City of Tucson Rezones State Land for Escalera Planned Area Development


TUCSON, ARIZONA — The City of Tucson Mayor and Council approved the Escalera Planned Area Development (PAD) this past Tuesday, located at the southwest corner of East Valencia Road and South Houghton Road, near the new Rocking K MPC. Encompassing approximately 344.3 acres, the Property was annexed into the City in 1985 and was given a translational zoning of RX-1.

A change in zoning from RX-1 to PAD was requested as part of this proposal, led by Pulte Homes, Linda Morales of The Planning Center and Engineering Planning by Keri Lazarus Silvyn of Lazarus, Silvyn and Bangs.

The Escalera PAD will establish a framework that effectively blends a variety of housing types and employment-generating commercial uses in an area that is flourishing with new residential and commercial development, improved infrastructure and connectivity to the greater Tucson metro area, and a top-performing school district.

The land is currently State Land designated and can now be submitted to the Arizona State Land Department to be auctioned; as part of a two-year process before going to auction.

The preliminary development plan proposes the development of medium to low density residential on the 197.6 acres to the west of the Atterbury Wash Tributary, and medium to high density residential/village center uses on the 125.8 acres east of the wash. The proposed project will include approximately 20.9 acres of open space and trails.

The property is located within the planning boundaries of the Houghton Area Master Plan (HAMP), which was adopted in 2005 to provide land use guidance for an approximately 10,800-acre area. The HAMP designates the Property as: Neighborhood/Low Density Residential, 100-Year Floodplain and Riparian Area, Village Center Periphery/ Medium to High Density Residential, and Village Center. The Escalera PAD will provide development standards and design guidelines that consider best practices with the intention of furthering the goals of the HAMP, as well as the synergistic growth between the new development, a top-performing school district, and the current economic vitality of the surrounding community.

The City of Tucson’s Planned Area Development Zone (PAD) designation provides property owners the flexibility to develop land utilizing site-specific development standards that would otherwise not be possible through the traditional zoning classifications within the City of Tucson Unified Development Code (UDC). Utilizing the basic parameters of the R-2 and C-2 zones, this PAD will provide development regulations and design guidelines that facilitate an effective mix of housing and commercial opportunities and ensure a quality design that can protect the integrity of existing neighborhoods. This PAD shall serve as the primary mechanism for regulating the development of the 344.3-acres.

The Escalera PAD will foster significant benefits to the community, including:

  • Providing a complementary mix of uses that create a livable community in proximity to services and recreational amenities.
  • Promoting connectivity to The Loop and other critical multi-modal corridors adjacent to the site.
  • Promoting long-term stabilization of home values while supplementing the current housing supply.
  • Promoting the preservation of wildlife corridors and significant riparian areas adjacent to the Atterbury Wash Tributary.
  • Utilizing existing infrastructure in proximity to the development of the subject property.
  • Advancing the economic sustainability of the area through the generation of additional tax revenue and creation of quality employment opportunities.

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