Paradise Valley Election

Paradise Valley Map

Did you know most of Scottsdale is in Paradise Valley? That’s the name of the geographic area extending northward from Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak to Carefree and Cave Creek, and east to the McDowell Mountains. I didn’t know that until recently, but I guess that explains why so many places with “Paradise Valley” in their names aren’t necessarily in the Town of Paradise Valley!

Our smaller, affluent neighbor to the west incorporated as a “town” in 1961, largely to preserve the rural feel of the area against annexation from surrounding cities. The residents did this by mandating 1-acre minimum lot sizes and by conscious efforts to “keep government regulation to a minimum” [from the official Town history].

Today the Town of Paradise Valley comprises about 15 square miles of the aforementioned larger geographical feature and has about 15,000 residents, compared to Scottsdale’s 184 square miles and 200,000+ population. PV’s density is about 940 residents/square mile vs. Scottsdale’s 1300 residents/square mile. Obviously, Scottsdale is much less homogeneous, with greater density in the south, and much less in the north.

PV is still on a spring election cycle. Their Town Council primary election is March 13 and the general election is May 15. Please see the Town’s election information web page for more details, and the election edition of the PV Town Reporter for candidate and proposition information.

Because Scottsdale and Paradise Valley are neighbors and there are a few issues that span the boundary between, I have asked four questions of all the PV candidates. Obviously, I have editorialized extensively on Scottsdale politics. However, because I have not previously been involved in PV-specific issues I have published the PV information with no further opinions expressed, simply to provide information to readers that they may not otherwise have.

Maria Syms, PV Mayoral Candidate

Unfortunately, only mayoral candidate Maria Syms responded to my inquiry. None of the others even acknowledged my request (which may be their answer to Question 3, below), but if they eventually do reply I will post their responses [UPDATE, SEE BELOW]. Until then, I’ve posted the questions and Ms. Syms’ answers below. Thank you Ms. Syms, and good luck.

1.    What are your thoughts and concerns about development projects adjacent to or spanning the border between Paradise Valley and Scottsdale?

The predominate project that spans the border is the Five Star Development land which would be a Ritz Carlton on the PV side and the Palmeraie project on the Scottsdale side. Clearly, we are missing an opportunity to work with the developer to coordinate these projects for the best traffic flow, heights, density and land use for both municipalities.

Bisecting the 110 acres of Ritz land from the 20 acres in Scottsdale land treating each as a separate entity is not in the best interest of P.V. or in designing the best coordinated project. I regret that our current leadership has refused to work with Five Star to come up with a solution. We would benefit from the revenue as well as the dialogue.

2.   What is your opinion of the situation with Arizona American Water Company?

Now that Arizona American Water Company has fully merged with EPCOR, it will be interesting to see how corporate changes are made.

As you know, since Well PCX1 has been taken off line, water is currently pumped, cleaned, and put in the canal to be diluted and used downstream.  The deal with Motorola to take PCX1 to Scottsdale is up in the air.   The “Treat & Transport,” deal with Scottsdale is non-existent (this would have been expensive for PV).  Since Scottsdale allowed the Company to bring Well 12 fully back online, they are predicting no shortages this summer.

3.   How important to PV Town Council campaigns are contributions and support from Scottsdale residents?

Donations from Scottsdale residents may occur, like all political campaigns, many people have a vested interest in a fair, competitive environment in which to do business.  Many are also interested in strong leaders with a vision to make their neighboring town a better place.

4.   What other issues are of mutual concern to, or may potentially cause conflict between our two communities?

With crime on the rise in Paradise Valley and cuts to the police force, the most important issue to me is public safety.  This is the number one role of government and our current Mayor’s policies have steered us away from having a robust police force with the technology needed to increase prevention and deterrence.  During his time on the Council, our police force has been reduced from 35 sworn officers to 25 sworn officers.

We also lag behind Scottsdale in needed technological equipment to make our officers more efficient.  I have a plan to change that with a Public Safety task force aimed at giving our police officers the manpower and technology they need to keep us safe.  We have the best police officers in the country and we need to give them the support they need to give us peace of mind.

Our Town Hall also has to be better at communicating about crime with our residents so that they can be vigilant.  It is impossible to make public safety policy decisions without an open and transparent dialogue.  In this way, we will be able to also cooperate with Scottsdale in the deterrence and prevention of crime.

 UPDATE: Scott LeMarr’s campaign just sent his response this afternoon, posted here:

1. What are your thoughts and concerns about development projects adjacent to or spanning the border between Paradise Valley and Scottsdale?

Development projects on the border between Scottsdale and Paradise Valley will have a significant effect both communities. We are involved in a Joint Use Study process with City of Scottsdale staff, a councilmember, and a Planning Commissioner and counterparts in Paradise Valley. The effort will focus on traffic, density and the overall impact on the community. Specifically, Five Star Development is seeking some significant increases in their density for their Ritz Carlton project. While we know that the changes in the real estate market may make it appropriate to re-examine the plan that was approved in 2008, we must make sure that any development done on the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley border is appropriate for both communities.

2. What is your opinion of the situation with Arizona American Water Company?

The acquisition of Arizona American Water by EPCOR is a positive event and should bring better local accountability and consumer service for local residents.

3. How important to PV Town Council campaigns are contributions and support from Scottsdale residents?

Clearly, Paradise Valley residents and Scottsdale residents are linked by an overall concern for the quality of life in the Northwest Valley, so there will certainly be Scottsdale residents who are interested in Paradise Valley campaigns. We welcome their support and friendship as long as their goals are to promote better government in our communities.

4. What other issues are of mutual concern to, or may potentially cause conflict between, our two communities?

Our communities are working together on several joint issues, including drainage at Indian Bend and Scottsdale Road and undergrounding of a Paradise Valley utility district that abuts Scottsdale. Our Police Department also works closely with the Scottsdale Police Department on cases that involve both communities. Generally speaking, the working relationship between Paradise Valley and Scottsdale is excellent, and we appreciate their support in issues that affect both our communities.

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