An article in the Scottsdale Republic this morning cites the imminent demolition of Scottsdale’s iconic Borgata upscale shopping center to make way for a high-density housing project.
Among the rationalizations the city will hide behind in approving this project:
A traffic impact study concluded that the residential complex would generate less traffic than the commercial shopping center, said Kim Chafin, a Scottsdale senior planner.
I don’t have issue with Ms. Chafin, but she has fallen for a classic false equivalence that has been used dozens of times just in recent memory to justify violating Scottsdale’s General Plan and the principles of good planning and zoning.
First of all, the traffic impact study (as is typical) assumes worst case for the “commercial shopping center” option. That is to say a highly successful shopping center built to maximum density, which is a bad idea all by itself and far from the low-density (and granted not successful enough) Borgata.
Secondly, the traffic impacts from the proposed housing project are always understated by a significant margin compared to reality.
Unfortunately, even my efforts to point this out are based on the assumption that city staff and the City Council might make zoning decisions based on common sense and best practices…which is itself not based on the reality of the last ten years.
This is not a project or land use that is being advanced based on what’s good for Scottsdale’s community character, quality of life, and/or property values (supply and demand dictates that property values decline with oversupply). These decisions are made based on developers’ (and zoning attorneys’) campaign contributions to Scottsdale mayor Jim Lane and the Chamber of Commerce caucus on the City Council.
And on the topic of supply and demand, the “luxury apartments” known as “Broadstone” are nearing completion just north of Lincoln across from the Lincoln Village Shopping Center, less than a 1/4 mile from the proposed project at the Borgata.
That is another project that never should have been approved for the same reasons. Now the two will compete against each other, driving rents (and property values) down even further.
Welcome to ApartmentDale.