Scottsdale City Council puts final stamp of approval on Reata Ranch Guest Ranch

Scottsdale City Council Tuesday, June 21 unanimously approved the final plat for a 326-unit resort subdivision coined the Reata Ranch Guest Ranch.

A graphic submitted to illustrate the general scope of the Reata Ranch development. (Submitted graphic)

A graphic submitted to illustrate the general scope of the Reata Ranch development. (Submitted graphic)

The now-approved resort subdivision sits on a 220-acre site on the south side of east Rio Verde Drive between 128th and 136th streets in north Scottsdale.

Scottsdale City Council in February 2012 approved, by a vote of 6 to 1, the rezoning of 220 acres of land from a rural distinction to one allowing higher density and resort operations. That action is what is allowing the western-themed, 320-unit Reata Ranch resort community to come to fruition.

Then-Scottsdale Councilman Bob Littlefield contended a rezoning of the size and scope of Reata Ranch deserved the scrutiny of a major General Plan amendment rather than the “non-major distinction” given to the project by city staff.

The major General Plan amendment, however, was never pursued by city staff as the Reata Ranch development abuts the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Independent archives state.

In conjunction with the June 21 final plat approval, a development agreement — the nuts and bolts of the real estate deal — was approved by Scottsdale City Council.

“The final plat created 326 lots and tracts,” said Scottsdale City Planner Doris McClay at the June 21 public hearing. “It conforms to the preliminary plat that was approved by the development review board.”

Ms. McClay says the development agreement approved in tandem with the final plat ensures resort operations will occur at the site.

“On the final plat there are 106 lots designated as resort,” she pointed out. “The remaining four units of the 110 is in a tract that was on the approved site plan that was under the development review case.”

Scottsdale Vice Mayor Kathy Littlefield, at the behest of resident Copper Phillips, called into question a lack of resort operations included in plans before the local governing body.

David Gulino of Land Development Services says entitlement requirements for this property are clearly defined and protections are embedded within the now-approved development agreement.

“In this case, as you know, it goes back all the way four of five years now when they got the entitlements for the property,” he said in response to Vice Mayor Littlefield’s line of questioning. “Those entitlement requirements state 110 resort units — the stipulations were clear on that.”

Mr. Gulino says no certificates of occupancy can be issued for non-resort units until resort units certificates are issued — a typical zoning protection forcing compliance with resort operations.

“As we proceeded with staff and getting final plat approval and everything else, there was some concern and some ambiguity for these stipulations,” he said.

“That is why there is a development agreement with this. That development agreement further clarifies how this project will operate.”

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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