From Thursday’s Republic (yes, I’m trying to get caught up) and again apparently not available on AZCentral, a “My Turn” column from “a longtime south Scottsdale resident, volunteer and activist,” cries out, “Scottsdale Needs More Housing.”
The twin themes of the column are “workforce housing,” and “aging in-place.”
As cited in the column,
…“workforce housing” refers to a broad range of housing in or near employment centers and is intended to appeal to essential workers, such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, office workers and doctors. Those people might include our own sons and daughters returning home to work in the place they grew up in.
Most young people go to neighboring communities to buy homes and rent condos or apartments because the market rate here in Scottsdale is more expensive than in Mesa, Tempe and Chandler, for example.
…In order to accomplish sound financial revitalization while restoring the commercial “wants” we all miss, it will require more housing.
As I see it, the writer is advocating for reducing zoning standards for housing unit density in order to subsidize housing cost for folks who can’t otherwise afford to live in Scottsdale. Clearly she wants Scottsdale rental rates to be equal to places with lower development standards.
I wonder how this squares with the “market-based” approach advocated by Councilman Dennis Robbins in today’s Republic? That is a rhetorical question, because it clearly doesn’t; and I absolutely oppose eroding our property values in order to subsidize an influx of new residents.
As far as the tired “retail follows rooftops” philosophy, there are plenty of Scottsdale residents who travel to shop at Riverview and Tempe Marketplace to sustain retail near their homes. Bringing in more residents who will travel to the same shopping venues is not going to bring more retail to our neighborhoods. We must have better “Scottsdale” solutions than big-box stores like Target or Wal-Mart. How about neighborhood markets and local artisans?
As for “aging in-place,” there’s really nothing about that concept that supports the notion of subsidized rent. Aging in-place has more to do with interior design improvements, creating support networks, and improving infrastructure (public transit, etc.) to accommodate our aging population, rather than lowering community standards and rents.
If anything, residents (prospective and current, young and old, working class and professional) should see the value they receive in exchange for paying a little more rent or higher mortgage payment in a community where they can be safe; enjoy a high quality of life and high-quality city services; and have access to high-quality community amenities.
Cheap rent in our neighboring communities is “cheap” for a reason: There’s less desire (market demand) to live there!