From today’s Scottsdale Republic: Who on council will step up as advocate for south Scottsdale?
We have two years to see who on the Scottsdale City Council will be a real champion for mature neighborhoods in the Southern Scottsdale Character Area Plan — or everything south of Indian Bend Road to our border with Tempe and west to east from the Phoenix/Town of Paradise Valley borders to the Salt River Reservation.
Is every project that comes before our boards and commissions going to be sent to the City Council where they will be met with either unquestioned approval or unquestioned opposition? Will the threat of legal protest accompany every project to the council?
As a longtime advocate for neighborhood revitalization and the compatible growth and development of mature neighborhoods, I hope not.
That “hope” has been repeatedly dashed by the lack of interest shown by Mayor Jim Lane to fulfill his pre-2008 promises to residents of south Scottsdale to provide serious attention and direction to mature residential neighborhoods as they take on the burdens of increased growth and density. It was further undermined by the lack of mention — by any candidate for election this time around — of mature neighborhoods and redevelopment and the impacts of infill projects.
There has, however, been discussion of the many new apartment projects that have been approved and the wisdom of those projects. We hear we need more roofs to warrant the creation of shopping opportunities that we have lost, but why do we need them?
As a former vice chair of the merged Housing Board (with the Neighborhood Enhancement Commission to form the Neighborhood Advisory Commission), I want to remind all of us that between 2006 and 2009 Scottsdale lost more than 3,500 affordable, quality, safe apartment units to the trend of flipping apartments to condominiums. For the first two years of that period, that trend led to a loss of $9 million in sales tax on rentals.
During that time, speculators bought properties in south Scottsdale based on a rumor that the Housing Authority of Maricopa County was going to rebuild the Holiday Park area through a HUD grant. Those speculators were left holding properties when the grant application was denied by HUD. Some went bankrupt, and other properties remain neglected, boarded up or entrenched in legal problems. The glaring fact is that a huge section of multifamily housing in Scottsdale is troubled and of dubious quality and safety.
This part of the neighborhood and housing situation in Scottsdale has never been discussed by our elected officials, board and commission members or the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce in print or by word of mouth, and it is a big problem. The loss of workforce housing is never mentioned, while blight continues to be ignored.
Nancy Cantor has served on numerous city boards and commissions and is a longtime south Scottsdale resident, volunteer and activist.