City News Update
City Council Candidates lost some sleep last night. From 12:30 am to 3 am city council candidates were guided through the Entertainment District as an orientation to the super-active Scottsdale nightlife. Candidates Chris Schaffner and Guy Phillips had done the “pub crawl” earlier in the year so it was helpful to them to compare if there are any improvements in code and law enforcement. Candidates Copper Phillips, Christian Serene, Virginia Korte, and Joe Meli are thanked for attending so they could understand the problems that have resulted from a two-year Entertainment District expansion that has impacted area residents.
We had a full moon, increased police numbers, the usual street fights, the usual over-served patrons wobbling down the street or falling to the sidewalk, but lower than normal outdoor patio music speaker volumes, and the 2:30 am all-bar exit traffic jams. The candidates are now encouraged to generate strategies/solutions that will be supported by City Council (which could include them if they win the election), bar and nightclub owners and the in-town and nearby homeowners who seek relief.
City Council Agenda Items for this coming Tuesday, 7 February: The regular council meeting will begin later at 5:30 pm because of an Executive Session related to a Justice Dept. appointment. Consent Agenda (no discussion with single approval on all items) : 3 liquor licenses and rezoning of 3229 North 70th Street from single family to multi-family residential
- #9 BlueSky apartment project at NE corner area of Camelback Rd/Scottsdale Rd,
- #10 Citizen Petition to Terminate the 2003 Galleria Parking Agreement (public parking has not been available as agreed),
- # 11 Third Amendment to the SkySong Ground Lease to establish a new method of calculating lease payments [the city has not received one penny under the current lease “profit” calculator] and to extend their required Phase 3 completion date to 2016 and to release 1.5 acres from the lease,
- #12 sale of 74th Street & Culver Street city land to the Mark Taylor apartment project,
- #15 discussion and evaluation to put a traffic signal on southern McCormick Ranch at Indian Bend Rd and Via de la Sendero.
Northern Scottsdale proposed Resorts Update: COGS Chair and Scottsdale Coalition Chair met with the representative of Sereno Canyon Spa & Resort Monday morning. They are withdrawing their Case 10 GP 2011 and will resubmit using the appropriate Major Text Amendment route. They will continue the case and be on the April 25th City Council agenda.
Reata Ranch/Guest Ranch recently presented the Planning Commission with artist drawings of their proposed project. The artist drawings now show stables, barns and western facilities that more define their “Guest/Western Ranch” described project. However, it was most unusual that the Planning Commissioners passed 6-0 (one commissioner couldn’t vote because he is hired by this project) WITHOUT A SITE PLAN. There is absolutely no enforcement that an artist’s rendering will be even close to the final plan but the commissioners voted unanimous approval anyway.
Area residents are opposed to the Reata Ranch project on multiple grounds. (1) Staff declared this a MINOR amendment to the General Plan which only requires a majority vote of approval from City Council. It is in fact a MAJOR amendment changing the land from R 1-70 (one home on 5 acres) to high-density villas and Resort. (2) Planning Commissioner, Ed Grant, added the stipulation that no Certificate of Occupancy would be issued for this project unless at the same time or first, the ranch-resort portion was completed before the residential villas. (3) Area residents want the Resort designation only on the resort-occupied portion of the 220 acres and the remaining acreage to stay true to the surrounding R1-70 low density rural living. (4) Serious concerns regarding the existing Environmentally Sensitive Lands, no flood drainage plan, and the final placement of buildings were not addressed at the hearing.
COGS Position: True western guest ranches would add to our destination/tourist draw. However, any projects must follow the existing procedures for consideration and approvals and that is not through a Minor Text Amendment that stifles public input and appropriate super-majority City Council vote. They must protect and complement existing fragile desert landscape and our McDowell Sonoran Preserve access. They must also honor and respect the existing rural neighborhoods and leave as small a footprint as possible. They must also present and build what is approved in a specific site plan and with close construction scrutiny from our city departments.
Have a great weekend. GO TEAM (we take no sides)….
For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) Board of Directors, Sonnie Kirtley, Chair e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org