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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

Mandarina on Tangerina

How's my Italian?

The Marana Town Council is conducting a Study Session on Tuesday (11/10/20) and one of the items (D2) is a proposed developer agreement for the Mandarina project.

Mandarina is a proposed mixed-use development on 342 acres at the intersection of Tangerine Road and the I-10/Union Pacific Railroad (UPR) Corridor (see map above). The project is proposed to include up to 2,500 residential units (single family detached, single family attached and multi-family) and commercial units including retail, hotels and more. The Mandarina Specific Plan-2009 was actually approved in 2009 and the developer is now wanting to enter into a developer agreement with Marana.

TA has reviewed the Mandarina Specific Plan, Study Session Report and Mandarina Public Infrastructure Map (right) and issued a TA Comment Letter-Mandarina.

The following highlights our major comments/questions:

  • Marana is proposing to enter into a development agreement for a significant project with significant concerns prior to the completion of the Water and Wastewater Master Plans (BE-35-1), Stormwater Master Plan Update (RS-8-1) and Open Space and Wildlife Conservation Master Plan (RS-11-1) as identified in the voter approved Make Marana 2040 General Plan.

  • Mandarina is located at the bottom of the Tortolita Fan where stormwater flows emanating from the Tortolita Mountains accumulate up against the I-10/Union Pacific Railroad (UPR) Corridor (see map). A comprehensive stormwater analysis based on the 200-year storm (not 100-year storm) needs to be completed before Marana cuts any deal with a developer.

  • The Mandarina Specific Plan and the Study Session (11/10/20) Report do not adequately cover Open Space. This project should provide a minimum of 30% of the site be preserved as Natural Undisturbed Open Space (NUOS) with no credits for Recreational Area Requirements, constructed stormwater channels, retention or detention basins. This requirement should be added to the developer agreement deal points.

  • Marana should require a non-potable water system as required in Ordinance 2009.02-Condition #10 to reduce the demand on the aquifer and reduce potable water operation/maintenance costs.

  • The proposed development agreement includes a provision that off-site potable water, sewer and regional drainage facilities will be "protected facilities", i.e. they will be designed, construction and funded by the developer and the developer will be reimbursed in the future if any other developments connect to the protected facilities. TA supports this development agreement deal point as it reinforces the long standing public policy that existing residents/customers should not pay for the infrastructure to serve new customers.

  • TA has also pointed out that if Mandarina triggers any improvements to existing water and wastewater facilities, e.g. treatment plan upgrades, new wells, etc. that Mandarina should be responsible for the cost.

  • The operation and maintenance of these protected facilities should come from the Marana Water and Wastewater Funds. Marana residents who are not customers of Marana Water or Marana Wastewater should not be responsible for these costs. The same comment applies to any regional drainage facilities constructed to protect this development.

If this project goes ahead, I hope they give the future residents noise cancelling ear protection to drown out the noise from the adjacent railroad and interstate highway! Why not put in a high-tech research/manufacturing park instead?


If you have the time, and are so inclined, please send a letter or email and support TA comments and/or contact Marana Mayor and Town Council directly or via Town Clerk: . You can also attend the meeting in person but it is not clear if they will allow the public to speak at this Study Session (Mayor's discretion).

We also learned this week that Marana has eliminated virtual (Zoom) participation at Town Council meetings. This is an outrage considering the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic is on the rise. It makes absolutely no sense to require the public to attend with potential exposure to the virus in a large group setting.


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