Dude, Where’s The Ranch?

Mike Husar lives near the proposed Reata Ranch, the site of which is about 132nd St and Jomax in far North Scottsdale.  He and his wife Carol moved to that area from Michigan specifically because of the wide open spaces, like many others who call North Scottsdale home.

Mike sent the following analysis of dude ranches in Arizona and how their visitor numbers compare to the proposal from developer Taber Anderson. Granted, this analysis is humorously hyperbolic, but it still makes a good point.

There’s an article in yesterday’s AZ Republic page B4 that talks about a dude ranch in Sasabe [Rancho de la Osa]

Know how many “units” it has? 19.

This got me thinking about realistic capacities. My wife and I have been to several dude ranches, and we rode every day, two or three times. That’s why we went there.

If each “unit” brings ~2.5 people (Sasabe says they have had a max of 56 in 19 rooms, or 2.9x), then Reata makes some amazing numbers.

If all 330 units [in the proposed Reata project] are full, this would mean 825 people (at 2.5x). If they all wanted to ride, this would mean:

825 horses.

85 wranglers (at 10 horses per group).

Since there’s no way to hold 825 horses at Reata, they would have to be brought in in truck/trailer combos. At 6 horses/trailer, we have 137 trucks each morning lined up on Dynamite, about a mile’s worth, and what would they do with the 825 horses during lunch?

OK, say the 220 [residential] units are really just homes. Drop the “ruse” of them being part of the ranch; and they NEVER ride. So we only have the 110 units (or 275 people, 275 horses, 27 wranglers, 46 trucks/trailers), etc.  Talk about a Stampede!!!

As a bonus, numbers below are from a search for dude ranches in AZ:

  • Ranch                                     City              Guest Capacity   Units     Horses
  • Rancho de la Osa               Sasabe                      56                   19            23
  • White Stallion                    Tucson                     41
  • DeLos Caballeros               Wickenburg           125
  • Flying E                             Wickenburg             34
  • Hidden Ranch                    Greer                        48
  • Elkhorn                              Tucson                      32
  • Circle Z                               Patagonia                 40

Nobody is even close to the (even the lower) Reata numbers.  In sum the REATA numbers are ridiculous!

The Coalition of Pinnacle Peak also sent out another plea for sanity today to the Scottsdale City Council.

Motivated by a desire to “try and beat the vote on the GP [General Plan] in order to avoid a major GP requirement,” this application has been rushed through the plan review process and presented to Council with minimal information on key issues, critical questions unanswered and serious concerns unresolved. (NOTE: The language enclosed in quotation marks is from a message Connie Padien sent to Tim [Curtis] on December 6, 2011, recently obtained in a Public Records Request).

Among the questions that need answers and concerns that need to be resolved:

The “conceptual” site plan is so lacking in detail it is impossible to imagine how 330 dwelling units plus barns, corrals and other recreational amenities can fit on the site, especially given the constraints presented by the numerous rock outcroppings, washes, NAOS [Natural Area Open Space] requirements, view corridors, setbacks, etc.

There isn’t even the most preliminary of drainage reports and the staff report lacks any commentary on how drainage concerns will be addressed. This is a big concern, given the significant washes that traverse the site. The attached map from the Flood Control District of Maricopa County website illustrates the extent of the drainage problem. This is an issue that shouldn’t be left to the DRB to determine.

What are the ramifications to nearby property owners of the availability of excess capacity in the sewer lift stations or force mains? Will they be required to hook up to that system? Will they face the prospect of special assessment billings to help cover the cost of the project?

There is not even a rudimentary market analysis to demonstrate that there is a need for additional resort units beyond what are currently being provided by the Four Season and what will be provided when the recently-approved “eco-resort,” The Reserve, is built.

Finally, we view the Planning Staff’s apparent mandate to creatively interpret the spirit and intent of the General Plan to make specious arguments that proposals such as this do not require a Major General Plan Amendment to be a violation of public process and public trust. Doing so takes them out of the realm of “planners” and reduces them to the role of “approvers.” Those of us who are familiar with both the current General Plan and the draft update believe that the combination of parcel size, magnitude of the requested change and/or infrastructure issues would trigger the need for a major amendment under both plans [new or old].

The application should not be approved until these and other critical issues can be resolved.

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  1. COPP has carefully crafted an image that they are for what is best for North Scottsdale. In reality, they are a few people with their own agenda, which the rest of Scottsdale better agree! If I hear COPP or … are for something, I’m automatically against.

    1. Hi, Bob,
      I can certainly understand how you feel and I know there are others that feel the same way. I feel that way about most of the members of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce (NOT the North Scottsdale Chamber).
      However, my experience has been that most of the folks in COPP don’t have anything personal to gain (no profit motive) in what they do, vs. the highly profit-driven Chamber folks who have been a lot MORE effective at advancing their agenda than COPP…at least in the last few years.
      I have disagreed strongly with COPP on some issues in the past, but overall I respect them…and hope they feel the same way about me.
      I appreciate your comment, though, and my apologies for taking a little while to approve it.

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