For the third article in a row since the election, Beth Duckett and her editors (including Chris Coppola) at the Arizona Republic have dishonestly portrayed the major differential in this race: Whether to follow the best practices of city planning and the voter-ratified organic law of Scottsdale’s 2001 General Plan.
I raised this same objection on a previous AZR article that portrayed these arguments as ‘growth vs no-growth.’ In today’s AZR article, Duckett says,
The four top candidates are evenly split between two political camps that have faced off in Scottsdale. Milhaven and Robbins, both incumbents, have generally favored new developments in the city, including new apartment buildings that are being built.
Littlefield and Smith have spoken against the trend. The two sides also have been divided over the direction of the city’s downtown area, particularly the nightclub district, with Littlfield [sic, obviously proofing help is needed at the AZR, too] and Smith advocating more controls to stem problems associated with the nightlife.
However, every new apartment building approved in Scottsdale recently has enjoyed massive zoning concessions, which is to say deviations from development standards like setbacks from the street, step-backs of upper floors, and floor-area-ratios (square footage of space in the buildings relative to lot size). All of these erode the visual character of Scottsdale, and the floor-area-ratios also jamb a lot more people into a given part of down. That increases traffic congestion and pressure on public services and infrastructure.
With regard to the “nightclub district” (which is a euphemism for “bar district”), “controls” are a band-aid. The real problem is that the liquor/development industry so aptly represented by Milhaven and Robbins has been allowed to build up the highest concentration of liquor licenses in the State of Arizona in about a quarter-mile square. This was accomplished via “conditional use permits,” with empty promises from Milhaven, Robbins, Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, and mayor Jim Lane to revoke those permits of problematic bars. The council majority has never even had a discussion about a specific revocation.
This bar district concentration should never have been allowed in the first place, and it’s one of the fundamental principles of city planning our genius council majority continue to ignore.