Life’s a Beach…Club

It’s a little short notice, but there’s a public outreach meeting this evening you may want to attend if you are following the Downtown Entertainment District saga. It’s at the W Hotel, which is always an interesting place to hang out for a little while. Sonnie Kirtley of COGS sent out a great write-up on it and several other items last night. As before, I’m just going to reprint it here without further comment.

WHAT?  A proposed “Beach Club” in the Entertainment District in downtown?  Emphasis is not on sand and a beach,  but more like a huge swimming pool setting for another Triyar nightclub/bar project.   The public open house to review the project will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, Dec 21st for one hour–at 5 pm-6 pm.  The location is the W Hotel on Camelback Road just east of Scottsdale Road.  Signs in the lobby will direct you to the display room. This is the only public open house scheduled so far, therefore it is important for you to stop by and talk with the developer’s team. The project application can be read at this link: https://eservices.scottsdaleaz.gov/eservices/cases/casesheet.aspx?caseid=39952&buttons=no

[On a related note] Old Geezers ?  Young having fun?  Generation “war”?  Does the Phoenix newspaper work overtime to capture readers (and subscribers)?  A recent editorial cited the downtown Entertainment District problems as just a generation gap.  Some of the COGS Board members did a 12:30 am to 3 am walk in the area on a Saturday night.  We observed bar patrons in public areas out of control, damage to adjacent office buildings, gang tagging (spray paint to mark “territory” or to “challenge”) on walls, and thousands of bar patrons turned into the streets at the 2 am closing hour.

As you will recall, the original complaints of area neighborhoods was excessive noise and bar parking impact on their interior streets.  COGS hosted a meeting of area neighborhood leaders and Mayor Lane earlier in the year.  He assured the 20 plus representatives that “something” would be done.  We are now many months beyond that meeting and more bars have been City Council approved; more serious patron conduct problems have occurred; valley-wide gangs have descended into the party area; Scottsdale’s reputation has been trashed in the U Tube “female fight” performance; adjacent business owners experience repeated property damage; and we are told that our city assigned additional police and maintenance cleanup crews—unfortunately in a very tight budget year.

What has occurred toward solutions?  The 2011 Noise Ordinance was passed.  The problem is that it only protects residents living outside the Downtown boundaries. A Neighborhood Parking Permit program begins this month on some streets north of Camelback Road. Police cars have been assigned to those neighborhoods for initial enforcement. The Mayor’s fines for litter begins in 30 days from City Council approval. So when the frequent drunk lies on the sidewalk (or in a business patio) to sleep, they had better not drop a beer can or bottle. The fines don’t appear to include spray painting or writing on private or public property.  Our $100,000 per trained police office now become Litter Cops?

The high concentration of liquor sales establishments lacked planning in a city that touts its Planning Department.  Excessive competition is not good for any business success so Happy Hours now begin in the early afternoon to get that patron edge.   The “Pimp and Ho” costume party to attract bar customers was degrading to the city’s image.  Operating an underage “Teen Nightclub” in the same district is poor planning.  The teen nightclub scantily-clad Pole Dancers visible from the public street where families drive by is poor planning. It isn’t a Generation Gap but the lack of good planning that could have led to community support of a variety of businesses including liquor sales and their special events in a planned Entertainment District.

Once again—it is YOUR money.  Bond proposals on the November 2012 ballot?  What project(s ) would you support? The nine appointed members of the 2012 Bond Task Force have been meeting since July 28th.  They have listened to multiple presentations from city departments and private-public project advocates pleading placement before the public in a possible 2012 bond vote.  Their list of 45 projects were ranked using a method that appeared to be skewed when reported at the December 13th meeting.  Two of the nine task force members stated that they did not use the same method to rank as the other 7 members.  However, the attachment to this newsletter reports that initial DRAFT of ranking. You need to read the heading/title of the chart carefully to understand the page content.

Page 5 ranks from the top of #1 to the low of 45 and it will show the Project Title followed immediately by that project approx. cost.  Page 7 has the rank again but with the accumulative cost—as if you approved the projects above it as well as the project you are reading.  Page 8 rearranges the ranked projects and what region of the city it would affect.  Page 10 reports the city department projects and how the Bond Task Force ranked it.  Page 14 lists Additional Projects not included in the 1-45 projects ranked.

However, following discussion and with public input from Downtown Ambassador/COGS Chairwoman, Sonnie Kirtley, the bond members voted 8 to 1 to move up one more project to the ranked list from the Additional Projects List—Renovate/redesign the western entry to the Civic Center from Old Town.   The city’s signature “town square” is the best kept secret if you are a tourist or even a local resident.  If you can find it, the Main Street entry begins eastward at a brick walkway where it continues beyond The Yearlings statue….then toward the Historic Society’s “Little Red School House”.  This narrow entry gives no clue to the acres of flowers, fountains, performing arts facility, public library, city hall, amphitheater, and restaurants 100 yards ahead. For most cities, their Civic Center is a prominent, highly visible celebration of their city.  In Scottsdale it is a hidden pocket.  This entry has been the subject of re-design planning for more than 6 years but available funds went to the priority construction of new public toilets.

The next task force meeting might be January 5th as they prepare an update on their work for the City Council.  Watch for confirmation in the next COGS E-Newsletter and how you can contact the task force members with your opinion(s) on proposed projects.  At their last meeting they requested another method and re-ranking.  Please read the attachment as a First Draft and not their final recommendations to present to the City Council in February or March.

For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale Board of Directors, Dr. Sonnie Kirtley, Chair
website: http://cogsaz.net, e mail  cogsaz@cox.net with your questions, comments and suggestions.

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3 Comments

  1. UPDATE: I got to the ‘public outreach meeting’ a little late, but here’s the report from Sonnie Kirtley.

    Good morning COGS E-Newsletter reader: It was an interesting developer’s public presentation of a proposed Beach Club project to be located near Civic Center and Stetson in the Entertainment District (south of Camelback Rd and between 75th and Scottsdale Rd). 2-D colored storyboards depicted an overhead look plus an elevation as a pedestrian would view from the street. The overhead image mislabeled all the bars across the street as “existing offices and shops”. WHY? This misrepresentation degraded that display for area residents who attended.

    Conversation with the architect included information that (1) It covers a whole city block (2) The tenant on the NW corner would be a restaurant/bar (3) The three tenants on the NE to SE Beach Club complex would be three bars in a row. When asked, “How would they survive with additional competition for patrons?”, he responded that they would be attracting different clients. One will possibly be an Irish Pub and another might involve a well-known athlete. (4) The highest point of the occupied structure is 26 feet (5) They would remove all existing sidewalks and street lights. Sidewalks would be widened and the new street lights would be a higher design and would better identify the area. (5) The pool area will included 14 ft sound walls (6 ) When asked “Where is the necessary additional parking?”, he replied that they are negotiating with the city to build a 5 story parking garage. …readers will recall that all businesses are required to provide a specific number of NEW parking spaces calculated by their square footage and the building use.

    You are encouraged to review the application through this City of Scottsdale link:
    https://eservices.scottsdaleaz.gov/eservices/cases/casesheet.aspx?caseid=39952&buttons=no

    Comments heard from the crowded room: Why was the open house scheduled on a Jewish holiday? Why was it scheduled so close to Christmas activities? Why was it limited to one hour ? Why was it 5 pm to 6 pm when working folks couldn’t make the event? Does this one public display satisfy the city public outreach standard? There were supportive comments for the one story Beach Club complex. There were multiple requests to identify the new parking for the increased nightlife businesses. Concerns were expressed that until the city finds effective solutions, the proposed, additional bars/nightclub businesses will add to the current problems.

    For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) Board of Directors, Sonnie Kirtley, Chair
    e-mail cogsaz@cox.net website: http://www.cogsaz.net

  2. UPDATE: A letter from John Greco to the Republic commenting on Littlefield’s editorial yesterday has been circulating. Here it is:

    Editor: Bob Littlefield’s column in today’s Scottsdale Republic (22 Dec ’11) highlights the very real problems caused by some bar patrons in our downtown area. The rest of the Council is largely in denial, with the exception of Littlefield and Ron McCullagh, as is the Republic. Special interests, lead by bar owners, have wrongly framed residents opposed to public disorder (urination, defecation, fighting, etc.) as being modern day puritans who don’t like to party. What nonsense! The truth is that bar owners are being subsidized by our taxpayer dollars, and our Council members are being hoodwinked—or worse–by these special interests. Why else would the City shell out over a million dollars a year to deal with the mess that some bar patrons are causing, when the revenue they bring in to the City is less than half a million dollars. Do the math! Everyone on the Council is bright enough to figure this out, and if not, the voters are.

    Mayor Lane and other self professed City Council conservatives are showing us their real favorite color this holiday season: green dollars! The bar owners have lots of money to spin their tale that public disorder is a) not real, b) if real not a problem, c) picking up trash will solve the problem, and/or c) anyone who opposes public disorder is a puritan, a prude, or worse. In the meanwhile, there’s lots of bar owner money available to “convince” Council members and others, that it’s somehow o.k. to allow this harmful nonsense to continue.

    If the Mayor and Council don’t wake up soon, it’s going to be time for a real Tea Party in Scottsdale. Not a temperance movement, but a surge of angry and anxious citizens, who understand that when their elected leaders are not protecting our neighborhoods from public disorder, it’s time for concerned citizens to vote the rascals out of office.

    If this public disorder continues, Littlefield should be elected Mayor, and the rest of the Council who support the bar owners should head for the hills.

    John W Greco
    Scottsdale, AZ

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