Tusayan Housing Authority adopts guidelines, moves forward on construction

Tusayan residents gathered for the official kick-off to the Ten X Ranch housing development project July 21. The development is located approximately 3.5 miles outside of the gateway community of Tusayan outside of Grand Canyon National Park. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

Tusayan residents gathered for the official kick-off to the Ten X Ranch housing development project July 21. The development is located approximately 3.5 miles outside of the gateway community of Tusayan outside of Grand Canyon National Park. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — The banners are hung, a groundbreaking has been held and some concrete plans are coming together for a housing development at Ten X Ranch just a few miles from Grand Canyon's South Rim.

Ten X Ranch is designed to support 52 single-family and micro-home lots, although there was some interest in building townhomes for residents who preferred to lease a home rather than buy the property outright.

Premier Building Group’s Rod Davis, who is overseeing construction at the site, warned the town council that the entire development would have to be re-platted if townhomes were to be built, since they weren’t considered in the original design. Davis explained that there are different building and lot requirements for townhomes as opposed to single-family dwellings, and re-platting the development could cause substantial delays and add to the town’s costs.

Davis also explained that townhome ownership is limited to what’s inside the walls of the home — the structures themselves would be owned by either the Housing Authority or a Homeowner’s Association.

“You’re taking on some additional maintenance and there are also some liability issues such as insurance,” he said. “There are other ways to meet your housing goals other than townhomes.”

While the addition of townhomes would allow more homes to be built in the same amount of space, the development is currently limited to 20 units — regardless of size — as laid out in the agreement with STILO Development USA. The construction of additional units are tied to development milestones with the property developer, which donated the 20 acres to the town.

Davis asked the Housing Authority to offer some decisions on what the development will look like — which roads will be paved, which part of the property will be built on first and what kind of homes are preferred. The design can accommodate larger homes with three or four bedrooms on a few of the lots, Davis said, or on all of the lots if the decision is made to allow two-story homes, with a caveat — not everyone will be comfortable with stairs.

“What does your priority list look like?” Davis asked. “Is it mainly families that need four-bedroom homes or is it couples who need smaller homes?”

Additional concerns developed with the building of utilities — the original construction of 20 homes doesn’t require the largest possible solar array or generators, but adding to them during future development will bring additional costs. In response to questions from Tusayan council member John Schoppmann, Davis also added that the electrical grid couldn’t be fully designed until the type and number of homes are accounted for.

“We can’t design the electrical grid until we know the sizes of the electrical loads,” Davis said. “Are these homes going to have air conditioners? Two-story homes won’t be able to be heated as efficiently with the system we have in place now.”

Davis said it was possible to move forward in phases and add utility services like electricity and sewer later, but it would end up costing more in the long run. For example, if sewer hookups were only completed for part of the development, contractors could potentially have to dig up streets and sidewalks later to connect newer homes, if the entire development was paved as suggested.

Tusayan Town Manager Eric Duthie said surveys conducted by the town indicated that people were still interested in townhomes.

The council agreed additional costs and delays were undesirable since the plan for Ten X Ranch was well underway. Future development at Kotzin Ranch, however, still holds the possibility of townhomes since no work has been done previously on the play.

The council agreed to address townhome housing once obstacles are cleared to the Kotzin development.

“Let’s focus on what we can do with 20 homes and work on building that without compromising in the long term,” Tusayan mayor Craig Sanderson said.

Following the presentation, the council asked Davis to tweak the lots to include garages with single-family housing and some covered parking for micro-home lots.

The Tusayan Housing Authority also formally adopted the priority purchase guidelines for Ten X Ranch, which can be found at http://tusayan-az.gov/housing-authority-town-tusayan.

Other council news

Sanderson represented the town at the annual Arizona League of Cities and Towns conference Aug. 21.

The council will convene a special session and public hearing Aug. 27 at 3 p.m. to discuss flood plain amnagement. The council is proposing to assume the powers and duties of flood plain management which were previously managed by Coconino County.

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