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04/04/2021 Newsletter

Is Scottsdale losing its equestrian and large acre home options to new subdivision projects?

So many important issues and policies are on the new City Council's agenda. Very large numbers of citizen input will help them tremendously to achieve appropriate decisions this spring.
Be informed. Send your comments to

HOT ISSUES are multiple as we begin April. These are unfortunately REAL and not an April Fool's joke.

  • Character and design  
  • Land use  
  • Open space and the natural environment  
  • Business and economics  
  • Neighborhood vitality  
  • Transportation and growth  

  #1 Recently both the Scottsdale Progress and Daily Independent ran front page quotes from an AZ Land Commissioner, developer's organization and a former Scottsdale Planning Commissioner regarding creating a Desert Rural land category separate from Rural. COGS challenges their statements as misleading and inaccurate. Read our response in this issue.

#2 The City's online General Plan 2035 survey public participation has been pathetically low in any online session.
Of the 1300 plus large acreage property owners invited to a separate Virtual Open House only 30 responded (approx. 1.53%).

#3 COGS responded with their own General Plan survey sent to the general public using the COGS readership and neighborhood and other organization's databases... 195 participated 

#4 The Parking Code Update issue resulted in two city-hosted online live surveys and public comments. There is an incredible disconnect between the "plenty-of-parking" paid consultants' conclusions and what our tourists, locals and merchants/property owners have continued to experience for more than 20 years in the downtown area.

HOT ISSUE #1  FACTS: Desert Rural land category proposed by the 2011 General Plan Task Force and under consideration to include in the GP 2035 update

To: Managing Editor, Scottsdale Progress            30 March 2021                             

In the March 28 edition of the Progress, there was an article about the proposed change to Scottsdale’s General plan to split the “rural” category into 2 separate categories “rural” and “desert rural”. This article is very misleading as it implies this change would impact personal property rights and/or the current zoning of property and would result in lawsuits, because of state proposition 207 that does not allow a city to ‘devalue” a property. Unfortunately, this implication is grossly in error.

In this article, State Land commissioner Lisa Atkins was quoted as saying “I am concerned, though, that a future of great potential may be jeopardized by the proposed ‘desert rural’ land-use designation because of its negative effects on property rights and the beneficiaries we serve,”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Land cannot and will not be rezoned because of this General Plan change as she implies. It therefore has NO impact on any existing property rights or entitlements including State Land. No one is “entitled” to higher density than what their property is currently zoned for. To get higher density they have to request to up-zone their property.

The ONLY action this change would do is require a positive vote from 5 city council members rather than 4, to REZONE either of the lower density districts to either of the higher density districts. It would have NO impact on the current zoning, or any entitlements current property owners have. It only comes into play when someone wants to rezone property from one of the lower density districts to one of the higher density districts. That is all.
 The goal is to have a separate category for land already zoned for low density, either 1 home per 3 acres or 1 home/5acres, in an attempt to preserve larger properties. The concept is to make it a major change to the General Plan to rezone either R1-130 (1 home per 3 acres) or R1-190 (1 home on 5 acres) to either of the more dense districts, R1-70 (1 home on less than 2 acres) or R1-43 (1 home on one acre), in order to preserve larger lots for both equestrians and those who seek a more rural and private life style. To be very clear this change has NO impact on the current zoning of any property, it is just about General Plan land use categories and what a property owner must do if he wants to REZONE his property for higher density than he is currently entitled to.
It is also unfortunate that Commissioner Atkins does not seem to be cognizant of State Trust Land history in north Scottsdale. The city of Scottsdale already allowed the state to up-zone most of the remaining State Trust Land to higher General Plan density categories to increase the value of that land as part of a deal that reclassified the land the city eventually bought for the Preserve. Therefore, this change would have virtually NO impact on State Trust land. There are a few acres left that are zoned R1-130, but the vast majority of State Trust land in North Scottsdale is already zoned as R1-43 or R1-70, the higher density zoning districts covered by the “Rural” General Plan category. For that small amount of state land that is zoned R1-130 it would just mean that it would take 5 votes from the City Council to increase the density on that land rather than 4 votes.
So, this article is very misleading. Lack of knowledge is dangerous and in this case it leads to a gross misunderstanding of both what the change would do and what its impact is on property owners.

       s/  COGS--Coalition of Greater Scottsdale--Board of Directors
Note: The second COGS's response is to the Daily Independent and is available on our website at


HOT ISSUE #2 City's online surveys of the proposed General Plan 2035

City of Scottsdale's Aggregate (public and large-acreage owners) GP Summary on the city's website:

Do you support the creation of a new Desert Rural Land Use designation?  Yes – 88 (56%)  No – 68 (44%)

Do you support the land use amendment matrix associated with the creation of a new Desert Rural Land Use 
Category?  Yes – 83 (53%)  No – 73 (47%)”

"In aggregate, more attendees supported both the proposal for the creation of a new “Desert Rural” Neighborhoods General Plan land use designation as well as its inclusion within the General Plan land use amendment matrix showing a change from Desert Rural to all other land use categories, excluding Natural Open Space, as a major General Plan amendment process. Participants supportive of the proposal generally agreed that the increased scrutiny by City Council on future development projects on existing large-lot parcels was necessitated as it would: protect the natural desert; preserve large-lot and equestrian character; and, appeal to affluent residents and tourists. Participants opposed to this proposal generally agreed that it would: negatively affect property values; affect property owners who invested in this area of the city for retirement or legacy purposes; potentially be a Proposition 207 “taking”; and, stunt growth, housing needs, and needed infrastructure improvements in northern Scottsdale, while forcing future density on the central and southern areas of Scottsdale."

HOT ISSUE # 3  COGS General Plan Survey Results
Read the bar graph results on our website
There is a surprise public response related to Western Experience and Tourism.

HOT ISSUE #4 Updating the Parking Code

During the online public ZOOM last week, business property owners pleaded for the city not to waste time and money on yet another outside consultant when previous ones didn't bother to interview the property owners and merchants. The problems identified were (1) shortage of parking where needed (2) use of customer parking by employees (3) under-parking requirements for hotels, employees, condos/apartments and other new development (4) phantom parking called in-lieu with new development dollars paid to the city in exchange for not having to meet the parking requirements (5) failure to use collected in-lieu funds to build enough parking garages or surface parking where needed.

Examples that generate problems: A major downtown call center employer charges the employees to park in the building's garage, so employees are parking on public streets in-front of our downtown shops and businesses. Shoppers give up trying to park and move north to Kirland or other centers.

Additionally, the city currently has an In-lieu Parking Program where for approximately $13,500 per space you can "buy" phantom spaces until your parking requirement is reached. The city is suppose to use these funds to provide future public garages---or related programs. This program is not to be confused with construction of the Civic Center garage, Pepperwood/Buckboard Trail surface lot, or on Indian School west of Panera Bread.  Your original Historic Old Town merchants paid for those with a 10 year assessment. Years ago the city did build the 3rd Avenue and 2nd/Brown Corral garages.

The problem: Current standards fail to require sufficient parking for hotel, office, and call center employees. Apartments/condos are under-parked per bedrooms built which clogs nearby residential curbside parking--or area business spaces.

There is renewed support to update the Parking Code Ordinances before new development is council approved. The new Parking Code must increase the number of parking spaces per bedrooms built. New hotels, restaurants, offices and businesses must provide physical parking spaces on site or leased nearby sufficient for their employees, guests, and customers. The  phantom/in-lieu program must be deleted.

Land Cases that COGS is tracking with Neighborhood Groups

Scottsdale Tree City Award
Scottsdale Covid-19 update as of Friday 2 April
Code Enforcement Department Performance Audit
April Events to Enjoy with Family and Friends
Detailed list of Western Week Events April 10-18th
Restaurant Week Signup information
Dynamic library happenings
Senior Center Activities this month
Summer Park & Recreation Signup Monday, 26 April 8 am

Land Cases that COGS is tracking with Neighborhood Groups

Greenbelt 88   on the Southwest corner of Hayden and Osborn Road.3388 N Hayden Rd  Case 15-ZN-2020  The Development Review Board continued this re-zoning request until a date to be determined. It will not proceed to the Planning Commission until another DRB hearing and recommendation from them is sent to the Planning Commissioners to consider.

The Kimsey/formerly The Triangle located on Indian School Road west of Scottsdale Road on the northern side at 7170 E Indian School Road and northward to 3rd Avenue.Case 10-ZN-2020  has been updated.  City council continued the hearing from March 16th to April 6th--this Tuesday. See changes to the project here.

Another Award: Scottsdale Named Tree City USA for 2020

This marks the 39th year Scottsdale has been awarded this designation, more than any other community in Arizona. Tree City USA is a national recognition program that began in 1976 and is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters. Scottsdale will have a ceremony in mid to late April to observe Arbor Day and receive the award as part of a bigger Earth Day celebration. Learn more.

 Covid-19 update for our city as of 2 April 2021

The latest county data show a slight increase in the Scottsdale COVID-19 case count. The city has 57.35 cases per 100,000 people (or roughly 149 cases among the city’s 260,000 residents). The data, reported with a two-week lag, show that we are down 582.4 cases per 100,000 since the peak on Jan. 3. However, our case rate on Thursday remained higher than at any time during the 10-week period between July 26 and Sept. 27, 2020. So far, 45 percent of Scottsdale residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine; 31.5 percent have been fully vaccinated. Scottsdale continues to have the highest vaccination rates among all major

 Valley cities.


Are you one of those residents who has called Code Enforcement regarding barking dogs, illegally parked cars, short-term rental chaos, yard weeds, or excessive noise? The 2020 Code Enforcement Department official audit on job performance is available for your review.

April events to enjoy with family and friends

Western Week is riding into town April 10-18 In Historic Old Town Scottsdale
This year’s Western Week festivities were postponed from February to April with public health and safety in mind. While the Parada del Sol Parade has been cancelled for 2021, the 63rd Annual Hashknife Pony Express arrival will be held at Scottsdale Stadium to allow for proper social distancing. The Arizona Indian Festival and the Western Spirit Gold Palette ArtWalk will return, along with FREE themed events hosted by Historic Old Town businesses.  You might want to print this list below and post at home.

Saturday, April 10 through Sunday the 18th

  • 9 am to 7 pm daily Native Art Market Cultural Experience Week 7215 E Main St FREE
  • 10 am to 4 pm daily Old Town Scottsdale Rodeo Museum  3806 N Brown Avenue FREE


Saturday, April 10

  • 10 am to noon Scottsdale Art Auction Legacy Gallery 7176 E Main Street  More than 350 lots of finest art will be auctions.   FREE to watch
  • 3 pm to 4 pm Crafting Goddesses décor workshop. The Merchantile of Scottsdale 3965 N Brown Avenue  $39 per person with limited seating


Wednesday 14th through Sunday the 18th 10 am to 3 pm daily Western Light crafting workshop $9 to $20 per person  3830 N Marshall Way

Thursday, April 15th  6:30 pm to 9 pm  Gold Palette ArtWalk—Western Spirit in the Main Street and Marshall Way Arts District

Friday April 16th 10:30 am to 12:30 pm 63rd Annual Hashknife Pony Express gallops to Scottsdale Stadium bringing the mail bags from Holbrook, AZ to the Scottsdale Post Office officials

  • 8 pm   Mariachi Reyna de los Angeles performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 E 2nd St.  Prices $25 to $45. Order tickets online at
  • 10 am to midnight   Cowboy Music and Beer Garden in the Noriega Livery Stable 3806 N Brown Avenue…FREE with adult beverages for sale.     WEAR WESTERN

Saturday 17 April 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 18th
10 am to 4 pm FREE Arizona Indian Festival   Civic Center 3939 N Drinkwater (city hall area)

Sunday, April 18th
  noon to 2 pm Brush Bar Western Week Painting: Floral cattle skull  The Merchantile of Scottsdale 3965 N. Brown Avenue $40 per person with limited seating…includes thematic mocktail

Later Events

Register for Spring Arizona Restaurant Week May 21st through 30th
Spring is around the corner and the Arizona Restaurant Association is excited to announce its Spring Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) happening Friday, May 21 through Sunday, May 30. Registration is open to any Old Town restaurant.

Not just for kidsPinocchio, a live action play in the Scottsdale Performing Arts theater in Civic Center on Saturday, April 24, 8 p.m. tickets $8 and masks are required.  In this live-action adaptation of the beloved fairytale, woodcarver Gepetto fashions a wooden puppet, Pinocchio, who magically comes to life with new adventures.


In-Person Senior Center Discussion Groups in April

Join each week for an indoor Discussion Group at both Granite Reef and Via Linda senior centers. These groups will be staff run and will include questions, comments, and topics to keep everyone engaged. Social distancing measures will be in place and masks are required at all times. Registration is required and space is very limited. Please see details listed below:

Granite Reef Senior Center - 1700 N. Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. (1 hr.)  *Register the Friday prior at 10 a.m. online or over the phone at 480-312-1700.

Via Linda Senior Center - 10440 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Wednesdays at 2 p.m. (1 hr.)  *Register the Friday prior at 10 a.m. online or over the phone at 480-312-5810.

Senior Stretch from home

Join Tracey every Thursday for a weekly stretching routine. Follow along as she shows you how to stay limber and active while focusing on flexibility from head to toe. Stretches can be done standing or with the assistance of a chair. All videos can be found on the Senior Services Facebook page.

Summer 2021 Parks & Recreation Registration
begins online and by phone Monday, April 26th 8 am


Don't miss your chance to participate in Scottsdale Parks and Recreation's June, July and August recreation programs. Registration opens 8 a.m. Monday, April 26 for residents, and 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 27 for non-residents. Browse classes starting Monday, April 12 via our online registration system.
Weekday learn-to-swim classes start April 26 at Eldorado, Cactus and McDowell Mountain Ranch aquatic centers. More information can be found at and search 'Aquatics'
Club SAR Fitness Center is no longer requiring reservations - feel free to come work out anytim. Face coverings are required while inside the facility. For the latest updates, stay in touch with the Club SAR Facebook page, or visit their webpage.

Tennis Lesson: Scottsdale Ranch Park and Indian School Park will begin their final six-week spring tennis lessons session this week of April 12. The number of participants per class will be limited for safety. For more information, visit and search 'Tennis'.



WHO are we?  WHAT have we accomplished for our neighborhoods and city in our 14 years?  WHERE can you read previous newsletters?   HOW can you support and join?  Go to our website at  Dues for individuals and family are $35 per year.  We are a 501 c 4 nonprofit organization of all one is paid for the research, conferences and aid we provide to fellow Scottsdale residents, merchants and business owners. We are not only a reliable resource for you,  but an advocate for HOA Boards and other advocacy groups.  


 Marilynn Atkinson (Sherwood Heights), Jim Davis (Estancia), Susan Kauffman (Troon Villages), Sonnie Kirtley (Caballo Ranchos), Stan Morganstern (Rural 85266 zip), Howard Myers (Carriage Trails), Copper Phillips (Rural 85266 zip), Chris Schaffner (Los Sombros)
Read bios on our website under
Who We Are and info on other Board Members




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