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Neighbors push to stop bike ranch near Saguaro Park

But Pima County Planning Staff recommends approval
2019-04-04 Bike ranch-pool.jpg
2019-04-04 Bike ranch-site map.jpg
Posted at 7:37 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 22:37:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - People who live near Saguaro Park East are pushing hard to stop a small resort planned for the park.

Developers of the resort planned for bicyclists say they’ll respect the environment but opponents say the plan should still stop.

Developers see this slice of land as a prime place for what they call a world class bike ranch—-a small resort with no more than 49 rooms, designed to cater to cyclists.

The fact it would be across the street from Saguaro Park East is part of the appeal but to neighbors the park is the heart of the problem. They packed into a Pima County Planning hearing to oppose the plan.

Cecil Schwabe says he’s a retired ecologist. He worried the bike ranch will disrupt the wide range of wildlife that live in the park, and the neighborhood.

“We recorded 48 bird species in one weekend in our backyard. We and here the collected we is the people that live in the buffer zone, we see many cottontail rabbits, black tailed jack rabbits, javelina and coyotes.”

One concern’s a little hard to show you in broad daylight and that is the idea that more development will add to light pollution that will spoil the night sky.”

Developers tried to get a different plan for the bike range approved five years ago, but residents opposed that plan and Pima County rejected it.

Now the Planning Department is recommending an okay for the project.

Michael Marks, the developer’s representative quoted from a letter in which the Saguaro National Park said it has no objection to the plan and feels the project does a good job protecting wildlife pathways.

“As well as reduce lighting noise and visual impacts end quote.”

But opponents say there is no way for the project to truly take care of their concerns. Now it’s up to the hearing examiner to consider what both sides are saying, then make a recommendation to County Supervisors. They decide whether to approve or reject the bike ranch.