Scottsdale Needs More Housing?

From Thursday’s Republic (yes, I’m trying to get caught up) and again apparently not available on AZCentral, a “My Turn” column from “a longtime south Scottsdale resident, volunteer and activist,” cries out, “Scottsdale Needs More Housing.” 

The twin themes of the column are “workforce housing,” and “aging in-place.”

As cited in the column,

…“workforce housing” refers to a broad range of housing in or near em­ployment centers and is intended to appeal to essential workers, such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, office workers and doctors. Those people might include our own sons and daughters return­ing home to work in the place they grew up in.

Most young people go to neighboring communities to buy homes and rent condos or apartments because the market rate here in Scotts­dale is more expensive than in Mesa, Tempe and Chandler, for example.

…In order to accomplish sound fi­nancial revitalization while restoring the commercial “wants” we all miss, it will require more housing.

As I see it, the writer is advocating for reducing zoning standards for housing unit density in order to subsidize housing cost for folks who can’t otherwise afford to live in Scottsdale. Clearly she wants Scottsdale rental rates to be equal to places with lower development standards.

I wonder how this squares with the “market-based” approach advocated by Councilman Dennis Robbins in today’s Republic? That is a rhetorical question, because it clearly doesn’t; and I absolutely oppose eroding our property values in order to subsidize an influx of new residents.

As far as the tired “retail follows rooftops” philosophy, there are plenty of Scottsdale residents who travel to shop at Riverview and Tempe Marketplace to sustain retail near their homes. Bringing in more residents who will travel to the same shopping venues is not going to bring more retail to our neighborhoods. We must have better “Scottsdale” solutions than big-box stores like Target or Wal-Mart. How about neighborhood markets and local artisans?

As for “aging in-place,” there’s really nothing about that concept that supports the notion of subsidized rent. Aging in-place has more to do with interior design improvements, creating support networks, and improving infrastructure (public transit, etc.) to accommodate our aging population, rather than lowering community standards and rents.

If anything, residents (prospective and current, young and old, working class and professional) should see the value they receive in exchange for paying a little more rent or higher mortgage payment in a community where they can be safe; enjoy a high quality of life and high-quality city services; and have access to high-quality community amenities.

Cheap rent in our neighboring communities is “cheap” for a reason: There’s less desire (market demand) to live there!

You may also like


  1. I read her article and agree with you, John. No one ever said life is fair. Scottsdale costs more, period! To lower the cost of housing in Scottsdale would make no sense; it is what it is.

    There is a reason a Cadillac costs more than a Chevy: It’s better and Scottsdale is the Cadillac of the metro area. The writer needs to deal with it.

  2. We need to float bonds to create a fund to begin destroying houses. These houses could then be replaced with desert landscape. This would increase the scarcity premium for the remaining housing, restoring the price premium to Scottsdale real estate. It would also reduce the heat envelope in Scottsdale, reduce our carbon footprint and create jobs for bulldozer operators.
    Everybody wins!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *