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Battle brewing between neighbors in east Tucson and developers

Neighbors oppose a planned development near Tanque Verde and Houghton
Posted at 10:32 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 01:32:43-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jim Portner, of Projects International, had the job of convincing dozens of people that a planned development on the city's east side, near Tanque Verde and Houghton, is not bad for them.

"Trying to make that very, very clear because I know a lot of folks are worried about apartment and rentals in general and that's not the intent of what we're doing here," Portner told a crowd of neighbors packed in a meeting room at Kirk-Bear Canyon Library.

Portner said the developer he represents is building a community of townhomes.

Some neighbors said they're afraid it will ruin the feel of their neighborhood.

"People who live in Tucson, I believe, are here for the rustic, ranch-like environment that we live in," said Bill Conklin, who lives near the planned development.

Portner explained to neighbors, his developers are building within guidelines of "Plan Tucson" a voter approved set of rules, one of which, he says, makes developers build higher density housing instead of single family homes.

"They've adopted a different vision for moving forward than what has been there for the last 30 years," Portner said.

Some people at the meeting didn't seem to agree that the rules were the problem.

"To me it's all about them making money for themselves and their stockholders," Conklin said.