Mayor, Council OK Escalara planned area development

The Tucson mayor and City Council approved last week a planned area development (PAD) that will allow for more housing and commercial development flexibility on approximately 345 acres of state-owned land.

According to a recent report, the Escalara acreage located at the southwest corner of East Valencia Road and South Houghton Road, near Rita Ranch and the UofA Tech Park, was rezoned and will be auctioned off.

Annexed into the city in 1985, the land was originally zoned RX-1, which does not allow property owners a lot of flexibility regarding site development. Pulte Homes was one of the entities proposing the zoning change, the report said.

The Escalara PAD will allow a variety of housing types and commercial business in the area, which is undergoing a surge of new housing and commercial developments.

The proposed development plan for the land includes low- to medium-density residential plots on nearly 200 acres on the western portion of the land, with medium- to high-density residential and commercial development on the eastern 126 acres. Nearly 21 acres of land will be left to open space and trails, the report said.

The improved infrastructure will also allow for better connectivity to the greater Tucson metro area.

The land is located within the boundaries of the 10,800-acre Houghton Area Master Plan (HAMP), a project intended to develop the land in southeast Tucson along Houghton Road.

The Escalara PAD will create a live/work environment close to services and recreational areas, as well connectively to The Loop and other commuting corridors; help to stabilize home values in the area; and preserve wildlife corridors by maintaining green space along the Atterbury Wash Tributary, which runs through the property. Additionally, commercial growth in the area will improve the economy and provide jobs for local residents.

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