Community Conversation Videos - Finance, Planning, Engineering

Principal Planner Steven Cheslak

Principal Planner Steven Cheslak

The Town of Marana frequently hosts Community Conversation events where staff members interact with residents. These events allow staff to speak to the public about their area of expertise and answer any questions they may have.

This spring the Town of Marana hosted a trio of Community Conversations with talks by the Finance, Planning and Engineering. Here is video from the three presentations.

Finance Director Yiannis Kalaitzidis discussed the process the Town goes through to create the budget for the 2020 fiscal year as well as taking a detailed look at the numbers.

Principal Planner Steven Cheslak discussed the new businesses and building projects coming to Marana. Among the projects he covered were new businesses coming to North Marana, Cortaro, and near Marana Center and the Premium Outlets.

The Town of Marana's Assistant Director of Engineering Jennifer Christelman discussed a number of the Town's infrastructure projects. She went into detail on the Tangerine Corridor, Ina Road, and upcoming projects at Adonis Road and Lon Adams.

Make Marana 2040: First round of workshops seek input from the public

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Building a town or city isn’t just an idea. Be a part of building your own community with the Town of Marana General Plan 2040. 

Town of Marana is hosting the first Marana 2040 General Plan public workshops on Wednesday, October 3 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marana Municipal Complex, and on Thursday, October 4 at 6 p.m. at the Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library.

The General Plan Project team will present the Town’s past and current planning efforts, and an overview of current and emerging planning trends.  The workshop will also include interactive exercises to identify Marana’s vision, community values and future opportunities, which will help with the development of a vision statement for the community.



Applicants wanted for open position on Marana Planning Commission


The Town of Marana is seeking qualified citizens for a position on the Planning Commission.  The term expires June 30, 2021.

The Marana Planning Commission is a Council-appointed seven-member advisory body which makes recommendations to the Marana Town Council on matters relating to zoning and land development, including the Marana General Plan (Marana's future vision for development) and applications for approval of rezoning cases, subdivision plats, development plans, and conditional uses.  Applicants must be Marana residents.

The Planning Commission meets at the Marana Municipal Complex at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month. Agendas are available at the Marana Development Services office on the Monday before the meeting.

Deadline to submit an application is April 27, 2018. All applications will remain active for one year from the date of receipt. 

Applications are available at and can be submitted online.  Call 382-1960 or 382-2655  for more information.

Posted:  March 26, 2018

Marana Town Clerk


Planning Commission to hold on-site meeting


The of the Marana Planning Commission will hold an on-site meeting that is open to the general public to discuss the consideration for the development of the Abrazo micro-hospital.

The Commission will meet on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at or after 12:30 PM at the northwest corner of Cortaro Road and Cerius Stravenue in the I-Hop parking lot.

The public is welcome at the meeting and are encouraged to give their opinions on the project. Action may be taken by the commission on this item or any other items on the agenda. Revisions to the agenda can occur up to 24 hours prior to the meeting. Any revision can be found at on the Town Clerk page under Agendas, Minutes and Recent Actions.

Marana employee wins "Plans Examiner of the Year" honor

The Town of Marana’s Senior Plans Examiner Paul Froehlke was awarded the Arizona Building Officials (AZBO) Don Cunningham Award as the Arizona Plan Reviewer of the Year.

Froehlke received the award at the AZBO’s 24th Annual Business Meeting Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Pinetop.

The award is for “Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Building Plan Review” and rewards the winner for his or her helpfulness to the public and fellow inspectors and for personal professional development.

Froehlke was nominated for a number of reasons, including his ability to manage multiple large commercial project plan reviews along with residential plan reviews. Marana has led Southern Arizona in the number of single-family residential permits issued. Over the past year Froehlke has reviewed nearly 500 permit applications, often times working late and on weekends to make the demanding deadlines.

He was recognized by his co-workers for his dedication to the improvement of public safety and his willingness to lead staff while the department going through a leadership change. He has also served a stretch of time where he was the only qualified plans examiner to complete the reviews for the town. 

Froehlke has been employed by the town as a Plan Reviewer for over 17 years.

The Arizona Building Officials Organization is the Southwest's leading source for Building Code Education and information for the built environment. It is the mission of the Arizona Building Officials to represent the interests of the four Arizona ICC Chapters, promote professionalism and educate the public through the development, promotion and conduct of our educational institutes.

Southern Arizona Bat Watchers Citizen Scientist Bat Monitoring Network


Photo by Doris Evans


Were your hummingbird feeders mysteriously drained during the night last summer? Did you know that the midnight raiders were bats? Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but two species drink nectar and eat pollen and fruits from plants such as the saguaro, agave, and your hummingbird feeders. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with cooperation from the Town of Marana, will be commencing their 2017 nighttime hummingbird feeder and bat monitoring project and they need your help!

Over the past 10 years, citizen scientists have graciously volunteered numerous hours each summer to monitor their hummingbird feeders for signs of visiting bats. They have provided us with valuable information that allows us to better understand the behavior of the federally endangered lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) and the Mexican long-tongued bats (Choeronycteris mexicana), an Arizona species of concern. The lesser long-nosed bats migrate north from Mexico and arrive in southern Arizona as the saguaros begin to bloom. They continue to travel throughout southern Arizona feeding on the blooms of saguaros and agaves, as well as at your hummingbird feeders.

If you enjoy watching wildlife and sitting on your porch during summer evenings, please consider volunteering your time for this worthy cause. Your efforts will allow wildlife and resource managers in Arizona to better understand the ecology of these species. The goals of this project are to understand when these species arrive in southern Arizona, to determine foraging habits and movement patterns, and to document when the migratory species depart Arizona. With your help, we hope to continue receiving valuable information and use it to understand their behavior as well as how to better protect these bats.

If you are interested in participating in the hummingbird feeder monitoring project this year, please visit Marana’s bat study webpage.  The website allows participants to sign up as volunteers and to download information about this year’s monitoring protocol.

We hope to hear from you this season!

El Rio Open Space Preserve Earns Water Infrastructure Financing Authority (WIFA) Grant

The Town has been awarded a grant for $35,000 from the Water Infrastructure Financing Authority (WIFA) for technical assistance to develop detailed landscape and engineering plans for the El Rio Preserve, adjacent to the Santa Cruz River. The Marana Town Council voted formally to accept this grant during last night’s meeting.

A concept plan for the site, presented to Council on August 2, 2016, shows a trail, wildlife-watching blinds, a ramada, and picnic tables. Native vegetation will be seeded and planted and some invasive species removed. More information is available at

Preparations for this project include a cultural resources survey and jurisdictional delineation for compliance with the Clean Water Act. The project is supported by AZ Game and Fish Department, Tucson Audubon Society, and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. The Town is also developing plans for disc golf at a nearby site that floods less frequently.

El Rio Preserve provides rich riparian habitat for nesting and migratory birds –over 220 species of birds have been observed, and it is identified as a regionally important wildlife linkage. It also acts as a stormwater retention basin that prevents flooding of nearby neighborhoods. Local educators have expressed interest in using the site for outdoor education and will be providing input for the plans. 

With the help of this technical assistance grant, the Town will hire a firm experienced in designing a riparian restoration project with aesthetically pleasing water harvesting features and low impact recreation amenities. These plans are intended to reduce mosquitos, improve the Town’s ability to maintain the area, reduce flooding concerns, and create an urban oasis for wildlife and residents.

Marana News: Marana Council approves sign code change to help Ina/I-10 businesses

Written by Brad Allis for the Marana News.

The Town of Marana has been concerned about construction in the I-10/Ina area and has proposed several methods to try and help those effected businesses in the area. 

One of those proposed methods was a change to the sign code to allow businesses affected by construction to utilize additional signage. To implement that change, the council had to approve a change in the sign code...

Summer Schooling, Part 9: How Marana Manages Growth

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Development in and around the Town of Marana is really starting to pick up momentum. Everywhere I go in the northwest I see signs from all of the big homebuilders advertising new homes.  For sale signs are coming down on commercial properties and we have very few empty stores.  It is a great sign that our economy is getting stronger and the area of town we live in is desirable.  It is a great problem to have. However, the question becomes how do we manage the growth in a manner that is beneficial to everyone?

“Getting to Yes” is a great book about the art of negotiating.  It is an easy read that is applicable to everything from big business deals to convincing your brother to help you move.  I am bringing it up because it is something that is not stressed in my planning program at the U of A, but my experience here at the Town has shown it to be very important.  This is particularly important when it comes to new development and making sure we get everything that we need to grow efficiently and making sure it falls in line with our values and long term goals.

The south end of Marana, the areas from Orange Grove up to Cortaro, is pretty much built out.  The real growth lies in the areas from Twin Peaks all the way up to Marana Road and our northern Town limit.  There is definitely a vision and several plans for these areas that include everything from business corridors to recreational opportunities.  The details for much of these planned areas have yet to be worked out and that is where the negotiations are really important to our future. 

The Town has an obligation to existing and future residents to ensure we continue to have excellent infrastructure.  It is something that everyone takes very seriously and quite honestly the quality of our infrastructure is a source of pride around here.   In order to make sure we are not left with roads that are falling apart from overuse or ball fields with dead and dying grass, there is a fiduciary responsibility to procure these items as growth demands.

We are in need of more infrastructure, water and sewer lines in particular.  We need another park with lighted fields to accommodate our growing youth and adult sports programs.  There are roads that need widening and more roads need to be constructed.  Just like a growing family that needs a larger house or car to accommodate a new baby, we need larger parks, roads, and infrastructure to accommodate new population.  When you buy a new house or car there tends to be a lot of negotiation.  The same is true with development, only the Town does it on our behalf and in line with the values and interests of the community.  Marana has been extremely successful so far, and will continue to build upon its successes as development and growth continue.   

Ride of Silence Encourages Cyclists and Motorists to Share the Road

On Tuesday, April 19, the Marana Town Council unanimously passed a proclamation recognizing Ride of Silence Day, which will occur on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  This annual international event honors cyclists who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.  Furthermore, it raises awareness that cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists.  In passing this proclamation, the Council emphasizes the importance that all travelers—drivers and cyclists alike—share the road with respect for the law and for each other.

The Ride of Silence organization hosted its first event in 2003 in response to tragedy in Dallas, Texas.  In May of that year, long-distance cyclist Larry Schwartz was struck and killed by the side mirror of a passing bus.  In the days following his death, the cycling community in Dallas organized an informal gathering that attracted over 1000 riders.  Every year since then, the ride has grown substantially, and this year will occur not just in every state in the US, but also in 38 countries across the world.  On May 18, over 300 rides across the globe will raise awareness of the importance of bicycling safety. 

Marana is proud to participate in year’s event.  Community and recreation are both focus areas in the Town’s strategic plan.  Ensuring that local cyclists feel safe while pedaling on our streets and bike paths helps Marana fulfill both of those commitments.

“The safety of bicyclists in our community is an essential consideration in responsibly planning for future growth and development,” explains Varney, a planner with the Town. “Town staff work collaboratively in planning and developing bicycle facilities that provide a safe, comfortable, and convenient means for bicycle travel within Marana. Such facilities include shared-use paths detached from the roadway, paved shoulders where shared-use paths are not feasible, and options for recreational riding such as the Santa Cruz Shared-Use Path and smaller neighborhood-scale trail systems similar to what we have in Gladden Farms.” Varney, himself an avid cyclist, is proud to be part of these efforts.            

Marana has demonstrated its commitment to bike safety through its construction and maintenance of the Santa Cruz Shard-Use Path.  This car-free stretch of pavement extends for miles along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, paralleling a picturesque riparian corridor.  Not only does this path afford cyclists a safe place to travel, but its regular maintenance ensures a smooth and steady ride.

On May 18, and on every other day of the year, be sure to share the road.  Both cyclists and cars have a right to the roadway, and the Ride of Silence will help remind everyone about the importance of safety and respect on the streets. 

A Sneak Peak into the New Elementary School in Gladden Farms

When the 2016-2017 school year kicks off next August, an eager class of kindergartners won’t be the only new additions to Marana Unified School District. A new elementary school in Gladden Farms will open its doors for the first time.  Recently, Chasse Building Team, the firm contracted to construct the new school, offered a tour of this new site, and the Marana Newsroom is ready to provide you with a glimpse inside these new walls.


Reading is perhaps the most important skill for young students to learn, which is why this reading nook is at the heart of the new school.  Located just behind the main entrance, teachers will be able to take their students to this comfortable spot for dedicated reading time.



This new school embraces the importance of collaborative learning.  Every classroom enjoys one moving glass wall which teachers can configure in different ways in order to create the perfect learning environment for every lesson.  The walls will be among the final installations, but this open space shows where one of them will soon stand.


Classrooms are far from the only places where learning can happen, and this new school is well equipped to provide creative spaces for students to engage with each other and their teachers.  This central staircase will conveniently double as bleachers, allowing students to use this area for presentations and assemblies.



School safety is always a top priority, and this new school includes some of the latest technology to keep students secure.  Double doorways on arterial hallways are magnetized, so that all doors can be closed with the push of a button.



Just off the cafeteria and auditorium space is a music room.  Soon, it will echo with the cacophony of children plucking their first violin strings and tooting their first horns.  Across the hall is a PE room, where students can exercise when it’s too hot or cold to go outside.



Throughout the school year, Arizona’s weather means that students can enjoy comfortably eating their lunch outside, but sometimes, it’s just too hot or cold.  This canopy offers the best of both worlds.  With a roof two-stories above the ground and large roll-up doors, this feature will provide extensive opportunities for students to get outdoors.  However, when the weather doesn’t cooperate, all the school has to do is roll down those doors and enjoy the climate-controlled inside space.



During the early stages of construction, Chasse built a “mock-up wall,” allowing the firms of BWS Architects and Winslow & Partners to provide early feedback.  After all, it’s much easier to alter a wall before it’s built than afterwards.


Throughout construction, this site has seen up to 133 workers industriously laboring to complete the school by June 15.  Not only are they on target to meet that goal, but they recentlycelebrated 100 straight days without an accident.  Safety is a priority for the Town, Marana Unified School District, and the Chasse Building Team, so this accomplishment is certainly worthy of a burger and a hot dog.



On August 8, 2016, an army of young scholars will descend on this new elementary school.  Just a year ago, this site was nothing more than a graded patch of dirt.  Soon, though, it will begin educating a new generation of Marana students.  This innovative building will provide a creative space for kids to explore new knowledge and engage with the world around them.  The Chasse Building Team offered nearly 100 visitors a glimpse into this new school, and it was clear that more than a few of them wanted to figure out how they themselves could re-enroll in kindergarten.  Unfortunately for them, they’re probably a little too big for the desks.

Marana Recognized as Owner of the Year by Cornerstone Building Foundation

Last Thursday night, the Cornerstone Building Foundation recognized the Town of Marana with its 2016 Owner of the Year Award.  This honor acknowledges Marana’s commitment to a forward-thinking planning strategy and its high quality service to the building community. 

The Cornerstone Building Foundation was established over 20 years ago to foster strong cross-sector relationships for members of the construction industry.  Its founder, Robert Hershberger, aimed to recognize annually a “Dream Team” of members across the building community.  This year, Marana is proud to be part of that “Dream Team.” In addition to its annual awards, the Foundation also provides scholarships to support students pursuing careers in the design and construction industries. 

Marana Planning Director Ryan Mahoney and Building Official Benny Sanchez accepted the award on behalf of the Town.  “We’re honored, especially given the list of past winners, to stand among giants,” says Mahoney. “We’re all helping the Town of Marana to improve our services.  Our work with the construction industry helps the whole Town improve and grow.”

This year’s award was presented to the Town as a result of Marana’s efforts to partner with Vintage Partners and Simon Properties in their construction of the new Premium Outlet Mall at Marana Center.  From initial planning to its final ribbon cutting, this project took slightly under two years.  Marana helped facilitate this rapid pace by designating a plan reviewer to serve the builder on site.  This ensured that builders could alter their design quickly and efficiently, without having to wait for a lengthy review process.

The Owner of the Year Award also honored Marana for its strong working relationship with the residential building community.  The Dove Mountain neighborhood, in particular, has experienced significant growth over the past several years, and Marana has collaborated closely with developers and builders to keep pace with this demand.  These relationships serve Marana residents, both present and future, in powerful ways. 

The Cornerstone Building Foundation also recognized six other honorees at their annual awards banquet:  Architect of the Year- Swaim Associates; Consultant of the Year- Monrad Engineering; Contractor of the Year (large projects)- Concord General Contracting;  Contractor of the Year (small projects)- Kittle Design and Construction; Professional Service of the Year- Ronstadt Insurance; Subcontractor of the Year- Flooring Systems of Arizona; Supplier of the Year- Arcadia, Inc. 

As Marana grows, the Town is constantly exploring how to innovate and offer the highest quality service to residents and businesses in the community. This award recognizes these efforts, and pushes the Town to continue that commitment.  

Marana Board of Adjustment Seeks Qualified Candidates

The Town of Marana is seeking qualified citizens for three open seats with terms beginning March 1, 2016 and expiring February 28, 2020 .

The Marana Board of Adjustment is a 7-member quasi-judicial body of citizens whose main functions are (1) to hear and decide citizen appeals from the Zoning Administrator's interpretations of the Marana zoning regulations; and (2) to consider citizen requests for variances from Marana zoning regulations.

Applicants must be Marana residents.

Scheduled meetings are at 2:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Council Chambers, or as needed.

The deadline to submit an application is February 16, 2016.


All applications will remain active for one year from the date of receipt. 


Applications are available at and can be submitted online.  Call 382-1960 or 382-2655  for more information.

Marana Receives Common Ground Award for Marana Center

On October 30, the Town of Marana received a Common Ground Award from the Metropolitan Pima Alliance for its part in the creation of the Marana Center and the new Simon Premium Outlet Mall.  This annual celebration honors public projects across Pima County that exhibit a spirit of collaboration across jurisdictions and between the public and private sectors. 

From the first stages of this project, Marana worked closely with developers to ensure a speedy yet thorough design and review process, so that the Mall could meet its target to open before the holiday shopping season. 

Developers first approached the Town in the summer of 2013 with the idea of a new Marana Center.   They needed reassurance, however, that the Town would provide adequate support throughout the design and review process.  “We were eager to partner with them from the very beginning,” remembers Steve Cheslak, the project planner for Marana.  The close partnership between the Town and developers is what allowed this extensive project to proceed quickly from idea to reality.

Typically, when construction occurs in any municipality, builders must undergo a lengthy design submission process.  This entails plans shuttling back and forth between architects and Town plan reviewers.  Due to the extensiveness of this project, however, the Town convened a roundtable with both the Marana Center and Simon teams, including engineers, planners, and builders, and the Town’s own staff.  Through this partnership, the private and public sectors were able to enjoy an open dialogue that facilitated a firm foundation for future cooperation.

“Our meetings were an open forum to talk through potential challenges and anticipate them long before they became major issues,” recalls Ryan Mahoney, Marana’s planning director.  “Without that kind of cooperation, I don’t think we would have been able to do this as quickly and effectively as we did.” 

That is not to say, though, that this project encountered no obstacles.  A significant archaeological site was discovered, dating back to the days when the Hohokam farmed the banks of the Santa Cruz.  Rather than letting this discovery derail the project, however, the developers collaborated with the Tohono O’odham Nation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the State Historic Preservation Office to document these historical findings.  Only when all three groups gave their final approval could the project proceed. Due to the collaborative effort among all parties, this process occurred efficiently and thoroughly, without sacrificing quality.   

In the months preceding the opening of the Simon Premium Outlets on October 1, an army of construction workers descended on the site.  Amid a torrent of activity, Marana was able to provide a dedicated inspector who remained on site every day.  The availability of this inspector enabled builders to deal immediately with problems as they arose.  That inspector was also trained as a plan reviewer, and so could approve on-the-spot revisions to the mall building plans. 

On October 1, to much fanfare, the Simon Premium Outlets at Marana Center opened.  A year earlier, an undeveloped desert had stood on that same site.  A year before that, this project was only the glimmer of an idea in a developer’s eye.  Only through close collaboration among all parties could so significant a project unfold under so tight a schedule.   This Common Ground Award recognizes that accomplishment, and establishes Marana as a place where collaboration is the top priority.