Now What for Paradise Trails ?

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 20, 2013

The bitter and public struggles are over, the allegations and frustrations are receding into the past.

Only one question besets the present: When will the promised gates of Paradise Trails open?  

Not any time soon.

Six months after he received the fourth reading, Paradise Trails proponent Michael Goodman says there are ‘gigantic’ upfront costs associated with the project.

“We are still trying to figure out how to deal with this so we can at least recover our money or make it profitable,” he says.

If and when it’s built, Paradise Trails would be a home-based equestrian community, with approximately 81 lots.

 But it’s a long wait to get there.

(Even the website for the project seems to have been removed.)

Goodman says they are seriously studying the figures, cost and phasing.

Still, he noted, the costs of merely bringing the lots to the sale level could cost the proponents millions of dollars.

The proponent would have to build the road, the riding centre, the bridge, the sewer system, and the water system before even a single lot is sold.

michael-goodman“It’s extremely expensive, and selling enough lots to make money, it would be a very tough go,” Goodman says.

Goodman claims that the district’s delay alone cost the  projec close to $2.5 million, with “their fooling around and stalling, even after we had third reading.”

For the past five years, Paradise Trails has fought a very public battle with the district that routinely spilled into the pages of local papers.

Goodman sparred with the district on a wide range of issues, alleging changed criteria, inordinate delays, and vindictive staff hell bent on changing goal posts to thwart the project.

The district’s planning department staff opposed the project from the word go, saying it violated Smart Growth principles, was prone to flooding, had high wildlife risk, and lacked services.

The wrestling match seemed to have ended last year, when Paradise Trails finally received fourth reading for their project.

But even that came with a frisson of conflict, as Goodman lashed out at planner Chris Bishop for failing to acknowledge that all conditions had been satisfied.

Goodman is confident, however, that there is still a market for an equestrian community.

“If there’s any market for any product, it’s this (Paradise Trails),” he told the Reporter last year.

Goodman says the plots in the Paradise Trails subdivision could sell anywhere from $300,000 to $350,000.

Councillor Patricia Heintzman says the project is likely not financially viable because of infrastructure needed and geotech hazards/assessments required to put an 82-property subdivision in a hydrological and geologically challenging area.

She says Goodman should consider subdividing the property into 10 acre lots, which would be 9-10 lots.

“At least he could recoup his costs,” she says.



  1. Michael Lonergan says:

    Sounds like someone put the cart before the horse

  2. Robert Weys says:

    Looks like DOS time and money was wasted on a project that never planned to go ahead.

  3. Roz Matthews says:

    I agree alot of money was spent on this project, but it was not DOS money. The district put every possible stumbling block it could in the path of Paradise Trails.

  4. julia says:

    While I am relieved that the prospect of 80+ new neighbors is not imminent, I remain perplexed and disappointed that with the right amount of financial leverage a project such as this could get this far. I, and numerous neighbors here in Paradise Valley, have been told numerous times that we cannot purchase our crown lots for safety and access reasons. From the end of my driveway I can easily toss a stone onto the proposed development site…and I don’t throw well. Safe enough?