Apartment “Boom” is a “Boon?”

It’s too bad that Beth Duckett made the classic mistake of not digging a little deeper to put a cost/denominator on her happy-talk benefit/numerator in her Republic article, “New apartments means boon for Scottsdale.” Is it too early on a gray Saturday for a mathematical metaphor?

The $2 million-over-projected building permit revenue ($6.5 was the projection) she cited tells me primarily that

  1. The folks at the City who do the projections probably need to sharpen their spreadsheets,
  2. The difference (about a 30% increase) isn’t going to have a lot of impact on the budget (around $200 million as recall, so $2 mil is only 1% of the total),
  3. It doesn’t hold a candle to the incremental increase in public service costs associated with the folks who will eventually occupy these apartments,
  4. Nor will it come close to offsetting the decrease in average property value below where it would have been had the market not been flooded with cheaply-priced apartments,
  5. Reduced average property values eventually leads to reduced average property taxes, good for the owners, bad for the city,
  6. And mind you, when the demand doesn’t keep up, those apartments WILL become cheaply priced,
  7. $2 million won’t even cover our budget deficit, let alone make any inroads into our Valley-leading per capita debt (over a billion dollars) or deferred infrastructure maintenance costs (also probably a billion dollars).

Beth might have included that information in her original submission. Perhaps the editors cut it when making a choice between buying the extra paper and paying her salary.

I doubt, however, that her minders would have allowed her to include the reminder that every one of these projects received generous zoning concessions and amended development standards courtesy of Mayor Jim Lane and the council majority, in violation of our Scottsdale 2001 General Plan and for their own political (if not personal) gain. The General Plan was ratified by the voters to nurture our quality of life, but your mayor and city council are eroding it.

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  1. That article was very interesting. At the SUSD school district forum last Thursday night, at Cheyene Elementary School, the two architects hired by the district to assess the needs of our school buildings said they spoke with our current planning staff and they were told that most of the development in the McDowell Corridor was going to be commercial. So don’t look to enrollment increase to impact

    The city keeps telling residents that there will not be anymore shopping and commercial development until there more roof-tops.

  2. Simple question for everyone – Go to any Walgreens or other store that has the postcards for Scottsdale. Now look at them. Can anyone find one that says or shows Scottsdale full of apartments? What about the skyline blotted out by them? The overflowing bar district in any of them? Well, please someone show me one.

    Scottsdale – the city that loves to sell the image of one thing and then is becoming the total opposite.

    PS – I think that Beth Duckett’s article simple was stating the fact that Scottsdale is getting more revenue from permits, the win for the city. The city as a whole is losing, too bad nobody reports on that.

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