Centipede, Gates Pass Area, Tucson Mountains, AZ

Road, Utility, Cell Tower, and Other Issues

The Gateway Overlay zoning code preserves the Tucson Mountains' scenic views.

GPANA supports the 2002 Gateway Overlay Zone with stricter standards within 600 feet of designated gateways to Tucson, including Gates Pass Road west of Anklam. It includes further setbacks of 40 feet from the original Pima County right-of-way on this scenic route to museums, parks, and other attractions.


  • GPANA and immediate neighbors protested the construction of an illegally constructed guest house in 2014 within the designated setbacks on the north side of Gates Pass Road. Our position was upheld by the County. The building was torn down in January 2016.


  • The International Wildlife Museum installed additional exterior lighting after they were picketed in protest of a 2015 Predator Masters convention meeting at the Museum. GPANA and nearby neighbors worked informally with the Museum to mitigate the lighting issue. In 2000, the Museum filed plans to modify their 1988 North African-styled fort to better integrate with the neighborhood, but the death of the founder, Mr. C. J. McElroy, in 2002 stopped the funding.


  • In 2018, GPANA galvanized the defeat of variances for an electronic sign at the International Wildlife Museum. The hearing also verified that the Museum was violating sign codes and the Gateway Overlay Zone with their many temporary signs along the edge of the road.


  • In 2000, Evangelo's restaurant replaced Scordato's at the corner of Anklam Road and West Speedway. Besides illegal grading, the new owner's large, brightly lit sign did not meet the sign code. GPANA protested to Pima County until the sign was modified to conform to Pima County's sign and dark skies overlay zoning codes.


  • GPANA successfully opposed construction of a cell phone tower in 2012 at property bordering Evangelo's Restaurant.


  • We unsuccessfully opposed a private 99 foot shortwave radio tower in our view-shed to the Catalina Mountains in 2003. We lost a similar argument over the location and design of a cell phone tower in 2016 at the Northwest Fire Station on Camino de Oeste.


  • GPANA members finally persuaded the County to bury the above ground gas line alongside the West Speedway bridge over Camino de Oeste Wash after a 2014 auto accident came within two feet of impacting the line.


  • A wastewater (sewage) pumping station near the intersection of Anklam and West Speedway was constructed in the mid-1980s. The Tucson Mountain West Neighborhood Association expressed concern that this would allow increased density along West Speedway and Gates Pass Road. However, larger developments were defeated. Unfortunately, with increased waste, low-water use toilets, plus chlorine to keep down odor (but which eats the ARV valves), the pumping station sometimes has problems.


  • Road widenings and modifications affecting both West Speedway and Gates Pass Road are planned for the near future. Public hearings started in 2017. GPANA notifies members to make sure our voices are heard in the planning process.

Roger Carpenter cradles a baby bobcat in the early days of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Photo courtesy of Roger Carpenter. This cat got fed, but our wild predators have to kill to eat; they can't order take-out. Keep your pets on leashes, small pets safely inside.

Elf owl dining on centipede under dark sky, Gates Pass Area, Tucson Mountains, AZ

Gates Pass Area Neighborhood Association, Tucson, AZ, USA (GPANA.info) at https://www.gpana.info/road--utility-and-other-issues.html. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. The photographs are copyright by the photographers with all rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 GATES PASS AREA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved. Site issues? Email donna@rsdesign.net

Roger Carpenter with bobcat, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

Elf owl's dark sky dining on centipede. This sparrow-sized owl is one of the smallest owls in the world. Photo courtesy of Roger Carpenter.

Closer view of a centipede. They are nocturnal hunters. Their bite is very painful, but not dangerous to humans. Photo courtesy of Roger Carpenter.