Developer wants to set standard for soft touch development in Pinal County  

San Tan Mountain Regional Park

San Tan Mountain Regional ParkBy Philip Haldiman, Editor-in-Chief | Dealmaker

Developers of a housing community with the San Tan Mountain Regional Park as its backdrop are hoping to set a standard for open space development in Pinal County.

Jason Barney, principal with Circle G Property Development, told Dealmaker the residential 320-acre Circle G at San Tan is still in the early stages, but is planned for 50 percent open space of soft touch development – that which is minimally invasive to the natural surroundings – in the vein of Silver Leaf at DC Ranch in north Scottsdale.

The development is a half mile west of Thompson and Philips roads in unincorporated Pinal County.

The San Tan Mountain and park enclose the development on three sides with a view corridor of the Superstition Mountains, Barney said.

He has been receiving advice from neighbors over the past two years, will begin rolling out more details about the community and begin the permitting process with the county in the next three or four months, Barney said.

“We want to respond surgically to the existing conditions,” he said. “Conventional development would not work for this location. This merits a high level of attention.”

The San Tan Mountain Regional Park is made up of 10,000 acres of lower Sonoran Desert near Queen Creek. It includes about 20 miles of trails and a variety of plant and animal life, including creosote flats and dense saguaro forest as well as a number of reptile, bird and mammal species.

Cyndi Ruehl, executive director of Superstition Area Land Trust, told Dealmaker Circle G at San Tan could be a model for responsible developing in the area.

She said that for a number of years officials have been working on protecting the county’s natural resources.

In 2007, the Pinal County Open Space and Trails Master Plan was approved, and in 2013, the county parks department was created.

More recently the county has looked at riparian protection.

Reuhl said Barney has taken a close look at all the property’s natural systems to create a master planned community that will work with the natural processes in the area.

“We really want to have an open conversation about how to approach this, and (Barney) is doing that,” Reuhl said.

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February 2015