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10/07/15

Good morning COGS E News Reader.  Did you watch the City Channel 11 last night? (Direct TV does not deliver it) The Kiva was packed with Art District supporters wearing “Save the Fine Arts District” body stickers and the Artisan Market supporters  wearing grim faces.  Your council members were steeled for Agenda Item #15  and their response to the Scottsdale Gallery Association’s petition requesting action on the Artisan Market permit to sell retail on the public property/Marshall Bridge over the Arizona Canal.
 
Vice Mayor David Smith began the dialogue calling for rescinding the permit on the following grounds:  (1) the Special Events Ordinance specifically permits revoking based on proposed “threat to welfare”. The economic welfare threat has been demonstrated by the plus 200 area business owner/tenant signatures on opposition petitions submitted in 2012, 2014 and four in 2015. He asked WHY had the city staff ignored their pleas and continued to approve the permit?  (2) In 2013 a new ordinance allowing private use on a public right-of-way referred back to the existing Special Events Ordinance which created a conflict as that allowed the committee to approval only on private property events.  He characterized this additional text as an attempt to legally allow private business on public property.
 
He described temporary tent sales as a contortion of the definition of  “special events.” “We have a $9 million bridge paid for by the public”..and the Downtown trolley can’t cross over because of the tents. Councilwomen Klapp and Littlefield echoed support for the Public Comment speakers who described lost customer parking spaces to all- day vendor and bridge customer parking , cheap overhead  expenses for the tent sales management VS their expensive brick-and-mortar 12 month rents, property taxes, maintenance, employee wages and importantly the prime season 6 month duration of this “special event”.  Another speaker lamented that the tents were promoting themselves on the traditional Thursday night ArtWalk as “ArtBridge” and confusing the hotel concierge as to the location of the 42 year-old Fine Arts ArtWalk on Main Street and Marshall Way.
 
The supporters of Artisan Market stated that they have a different product than the Fine Art galleries and different customers. One speaker recommended that the tent retail management and the art galleries work together to an agreeable updated ordinance text.  Note: The Artisan Market has followed all current city procedures in completing the applications, interviewing with the city staff committee, paying the $159 user fee for the 6 months per the fee schedule, and occupying the Marshall Bridge, AZ canal banks and SouthBridge areas on Thursdays and Sundays.  The city staff position is that they are authorized to rent out public property for private retail business.
 
When City Attorney, Bruce Washburn, opined that the city council “has no authorization to rescind a permit”...that only city staff does, Councilman Guy Phillips asked in amazement, “Do you mean that city staff has more authority than city council?”  Using his interpretation of the Ordinances, the city attorney said “Yes”.   The council then directed the interim city manager to review the existing Artisan Market permit for violations and to report back to council as soon as possible.  In the meantime, they are approved through December 2015. Their 2016 permit request is reported as "on hold."
 
COGS recommends the following:  (1) Define “special events” and include frequency and duration and specifically exclude retail focused activities as applicants (2) re-open the Marshall Bridge to the tourists’ Downtown trolley experience and free pedestrian strolling as designed (3) reserve Thursday evenings for the traditional Arts District’s ArtWalk  (4) update the fee schedule to avoid the illegal “city gift” (5) charge for electricity and maintenance when city property is used ( 6 ) include representatives from all downtown districts in the final drafting of the 2016 Special Events Ordinance.  The Entertainment District, Old Town District, Arts District, and 5th Avenue-Stetson District all have experienced problems with “special events” and deserve direct negotiations with city staff in the final draft that will be presented at Public Open Houses. 

TONIGHT:  5 pm to 6 pm at the W Hotel Public Open House on the proposed hotel plus project located near Camelback/Scottsdale Road/AZ Canal area where the SRP substation is located. You may recall this was called Solis when approved several years ago.  Scottsdale Terrace and Villa Monterey homeowners should attend.  5 pm Planning Commission remote hearing on The Outpost project 1 GP-2015 The request is for a Major General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation from Rural Neighborhoods to Commercial on approximately 10 acres at the NW corner of Pima Road and Dynamite Road. Staff contact person is Taylor Reynolds 480 312 7924.  Applicant contact person is 602 909 3975.  THERE WILL BE NO ACTION/VOTE. Public input and discussion only..

 

 

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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