Airpark Apartments, Again

Who thinks apartments less than a runway-length away from the Scottsdale Airport is a good idea?

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane (not a pilot)

Apparently Jim Lane does.

Last night the City Council in their infinite wisdom once again chose to ignore both common sense and the advice of aviation experts. They refused to send the developer of the proposed Scottsdale Airpark Community (Hayden Road) back to the drawing board, and instead continued the case to next Tuesday while they await feedback from the FAA on the grant assurance concern I have raised.

The City Council also approved the residential General Plan Amendment case on the CrackerJax site, despite that site being a reporting point for helicopter traffic entering the Scottsdale Airport traffic pattern from the north and west at 500 feet above ground level.

Apparently city staff has tried to contact the FAA and “nudge” (I think that was the word) them into some more rapid analysis of my concerns…since after all this is a real estate emergency. Read more at In particular, I point to this in the article:

An issue in all three cases has been whether allowing residential in the airpark, which surrounds the airport, will constitute a violation of land-use policy approved by the council and the FAA, and therefore jeopardize existing and future FAA grants to the airport.

The FAA has stipulated that land use in the immediate vicinity of the airport should be restricted to “activities and purposes compatible with normal airport operations, including landing and takeoff of aircraft.”

You can see the video on the city website. My comments are at 52:00 and at 2:04:30.

Earlier articles on

I am thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with the City Council (save Bob Littlefield), the City Manager, and the City Attorney. However, these outrages don’t hold a candle to the General Plan Update that will appear on a ballot for voter approval or denial in March. Here are my thoughts on that, which I shared with the City Council last night (on the video at 1:03:30):

The General Plan Update is dead on arrival.

This is the most important work of the council in this decade. Voting on this in March of next year will be the first real opportunity for the voters to comment on your job performance since the last election and frankly you suck [except for Councilman Littlefield].

The voters are tired of being presented with false dichotomies like “grow or die,” and having their input fall on deaf ears.

The voters know when you are cherry picking facts favorable to your engineered outcomes.

The voters know that you don’t do your homework, for example not knowing that the AMU-R land use designation was only PROPOSED for the CrackerJax site and the Airport Commission and the City Council rejected the proposal [I guess Suzanne Klapp forgot this].

But it is a good example of the fact that you can’t substitute staff recommendations and developer lobbying for common sense and knowing who you are elected to represent.

On a more general topic, you ought to know the EXISTING criteria that define a “major” general plan amendment. You just heard three Airpark-related non-major general plan amendments in which there was no analysis in the staff recommendation of why those cases were NOT major amendments.

The Shea Character Area Plan is another good example. It is resoundingly opposed by the residents of the area. That’s why it was withdrawn, NOT because the residents are “confused” about the plan but rather they know what staff will not acknowledge: This will add disastrous traffic congestion to an ALREADY congested area.

There may be some good changes in this plan. However, the bottom line is that the voters don’t trust you and they don’t trust staff. How can can they trust this radical modification of the owners manual for their city?

Tonight you heard from some of the smartest city planners we have. They are the city planners for whom you work, not the ones who work for you. You should listen.

More at

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  1. When you lose wisdom, culture and a sense of value and are reduced to simple democracy, you have no more that two wolves and one chicken voting on what to have for lunch.
    The city can only see dollar signs and believe that more apartments make a better bottom line.
    Here is something to think about. Get rid of the airport and you will see many high dollar (tax payers, land owners, and high-end retail customers) take their little airplanes and go somewhere else. They can afford to migrate, the low-end apartment dwellers can’t.
    I have seen this before and it is nothing more than a bunch of ignorant politicians trolling for votes.
    The airport is a vital asset to this community. We need to nourish and take care of it. You pull the weeds around your prize flowers, not plant more.

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