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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

TA General Meeting Summary

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

The first General Meeting of the Tortolita Alliance (TA) was held at the Highlands (Ballroom) on Friday, January 31, 2020 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Approximately 60 TA supporters were in attendance.

The purpose of the General Meeting was to; (1) review TA Beginnings/2019 events, (2) review potential future goals and (3) receive feedback from the TA supporters.

The General Meeting Agenda is shown at the left.

Click here to see the General Meeting Powerpoint Presentation or go to the Presentations tab on the website.

TA Beginnings/2019 Events

TA was formed in the fall of 2019 in response to the removal of the Tortolita Preserve from the Make Marana 2040 General Plan and the proposal by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) and the Town of Marana (Marana) to reconfigure and rezone the Tortolita Preserve and surrounding lands to a Specific Planning Area (SPA) designation.

TA Core Team formed in October and includes 6 local area residents with diverse backgrounds. TA website was developed to get the word out and currently has 330 subscribers.

TA attended Planning Commission and Town Council meeting in force and we were able to get Marana to put the Tortolita Preserve back in the Make Marana 2040 General Plan eliminate the the SPA designation completely.

Future Goals (20/20 Vision)

Make Marana 2040 General Plan-the final document was published on 1/15/20 and includes all the revisions approved by the Town Council. The next step is voter approval in the next general election (August 2020). TA will monitor this process.

Communication-TA website will be enhanced including interactions with social media. Attendee response indicates Facebook and Next Door are most popular social media entities. TA got very good reporting from local media in 2019. TA has engaged a graphic artist to develop a logo. The attendees preferred quarterly or bi-annual TA General Meetings.

Organization-TA has applied for non-profit status and should have final approval from State of AZ in February. TA officers have been chosen and bylaws are under construction.

Political Action-the events that led to the formation of TA demonstrate the need to be government active. We cannot let this happen again. We also need to be politically active and support candidates that support the TA Mission. Tom Hannagan introduced Jackie Craig who will be running for Town Council in 2020. Jackie talked about the need for representation from the Dove Mountain area, sustainable growth & public water supply, open space and prudent Town finances. Go to Jackie 4 Marana to see more about her candidacy.

Action Groups/Attendee Input

For this portion of the meeting, attendees broke out into five Action Groups--Environment & Education, Water, Development/Financial, Government Watchdog/Political and Agency/Group Collaboration. Here is a summary of the input received:

Environment & Education

  • Tucson Audubon-collaborate on XMAS bird count, eBird, birdhouses to attract birds and Tucson Audubon presentations to area neighborhoods.

  • Tucson Clean & Beautiful-collaborate on recycling and invasive species removal.

  • Invasive Species-elimination of bufflegrass and fountain grass in the region.

  • Wildlife Corridors-protect and enhance extensive wildlife corridors in the region.

  • Children's Education-field trips for children for all schools (especially disadvantaged children). Alliance with Highlands Environmental Meet-Up Group. Retired teachers available to help. TA will contact Marana Unified School District & local PTAs.

  • University of Arizona-research/studies to support the TA Mission.

  • US Fish & Wildlife Service-get updates on endangered species listings and re-listings, e.g. pygmy owl.


  • Water Research-TA Core Team approximately 33% complete with comprehensive review and analysis of public water supply situation in Tucson/Marana.

  • Public Water Supply Status Discussion-reviewed Central Arizona Project (CAP), Active Management Areas (AMAs), Groundwater Management Act and groundwater drawdown. TA attending Local Area Drought Impact Group meetings (monthly) sponsored by Pima County.

  • Tortolita Fan-discussed the importance of the fan for stormwater runoff, aquifer recharge and potential rainwater harvesting. TA attending Pima County Regional Flood Control District Advisory Board meetings (monthly).

  • Policy Changes-get building codes, commercial development, neighborhood design and roadways to be more sensitive to our significant water challenges. Lobby government to demand these dry climate changes to make our area more sustainable and successful.


  • Development/Financial Review & Analysis-TA Core Team is conducting comprehensive review of Tortolita Lease rent payments and Dove Mountain Developer Agreements. Meeting with Marana Finance, Legal & Deputy Town Manager was held in January. Review/analysis is about 85% complete and will be published in future blog.

  • Tortolita Preserve Lease Rent-these payments are made via the Bed Tax Fund. Bed Tax Fund revenues come from a portion of Hotel Sales Tax which includes all hotels in Marana not just the Ritz Carlton. More to come.

  • Dove Mountain Master Developer Agreements-TA Core Team has obtained 18 Dove Mountain Master Developer Agreements, developed chronology and analyzed developer incentives. Awaiting response to questions from Marana to finalize analysis. More to come.

  • Dove Mountain Sub-Developer Agreements-consider analyzing the individual subdivision agreements, e.g. Del Webb Dove Mountain, Highlands, etc.

  • Financial Assistance-consider engaging retired CPA to assist with these analyses.

  • Follow-The-Money-consider analyzing how the money flows through the Marana development process.

  • Monitor Development-the Dove Mountain Specific Plan is almost built-out but need to keep an eye on in-fill and peripheral development projects.

Government Watchdog/Political

  • Marana 10-Year Master Plans-Marana is preparing master plans for Transportation, Park & Recreation, Water and Wildlife. TA to review draft plans, attend meetings and provide comment.

  • Marana Zoning Code-the zoning code is proposed to be updated. TA to review draft, attend meetings and provide comment.

  • Town Council-support candidates that support TA Mission. TA will support Jackie Craig.

  • County, State & Federal-support candidates that support TA Mission.

Agency/Group Collaboration

  • Marana Parks & Recreation-collaborate with Marana regarding Tortolita Preserve programs & maintenance but keep Tortolita Preserve open space, wildlife and watershed values preeminent.

  • Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection (CSDP)-collaborate with CSDP and its member agencies/groups.

  • Tucson Audubon-see Environment & Education section.

  • Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists-collaborate on Tortolita Preserve hike and bike activities, trail maintenance and bicycle safety.


TA Core Team will be reviewing all these ideas in the next few weeks and developing a realistic strategic plan for 2020 and beyond---realizing that we cannot do all of this in 2020!


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