Welcome to San Tan, Arizona.
That's the name northern Pinal County residents have chosen for a proposed city that could change the face of the East Valley.
After accepting nominations and voting on the three front-runners, residents chose "San Tan" as the winning name, incorporation effort leader Brandon Fish said Thursday.
Fish said out of more than 300 votes, San Tan received 129 votes, ahead of nominees "Valley Ridge," with 109 votes, and "Mountain View," with about 80 votes.
"We're going to go with ‘San Tan, Arizona,’ " he said.
Fish and colleagues Gary Mecham and Kevin Taylor hope to form a city that would be bounded by Empire Road to the north, Ellsworth Road and San Tan Mountains Regional Park to the west, the Gila River Indian Community and Franklin Road to the south and a Union Pacific Railroad line to the east, although the proposed town's specific boundaries are still under discussion.
They estimate the area's population already has exceeded 20,000 residents, mostly concentrated in large master-planned communities such as San Tan Heights, Johnson Ranch and Copper Basin. In all, about 6,800 homes have been built, and many more are on the way.
Incorporation committee members counted the ballots Tuesday but waited to announce the name while the group's attorney researched any potential legal problems.
Fish said there doesn’t appear to be any reason not to use "San Tan," which also is the name of a nearby mountain range, south of Queen Creek, and a stretch of Loop 202 under construction that will loop through the south East Valley.
"There's a community on the Gila River Indian reservation that's called ‘San Tan,’ " Fish said, "but they're not incorporated — it's just a community."
Proponents hope to collect the required resident signatures to establish the city by July, but several hurdles remain. Some residents oppose incorporation for a variety of reasons, including potential tax increases and fears that the area would become too urbanized.
In addition, nearby municipalities including Florence and Queen Creek would have to approve incorporation, and neither has officially expressed an opinion.