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06/27/14

Subject: Friday 27 June Two successful COGS-hosted city council candidate forums......What is a CUP?......City Council's next agendas--anything close to you happening?

Good morning, COGS E-Newsletter Reader: Wednesday and Thursday nights of this week COGS hosted public meetings at the two senior centers so you could meet the 8 candidates running for the three vacant city council seats. The Primary Election on August 26th and early ballot submissions approach quickly. Special thanks to the Scottsdale residents who filled the rooms both nights and asked REALLY important questions. Our residents are always so impressive---informed, intelligent thinkers, and correctly demanding of their city officials If you couldn't attend, below are some of the commonly asked audience questions and the candidate responses. Also, by Sunday evening, we will have the entire Wednesday, 25 June, Candidates' Forum video available on our website here It is in four 30 minute segments. Thank you for reading further.

SUMMARY of the City Council Candidate Responses: "What in your opinion is the greatest problem in Scottsdale and how would you fix it?" Candidate responses: (1) Entertainment District/bar activities that degrade our city reputation and scare tourists away (2) Changes in the city appearance to taller and denser building structures that remove our unique draw for tourists and diminish the residents' quality of life-loss of views, traffic congestion, pollution increases. We are looking like Anytown USA. (3) No trust in the majority of the current city council members to act in the best interest of the residents and the city. i.e. Promotion and acceptance of development projects just to gain brief construction revenue. The $212 million Bond request for projects that should have been long-range planned and in the general budget. (3) Failure to fund infrastructure maintenance and improvement for many years. i.e. collapsing Civic Center parking garage, sewer upgrades, street maintenance (4) Poor council long range planning to match the residents' vision. i.e. Projects are approved that are not compatible and require Major General Plan Amendments and multiple rezoning that negatively impact neighborhoods.

"Why did the WestWorld project go $10 million over contract and resulted in a $50 million Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center?" Candidate responses: (1) Staff lied to the council about the costs. (2) A contract was awarded without a Request for Proposals (bid). Councilman Robbins stated that two bids came in and they were "terrible" and rejected. They then awarded to another group without further bid requests. (3) The Jackson multimillion dollar auto auction does not pay sales tax during their events and we financed and added another building to the TNEC just for his auction needs. (4) There is no business plan for the complex and it costs $6,000 per day just to cool the buildings. (5) The TNEC is a done deal. We need to move on.

"Would you allow Conditional Use Permits (CUP) to be included on the city council Consent Agenda or would you prefer they are on the Regular Agenda [where each is discussed on its merit] ?" COGS Note: The city council agenda begins with a long string of agenda items such as contracts to award, developer projects that have been previously vetted and some stipulations or other housekeeping matters have returned for council consideration, liquor license renewals, and CUPs. No public discussion is allowed. All items are treated with one council vote-Approval, disapproval or continuance. An item may be pulled at the request of a city council member and moved to that night's Regular Agenda where the staff/developer may do a presentation and the public is allowed to speak for 3 minutes per person. If a resident wants to comment, they may be given that privilege but the item remains on the Consent Agenda and the single vote is taken. Conditional Use Permit or CPU is defined as-Zoning exception which allows the property owner USE of his land in a way not otherwise permitted within that particular zoning district. Candidate Responses: (1) This is more efficient and keeps the council meetings shorter. It is not meant to hide anything. (2) Recently a Bottle Blond CUP request that had included extended liquor sales hours was pulled by Councilman Phillips. This is one of the businesses that were told by city staff and the police department that they could not hold a planned event without special permits. They held it anyway and the fines were negotiated with the city attorney to be valued at what some describe as "less than 15 minutes of liquor sales." Violations of a CUP can potentially close a business-this council does not enforce any of the CUP requirements. City staff stated they made an error in writing that agenda item. Council continued a decision to a later session. (3) The council has failed to enforce the Public Safety Ordinance recently passed to insure patron safety in the bars.

"In terms of Economic Development, what do you see as a vision for our city? Candidate responses: (1) There is a conflict between history-heritage-protect-what-we-have-now and young people-renters-more apartments-more bars. (2) The new generation doesn't want to own a home. We need to build apartments and they will generate the need for more businesses and retail brings revenue to our city for the amenities you like. (3) I am pro-business and whatever I can do and have done to promote more businesses I am proud of. (4) Balance growth and meet the needs of seniors and young people and we need to support small businesses. (5) I am opposed to smoke and pornography shops and marijuana sales but they are legal businesses and city council cannot control what is sold if the area is zoned for it. ( 6 ) City council members need to listen to the residents' vision and not act on their own vision. (7) The city now has a 5 year economic plan that will guide us. ( 8 ) Change will happen. You have to prepare for it. New people and businesses will come into the city and it will change.

"Why did the voters reject the last General Plan and what needs to be in the next one so voters will approve it?" (1) It was too long at 200 plus pages. (2) We need to make it more general and shorter so it will be read and understood. (3) We could use the 2001 version that we are currently operating under and add the new state-mandated chapters. (4) The next General Plan has to be what the residents want for their future city. (5) A recent paid consultant's report included the statement that the developer and residents should have equal value when council weighs decisions. This candidate rejects that totally! ( 6 ) The problem is that the current council and city staff do not follow the General Plan guidelines now. They make exceptions to get projects through.

" How would you decide if a proposed project has considerable neighborhood opposition?" (1) I would weigh the benefits for the city, long-range planning and the level of neighborhood impact. (2) If the project is requesting rezoning and the neighborhood majority is opposed then I would side with the residents. (3) Some projects are for future residents and we need to encourage that for economic growth. (4 ) Yelp in the Galleria and SkySong on McDowell have added customers to area businesses. (5) Developers need to work with the neighbors as they did in Phoenix at 17th Street and Camelback Road. An entire floor was removed from the project at the request of the neighbors.

CITY COUNCIL MEETS BOTH TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY OF NEXT WEEK: (you can watch on Channel 11 beginning at 5 pm) ..Tuesday Consent Agenda has three liquor license renewal requests (RSVP/AKA Mix 4301 N 75th St, Metropolis 7137 E. Rancho Vista Drive, Sushi J 4320 N Miller Road), two Conditional Use Permits (RSVP/Mixx, 4301 N Civic Center Plaza and Boondocks 4341 B 75th Street), three rezoning (Hayden-Northsight 15600 N Hayden Rd, First Avenue Townhouses 6901 E. 1st Avenue, Via de Ventura Apartments 8375 E via de Ventura). Other items are contract awards for booster pump stations, sewer rehabilitation, Silverado Golf Course drainage improvements, and Chaparral water treatment plant services. Funding approvals in the amount of $75,000 to World Food Championships Event and $20,000 Event Venue Fee Program for individual event agreements with the mayor are included in the no-discussion-one-vote Consent Agenda. Regular Agenda has just one item-Camelback Road Traffic Control report on the street between Miller Road and west to Scottsdale Road. This is a non-action item. They are studying the need for a traffic light out the north side of the Entertainment District at 73rd Street. Executive Sessions are closed to the public and the agenda items are the evaluations of Mr. Fritz Behring, city manager and Mr. Bruce Washburn, city attorney. You may send your comments to the city council by e mail at citycouncil@scottsdaleaz.gov

Wednesday Consent Agenda Hot Topic: http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Asset54187.aspx We encourage you to open and read through this city council item We will devote a COGS E-Newsletter to this tragic pedi-cab accident that has left a young man's life changed forever. Is our legal department acting appropriately?

For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) Board of Directors, Sonnie Kirtley Chair e-mail: sonniek@cogsaz.net

Yes, we are all volunteers. No one is paid to provide support for your neighborhood or small business issues.. We will research, connect you to the correct department and staff member, speak with/for you at commission hearings and city council meetings. The COGS E-Newsletter is free and you don't have to be a member-dues are $10/year to help defray printing and website costs as well as the public buildings we rent for events such as the City Council Candidate Forums.

     For the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) Board of Directors, 

     Sonnie Kirtley, Chair e-mail sonniek@cogsaz.net 

     Coalition of Greater Scottsdale

     7904 E. Chaparral Rd., Suite 110, PMB 127

     Scottsdale, AZ 85250

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