small animals on small lots and engage in animal husbandry.

This means your Oro Valley neighbor, dear reader, could be raising chickens, rabbits and pot belly pigs to make for good eating. The move is to accommodate a trend called "backyard farming."

The current law in Oro Valley allows raising rabbits (and the like) for food purposes only on lots bigger than 144,000 square feet. The plan is to drop that down to small lots of 20,000 feet, with restrictions.

That's basically 2.2-acre lots. So it's not like beekeeping and bunny farming will be allowed in small-lot subdivisions. Here's an interesting fact. Tucson right now allows this activity on lots as small as 1,000 square feet. I didn't know Tucson had lots that size.

Homeowners associations' codes, covenants and restrictions would still apply and the town's rules would only affect properties that are not governed by these rules in private contracts.

A whole bunch of Oro Valley would still qualify for this rule change, including most of the southern parts of town along North Oracle Road.

I'm going to say right now to people born and raised in an urban environment that the rooster thing is real. When I lived in Globe, my trailer sat on a bluff over an arroyo where a family had a farm a few hundred yards away. Every morning, their rooster woke me up at sunrise with a cock-a-doodle-doo. I found it oddly disturbing and unsettling.

The Oro Valley town staff is preparing for such potential "nuisances" by incorporating certain controls into the new ordinance.

Basically, the town staff wants feedback from the council before taking the proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval prior to a Town Council vote on the final code amendments.

This is probably one of those issues where city kids are going to be like, "Huh?" and country kids are going to respond with "D'uh!"

This reminds me some of how Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decided rabbits were an answer to his country's hunger problems and started handing them out to families (dialing back his government's kleptocracy apparently wasn't an option). Most chose just to keep them as pets and some put bows on them. There are now just more pet rabbits in Venezuela and hunger persists.

The council will also look at a new plan to allow mobile food courts.

Basically, vendors park a few food trucks (or trailers) together in a cluster and put out some picnic tables. Bang, it's a food court.

They've gained popularity and Tucson is also looking at an ordinance to allow these pop-up businesses in the city limits.

Under the Oro Valley plan, mobile food courts would be allowed in commercial zoning and only if the vendors get a "conditional use permit." CUP's give a property owner the right to do things that don't exactly conform to zoning with a host of restrictions on the activity.

A homeowner can get permission to run a business out of their house not allowed by zoning if they agree to jump through a number of hoops.

In the case of food courts, the town would require certain health and safety requirements be met. Also, the permit would force vendors to follow certain design standards and minimize the effects on the surrounding area.

The staff wants the council's input on issues, like how does one define a mobile food court?

The Nogales City Council will get a look at a plan in the works for downtown revitalization, which focuses on a lot of familiar sounding themes like infill development, incentive packages for private developers and infrastructure improvement.

The plan is still in draft form and, like Oro Valley, the staff just wants council input before moving forward.

The idea is to spruce up downtown and turn it into a destination. New sidewalks, a downtown gateway, facade renovations and more density in the urban core are all policies the redevelopment plan would suggest pursuing.

Of course, none of that matters without funding.

Nogales is looking at money from the coronavirus-era American Rescue Plan as one way to pay for projects. Another source would be Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is money doled out in blocks to state and local governments for projects specific to state and local needs.

The council will also make a final vote on giving the city's Parks and Recreation Department director more authority and flexibility in managing the municipal cemetery.

The contract between the city and the International Association of Fire Fighters local is up for renewal and council members will vote on whether to renew the existing deal.

The October meeting of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities Board of Directors has been canceled, or postponed, depending on the definition.

Gov. Katie Hobbs recently removed four members from the board and put her own people in place. This was her right under the state law that put Rio Nuevo under state control. Two of the members Hobbs dismissed were reappointed by the Legislature to fill two vacant seats.

At some point in November, the new board will hold its first meeting, just as soon as schedules can be "deconflicted."

I can confirm the new board members aren't the easiest people to contact.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who worked in daily journalism for nearly 25 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party.

Books, Coffee & More! Stacks Book Club to Open in Oro Valley

Read all about it! This article is dedicated to all of those who still love to read because Stacks Book Club is officially opening its coffee shop and bookstore on Saturday, July 8.The new husband-and-wife-owned caffeine provider in Oro Valley is located at 1880 E. Tangerine Rd. #140 and will be open 7 a..m – 8 p.m. daily.“It has been quite a journey, with many setbacks and delays, but we couldn’t be more proud of where we have gotten this business to today,” the couple shared on ...

Read all about it! This article is dedicated to all of those who still love to read because Stacks Book Club is officially opening its coffee shop and bookstore on Saturday, July 8.

The new husband-and-wife-owned caffeine provider in Oro Valley is located at 1880 E. Tangerine Rd. #140 and will be open 7 a..m – 8 p.m. daily.

“It has been quite a journey, with many setbacks and delays, but we couldn’t be more proud of where we have gotten this business to today,” the couple shared on Instagram.

Stacks Book Club is a brand-new independent bookstore and coffee bar with more than 2,000 new books on-hand. When it comes to the cafe, they’ll have coffee provided by Yellow Brick Coffee, espresso, tea, plant-based energy drinks, pastries from Cal’s Bakeshop, and other grab-and-go food items like bagels from Bubbe’s Bagels.

“Our beautiful new space near the Tangerine Road entrance of Oro Valley Marketplace features a dynamic mix of seating areas, including cafe tables, cozy leather couches and armchairs, and lush end chairs to sink into. A variety of designated indoor and outdoor seating areas means there are plenty of spaces for you to meet and gather with friends to talk books or anything else. You really have to come to see it for yourself to understand the concept in its entirety.”

Additionally, they’ve handpicked a selection of local beer and wine and the list of local pastries continues to grow.

“We are thrilled to announce we’ll have a rotating selection of Prep & Pastry’s Prep Tarts, scones, loaves, and other options to enjoy with a cup of coffee while you browse for your next great read. Available Saturdays and Sundays until sold out.”

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Stacks Book Club is located at 1880 E. Tangerine Rd. #140, Oro Valley, Arizona. For more information, follow bookshop.org and follow Stacks Book Club on Instagram and Facebook.

Tucson Foodie is a locally owned and operated community. Thanks to our partners and members, we are able to offer paywall-free guides and articles. We value your support and invite you to become a Tucson Foodie Insider today.

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At a very young age, Matt Sterner was gifted with the artistic ability to masterfully roll a burrito to the highest of standards, but the wrapped medley of delicious innards wasn’t his first love. Matt’s first true love was a...

Tiny bear cub captured in Oro Valley still a mystery

There are still a lot of questions behind the discovery and rescue last week of an undersized bear cub in Oro Valley.The bear, estimated to be under a year old, was first spotted a mile away from where it was eventually captured. Its mother’s whereabouts remain unknown, raising questions about the circumstances leading to the little bear’s separation.“The bear weighs 15 pounds, a 15-pound bear should be about four or five months old. The math doesn’t work,” said Mark Hart, a spokesman for Arizona G...

There are still a lot of questions behind the discovery and rescue last week of an undersized bear cub in Oro Valley.

The bear, estimated to be under a year old, was first spotted a mile away from where it was eventually captured. Its mother’s whereabouts remain unknown, raising questions about the circumstances leading to the little bear’s separation.

“The bear weighs 15 pounds, a 15-pound bear should be about four or five months old. The math doesn’t work,” said Mark Hart, a spokesman for Arizona Game and Fish.

Hart explained why the bear’s age and size didn’t match up.

“Bears in Arizona are typically born in January and February,” he said. “Then this bear should be a year old or almost a year old, in which case it should weigh 70 pounds.”

While Oro Valley, where the bear was found, is known for bear and mountain lion sightings, the circumstances surrounding this cub’s presence are unusual as well.

Hart was stumped by the mystery of how the bear, seemingly abandoned or orphaned by its mother, made its way off the Catalina Mountains to a residential area.

“If it got separated from its mother, regardless of why in the back country, how did a bear that small get all the way off the mountain?,” he asked?

“We would have thought that a bear that size would have been picked off by a predator. A coyote, a mountain lion, or even another bear.”

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The bear has been moved to Bearizona, a wildlife park in Williams.

Despite being small for its estimated age, the bear displayed good health and is exhibiting normal behaviors, said Dave O’Connell, Bearizona’s chief operating officer.

However, O’Connell noted the bear shows no fear of humans.

O’Connell explained that once bears equate humans with a good source of food, “they tend to know that forever.”

Bearizona expects the bear to be under professional care for the rest of its life.

The bear, yet to be named, will join other black bears at Bearizona. O’Connell estimated that, with proper care, the bear could reach a size of 450 to 500 pounds in adulthood.

“Depending on his genetics, of course, that’ll limit him. But feed won’t here at Bearizona,” he said.

The park intends to closely monitor the bear during quarantine before introducing it to public exhibits.

O’Connell says the cub has a vet appointment scheduled for next week, when some questions surrounding the mystery of the bear’s age should be cleared up.

But how the bear ended up in a tree outside of an Oro Valley sub-division remains to be seen.

“He probably had been on his own for a while,” speculated Hart, of Game and Fish. “But the piece about how he got off the mountain, we just don’t have an answer for it.”

Eddie Celaya is a breaking news reporter and host of the “Here Weed Go!” podcast. He graduated from Pima Community College and the University of Arizona and has been with the Arizona Daily Star since May 2019.

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New multi-use path coming to Oro Valley

A portion of La Canada Drive will be closed until mid-October while the city constructs a new multi-use path.ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Motorists can expect construction along the west side of La Cañada Drive, close to the Oro Valley Recreation Center, over the next approximately two months to allow for a new multi-use path.The construction project will create a brand new multi-use path, with city officials emphasizing its goal to enhance overall safety for local residents during recreational activities.&quo...

A portion of La Canada Drive will be closed until mid-October while the city constructs a new multi-use path.

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Motorists can expect construction along the west side of La Cañada Drive, close to the Oro Valley Recreation Center, over the next approximately two months to allow for a new multi-use path.

The construction project will create a brand new multi-use path, with city officials emphasizing its goal to enhance overall safety for local residents during recreational activities.

"Anytime the town can spend our tax dollars to increase safety, I’m all for it, for sure," said Rob Curcio, who owns Zpizza, located on the same street as the future multi-use path.

"I think it’s wonderful. Unfortunately [there's] too many accidents and anyway we can prevent that would be great," Pat Gutman, a retired Oro Valley resident.

Construction began on August 14 and includes a right-lane closure on La Cañada Drive that will span two months.

The new path will be located between Naranja Drive and Lambert Lane — beginning at the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center and extending south to Cañada Hills Drive.

The project involves widening an approximately one-mile stretch of sidewalk, designed to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians simultaneously.

In addition to the right southbound lane being closed, the speed limit will be reduced to 25 miles per hour for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"No, it doesn’t affect me because I’m retired," Gutman said when asked if it will affect her daily driving around town.

"As long as I can get from place-to-place, I don’t care that much," said Brian Stahlman, who works near the future path. "It’s pretty nice for me because I’m really close to the area so it doesn’t bother me too badly."

The lane closures and speed restrictions will remain in place until the completion of the construction.

Motorists will encounter signage reminding them to merge and reduce speeds while passing through the construction zone.

Weather permitting, the construction is scheduled to conclude on October 20. Drivers are encouraged to consider alternative routes if feasible, in order to mitigate potential travel delays.

——-Kenny Darr is a reporter for KGUN 9. He joined the team in January 2023. Before arriving in Arizona he was an Anchor and Reporter at KADN in Lafayette, LA. Share your story ideas with Kenny by emailing kenny.darr@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Monsoon storm leaves damage in Oro Valley

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Clean-up efforts are underway in Oro Valley after a monsoon storm hit which left some homeowners saying this is the worst storm damage they have ever seen.

“I never thought in a million years something like this would happen. We always joke there’s no natural disasters in Tucson, but if my window is getting blown out, that’s kind of crazy,” said Oro Valley resident, Colby Quist.

Colby Quist has lived in the Tucson area his entire life and said he has never seen anything like this before. A large window in his living room shattered as a result of the storm. He also had items moved in his backyard, including a large grill.

Quist hired a restoration company to help with the damages to his home.

“They’re checking for water damage, they’re taking off the baseboards… that’s a big window, so the A/C, I'm worried about that, because that’s going to be running all day,” said Quist. “I think it’s 80 degrees here.”

Derrick Cushing, who is a lead carpenter with the restoration company, Disaster Restoration Innovation, said Thursday was busy for them because of the storm.

“There's two or three trees that are currently resting on homes right now, so there are a few different crews that are out there to take care of the damage. And more water damage and glass,” said Cushing.

Gary Brown and his grandson Tristan started their morning at 6 a.m. doing any cleanup they could do themselves after several trees fell at their house.

“We’re working out here getting all we can cleaned up and then we’ll let the big boys come and get the big stuff shortly,” said Brown.

Brown echoed what Quist said, and said he too had never seen anything like this before.

“It was a pretty good storm. I've been here five years next month, and this is the most powerful one I've seen,” said Brown.

While these storms were something the homeowners had never seen before, Cushing says they always expect the worst during the monsoon.

“Monsoon season is by far the craziest time. It’s one of those times they say to expect to work crazy hours, because the monsoon is unpredictable,” said Cushing.

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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