Pinal County approved an addition to the county zoning code Aug. 2, allowing a proposed motorsports complex to move forward with a facility near Casa Grande.
The county Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a multi-purpose community master plan (MP-CMP) zoning district, which will ultimately allow contractors to begin the process of zoning applications for a proposed 2,500-acre recreational motorsports complex called Attesa.
“This does not approve [the Attesa project],” Pinal County Planning Manager Steve Abraham said. “The actual zoning process is the one that actually approves the development standards.”
This “text amendment,” Abraham said, specifically creates a “new zoning category to address developments that are over 2,000 acres in size” and feature a central recreational component (such as a racetrack) and complimentary elements such as residential, commercial, industrial and public facilities.
“We’re talking ultra-large developments that really have a degree of gravity to them,” Abraham Said.
Though this amendment was a citizen initiative filed by law firm Snell and Wilmer on behalf of DRE Development – Attesa, the change will take effect across the county and would address similar proposals.
“At the end of the day we can use this for other projects like the Pinal Airpark (and) the amusement park that was thinking about going on in Casa Grande [sic],” Abraham said.
Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith of Maricopa expressed concern with the future approval process, asking if there was sufficient opportunity for public input and feedback.
“If this is a large, mega project, they certainly have communities either adjacent or bordering that area and may want to weigh in, but I don’t see an element of a public process,” Smith said.
Abraham clarified it would follow typical zoning processes, in terms of public notice and neighborhood meeting requirements.
Smith, though satisfied with the stated opportunity for public input, raised further concern with certain wordage within the amendment, in particular the use of the term “rural” as it pertains to certain designations within the new zoning district.
Smith motioned to move the decision to the Aug. 23 meeting to allow for further reconsideration of the amendment and its wordage. The motion was not seconded.
A motion to approve the amendment was made by Supervisor Todd House and seconded by supervisor Rios.
The Board approved the amendment with a 4 to 1 vote, Smith voting against the measure.
DRE Development hopes to build two 2.8-mile road courses at the facility along with a hotel, convention center and 6000-foot private airstrip. Estimated construction costs are currently around $310 million.