SHOW LOW — Unanimous approval was given by the Show Low Planning and Zoning Commission on a preliminary development plan for Bison Pass. It is described by developer Gary Martinson of Bison Homes LLC as a 16-lot subdivision located at 4800 West Joe Tank Road in Show Low.

The preliminary plan shows lots for single-family homes with detached garages and will be part of the Bison Ridge development. Lot sizes will be roughly 2,345 to 2,478 square feet. They will be similar to the Retreat Villas at Bison Crossing.

The development will not hinder access to the forest and Bison Homes LLC and Martinson have committed to provide the required “assurance” to the city regarding future improvements to Joe Tank Road.

Planning and Zoning Commission Director Justen Tregaskes explained the review process in more detail prior to asking the applicant questions.

“Essentially there is a three-step process with a preliminary development plan, said Tregaskes. “That begins with the applicant submitting the plan for review by city staff. Recommendations are made to the Planning and Zoning Commission. If approved, the plan moves to the city council for final approval.”

In the case of this development, the city requires an “assurance” from the developer. It is essentially a guarantee that the public infrastructure will be built. With this particular development, the assurance relates to Joe Tank Road.

“In this case there is a little bit of a wrinkle ...The city has applied for and we have received what is called a FLAP grant which stands for Forest Land Access Program” said Tregaskes. “This is a grant we’ve been working on for a number of years with the purpose of improving Joe Tank Road from the highway to the Forest Service property that is located to the west.”

“The concern is that, if the developer goes in and just builds his portion of the road (which he would normally have to do), that it could jeopardize the entire roadway FLAP grant project,” said Tregaskes. “We could end up with a small portion of the road built by the developer and the remainder not built at all.”

Rather than jeopardize the grant, city staff recommends that the developer provide the assurance. Should the grant fall through, the city still has the ability to get that portion of the road built in front of the development.

This makes the applicant responsible whether the grant comes through or not.

“I’m proposing a product that is varied enough so it attracts a wide variety of buyers from singles to couples to summer visitors,” said Martinson.

If approved by the city council, Martinson said they plan to start on the infrastructure the day after they receive council approval. Construction would begin this spring with possible completion in early 2022.

The plan will now go before the city council at the regular meeting, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.

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Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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