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04/23/15

Good afternoon, COGS E-Newsletter Reader.  Thanks for taking your time to be an informed resident.  Roosevelt Lake will be a “search and rescue” training zone in June—might want to go to another lake. The Planning Commission and City Council both met this week and the summary is below.The City Council is directing staff to plan for a 2015 Bond Election to get those high-priority infrastructure projects before the voters in November.  The Jomax Road area homeowners get an A plus for their organized, clear and concise presentations during the hearing Wednesday evening. What is the Return-on-Investment report card for Arizona? 

Planning summer boating or camping at Roosevelt Lake?  A Temporary Military Operations Area will be activated over Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest in eastern Arizona for combat search and rescue training from June 1 through June 13.   For more information, please read the Roosevelt NOTAM.

Planning Commission decisions Wed 4/22:  Approved 7-0 Gas Station Text Amendment that changes the word “lot” to the word “parcel”. This will allow more than one lot to be used to meet the minimum land area requirement of 22,500 sq.ft.   Approved 7-0 Airport Zoning Repeal Text Amendment. This repeals Appendix A-Airport Zoning. Details in case 4-TA-2015. After many public comments on the Diamond Mountain Estates request to amend the zoning district at 11020 E. Jomax Road, the commissioners voted 7-0  to Continue the hearing with the encouragement for the owner to be responsive to the neighbors’ concerns and proposals.  Chairman Ed Grant completes six years/2 terms on the Planning Commission. Commissioner Edwards was elected to the Chairmanship and Commissioner Kush to Vice Chairman.  Erin Perrault of the Long Range Planning Department presented information on the General Plan 2035 draft background, public participation, process, Vision, and Community Values and Aspirations.  The COGS Readers can review the current GP draft at this link http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/generalplan/generalplan2035/SGP2035TFDrafts

More on the proposed Diamond Mountain Estates. This Jomax Road/110th Street location is incredibly beautiful, sloped vacant native desert land with large boulders. The neighbors understand that development will occur on it some day.  That day is “soon” but a second continuance by the Planning Commissioners sent the developer back to the conference table with the area homeowners. The land owner originally requested to change the current rural zoning from R1-190/ESL for the 50  plus gross acres to multiple zonings of smaller acreage. [30.4 acres to R1-35/ESL, 8.8 acres to R1-43/ESL and 10.4 acres to R1-70].   The owner’s presentation indicated 29 lots. The R1-190/ESL could be 11 lots according to testimony. The homeowners on the eastern side are 100% opposed and the majority on the northern side are opposed.

Twenty homeowners met with the owner’s representative on April 2nd and again on the 20th. The homeowners were willing to accept a 150 foot buffer between the proposed project and their bordering property. They would agree to 2 lots on the east  and 20 lots on the west plus additional lot size details.  The owner’s response on April 20th was (a ) no buffer (b )prefer 29 lots ( c ) would not delete Lot 6 (d ) could eliminate Lot 7 as unbuildable (e ) may change building envelopes. Commissioner statements narrowed on the seemingly unwillingness of the developer to negotiate with the homeowners.  Then the homeowners strongly requested denial of the project stating no further discussions with the owner/attorney would be fruitful.  Commissioner Kush is an experienced contractor/builder in this area and he took issue with the obvious need to grade and fill to create building pads and that means high walls. He asked if a retaining wall analysis had been completed.  The reply was a 9 ft. X 120 ft. in length wall was a potential to create a house site.  When asked if the owner would build or they would sell to others, there was not a direct answer. The commissioners voted 7-0 to continue the hearing to May 27th with the encouragement to “resolve with the neighbors”.

City Council Study Session—Bond Election. Tuesday 4/21 the City Council met in a work study session (no votes).  They reached a consensus on the following: (1) Direct staff to prepare for a November 2015 Bond Election (2) Focus on 21 priority projects that total $98,660,000.  Councilman David Smith stated that our city assets have depreciated $103 million and last year we invested only $18 million. Investments were in streets and other infrastructure projects that are aging. Councilman Guy Phillips gained support to include a statement in the Voter’s Information Booklet that “not all voter approved items may be funded”.  This was explained that all intentions would be to fund and construct but that unknowns in the fiscal future could result in unpredictable costs or other negative financial environment. Councilwoman Milhaven recommended these six ballot groupings: Police, Fire, Road Improvements (includes bike lanes, paving, transportation), Parks, Flood Control and Technology and Upgrades.

Council requests to be on the next Regular meeting agenda:  Councilman Phillips requested an FAA presentation on the increased airplane noise over the city. (COGS note: go to NextGen website https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/ as a resource). Councilman Smith requested for staff to present claiming options for the city’s 1.5 acres of land we are suppose to have on the SkySong site. This is the complex at the SE corner of Scottsdale Road and McDowell Road where the council recently approved a 90 ft.--108 ft. with rooftop appurtenances-- building. COGS supports that the city  is entitled to useful land.  Why not at the corner for a pedestrian-friendly pocket park?

City Treasurer’s Report: Police overtime was up 32% for the cost of approximately $800,000.  It had been estimated at $500 K so there was a 40% increase in actual cost. The police used 89,000 overtime hours. They request planning for 120,000 hours in 2015-16.  The Fire Department has a reduced staff (injury leave was mentioned) and they need to hire.

Transit Changes Council supported   Camelback Road free trolley to be added: A new-route Scottsdale Trolley would begin at Fashion Square and continue on Camelback Road eastward to Granite Reef Road then northward to Chaparral Road then eastward to Scottsdale Community College.  It would service the W & Best Western/SunDial Hotels, Camelback Shadows, Camelback Towers, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, Navajo Grade School, Scottsdale Estates, Caballo Ranchos, some of Chateau de Vie and other adjacent residential neighborhoods. Details are available at this link

  The Downtown Trolley route will change in October plus a briefer wait at trolley stops. The Day Tripper/formerly the Hospitality Trolley will be terminated up Scottsdale Road to hotel stops as expensive and poor ridership. It only ran during tourist season.

AZ report card: Phoenix Business Journal article on AZ taxpayer return-on-investment for dollars paid to the state in comparison to other states:

  • Infrastructure - 24th
  • Education - 39th
  • Health Service - 16th
  • Public Safety - 40th
  • Economy - 45th
  • Pollution - 30th

In earlier studies, Arizona ranked seventh among states as dependent on federal government spending and ranked 20th lowest in property taxes.

     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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