Latest Updates on AED Development Agreement & Annexation
At the 1:00 PM Special Voting Meeting, the Arizona Eco Development (AED) Development Agreement & Annexation was passed with a 7-0 vote by the Prescott City Council. With this approval, the 30-day referendum period begins, and upon completion the escrow period will commence. Barring any unforeseen obstacles to a clean transaction, the 474 acres of prime Granite Dells land will be transferred into public ownership as natural open space (NOS) by the end of this period.
Save the Dells Chair Amber Fields spoke at the meeting, addressing the council, developer Jason Gisi, and the public in a culminating statement from Save the Dells.
As of June 30th, 2021 there have been three public Study Session meetings held by Prescott City Council regarding the Development Agreement & Annexation with Arizona Eco Development (AED). A public comment period opened on June 8th, 2021 when the Development Agreement was unrolled for public viewing.
During this time, over 100 comments have been submitted or presented to the city council and other related city staff concerning the contents of the Development Agreement.
In response to public feedback concerned with the short length of the process timeline, City Council agreed to extend the public comment period to July 13th, when they will hold a Special Voting Meeting to approve or reject AED's annexation and development plan.
The City of Prescott released a copy of the Development Agreement to Save the Dells for review shortly before the document was unveiled to the public. After a hurried initial analysis, we have continued to review the Development Agreement (DA) on a rolling basis, meeting with the City of Prescott weekly since the document's release to discuss our submitted concerns and recommendations for the final version.
Save the Dells Conservation Director Joe Trudeau shared a response statement to the Daily Courier after the initial document review, highlighting three immediate and priority concerns:
The language of the DA allowed the transfer of the 474 acres of public Natural Open Space (NOS) to be contingent upon the City's successful purchase of the "W" parcel from AED.
The language of the DA allowed for an at-grade crossing to be built where the full-service resort's "grand entrance" crosses the Peavine Trail, unnecessarily disrupting and endangering the more than 100,000 annual trail users.
The language of the DA allowed AED to back out of the Sever and Transfer of the 375 acre-feet per year (afy) of water rights for Watson Lake if the City of Prescott could not secure the necessary water service authorizations within the outlined three year timeframe.
At the Study Session meeting on June 22nd, Trudeau addressed the council and AED developer Jason Gisi to share how Save the Dells felt about the progress made at that time.
The most current redlined and clean amended versions of the Development Agreement are now available on the City of Prescott website, along with the compiled public comments received since June 8th.