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08/31/2021 Newsletter

COGS strongly supports the November vote
FOR the General Plan 2035

URGENT TIMING ON THIS: Replacing the 2016 Transportation Master Plan.

Input on how the city can improve traffic flow, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and transit options over the next 10 years and other questions are being evaluated as Scottsdale drafts its 2021 Transportation Action Plan. In efforts to guide the city’s transportation priorities, investments, and programs over the next decade, the city is seeking feedback from Scottsdale residents, business   and people who work in the city.
An online questionnaire will be available until Friday, Sept. 3 at city link will provide an overview of Scottsdale’s current transportation infrastructure and direction for Scottsdale’s transportation future for at least the next 10 years . Feedback will be used to shape the goals, policies, and performance measures for each of Scottsdale’s transportation elements including street, transit, trail, bikeways and pedestrian and a prioritized implementation program.
Once completed and approved by the City Council, this will replace the most recent Transportation Master Plan, approved in 2016. Participating in this online feedback will allow people to opt-in to similar opportunities from the city of Scottsdale in the future via Polco, the city’s online feedback portal. Upon completing the questionnaire, provide an email and zip code.  Responses remain confidential.


128th Road through the Preserve—Temporary or Permanent?
COGS readers who follow McDowell Sonoran Preserve news will recall when 128th Street inside the boundaries was designated as a temporary road access for construction purposes UNTIL the 118th Street is completed--A water line installation for fire hydrants in the Preserve will delay the completion of 118th Street. Councilwomen Whitehead and Janik went into action when they learned that some of the city staff were promoting to keep 128th Street permanently open in violation of our Preserve. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission will have this item on their September 2nd agenda. They will (no doubt) send a letter to the Transportation Commission chairman to update on the significance of this wildlife corridor and will advocate that the Transportation Commissioners recommend an Emergency Designation only for 128th Street in the proposed 2021 Transportation Master Plan update.
District at 9400 Shea Blvd   Case 6 GP 2019 and 16 ZN 2019
City Council received multiple e mails from Scottsdale Ranch and other area homeowners complaining that their HOA Board “approval” of this project is not an accurate reflection of their opinions. The homeowners cited failure of the HOA Board to poll about the requested 219-unit apartment complex. City Council voted 7-0 to continue the hearing to a date in October due to lack of public support and they requested that the developer’s team involve more public outreach. The proposed project is a request to rezone from the current C-O PCD commercial zoning to mixed use PUD PCD on 11 acres.
Vocal opposition for event street closures in Historic Old Town or Arts District or 5th Avenue
Whenever the city council or commissioners get lonesome for e mails and phone calls from business owners in our Downtown, all they have to do is talk about “closing streets for vendor events”.  Our brick and mortar Art District merchants recall all to well the negative impact on their revenue when Marshall Bridge was cheaply rented by the city to art competition and other times when Main Street had non-resident vendors assigned on the street in-front of local stores predictably blocking their own customers. And of course, the fast-car races and road barriers that were erected days ahead of time and removed days after. There is support for events using our renovated Civic Center and events planned with our business owners and merchants. They write “Don’t hire a consultant to tell our experienced locals what will generate business. Listen to those of us who have invested many years in the Scottsdale” –
Contentious City Council Discussion on policies for Old Town held 24 August 2021
City Council members are not in agreement that Old Town (now defined as Chaparral Rd south to Osborn and 64th St east to Miller Road) needs council action now for a fresh look at policies and development guidelines.
2 to 5 motion failed   Councilmember Milhaven made a motion to place the initiation of amendments to the Old Town Scottsdale policies and regulations on hold until after the November 2, 2021 General Plan Election. Councilwoman Caputi seconded the motion with Council members Caputi and Milhaven voting support and Mayor Ortega; Vice Mayor Janik; and Councilmembers Durham, Littlefield, and Whitehead dissenting.
5 to 2 motion passed  Mayor Ortega made a motion to: • Initiate a non-major General Plan amendment to update the 2018 Old Town Character Area Plan; and • Initiate a text amendment to update the Zoning Ordinance Downtown (D), Downtown Overlay (DO), and Planned Block Development (PBD) districts and other affected sections, as applicable; and • Initiate an amendment to the Downtown Infill Incentive District; and • Direct staff to update the Old Town Scottsdale Urban Design & Architectural Guidelines as necessary. Councilwoman Whitehead seconded the motion with Mayor Ortega; Vice Mayor Janik; and Councilmembers Durham, Littlefield, and Whitehead voting in the affirmative and Councilmembers Caputi and Milhaven dissenting.  Please read deeper into this COGS Newsletter for the detailed list of directives to staff.


The majority of recent emails to COGS are about a short-term rental problem or a question about a proposed apartment complex or one under construction.
One of our COGS members has completed incredible research on Scottsdale “multifamily” units built, under construction, approved but not yet built and pending approval since 2015. The totals DO NOT INCLUDE complexes of 30 apartments/condo or less. Therefore, true totals are considerably higher.

  • 5,172 units completed
  • 2,648 units under construction now
  • 4,109 units approved but not yet built
  • 2,213 units pending approval—city council approves or denies

Our General Plan 2001 encourages a variety of living styles from large acreage (an option that is disappearing rapidly) to single-family homes to patio homes/condos/apartments. What is the appropriate balance throughout the city? Are new projects impacting the unique Character Area Plans the community wrote in the 1980s and 1990s? Is our city’s growth being managed to maintain what makes our neighborhoods and commercial areas special?
Information for your consideration:

  • Rent for 2-bedroom apartment/condominium units range from $1,370-$2,300 in Scottsdale.
  • Does our city have sufficient (federally defined) Affordable Housing?
  • Short term rentals decrease the supply of available long-term rentals and homes for sale.
  • New stipulations on proposed apartments and condominiums could include no short-term rentals will be in the owner’s financial plan. State law does not allow the city to dictate—this is only a written developer’s deed restriction that travels with the property.
  • Short term rentals reduce the city’s census number that is tied to state revenue sharing.



Denied 7-0 The Development Review Board denied an HOA request to cut down 670 trees in one of its subdivisions. The trees were part of the development stipulations approved 20 years prior and thus the HOA needed City approval. The impacted residents passionately opposed the loss of so many trees. DRB Chairperson and City Councilwoman Littlefield advised the HOA to listen to residents and come up with a better plan.
City Council decisions:
Approved 7-0 Christian Brothers Auto conditional use permit 8700 E Thomas
Approved 7-0 Pac 12 Venue Agreement In years 2022-23-24 Pac 12 Baseball Tournaments will be            held in Scottsdale. $75,000/year support comes from the Tourism Budget.
Denied 7-0 Old Town Liquor License 4439 N. Saddlebag Trail. Council cited failure to comply with Az Department of Liquor License regulations 1,6,8,9,11 and 12. Denial letter is sent to the state for their final ruling.
Approved 7-0 Old Town Bicycle Master Plan  includes details on new street lanes and rider protections upgrades.­­­ Presented by Mark Melnychenko, Transportation and Streets Director ­­­­
Continued 7-0
District at 9400 Shea Blvd requested 219- unit apartment complex was continued until October due to lack of public support and a request by the city council for more public outreach.
Approved 6-1 (no vote Milhaven)–to direct the City Manager, City Attorney, and other relevant staff to speak with their counterparts to construct a framework to address solutions related to homelessness in the East Valley, which would come back to Council for review, and to provide updates as appropriate
5 to 2 (no vote Caputi and Milhaven) approved the following directives to the city staff to prepare drafts regarding the Old Town policies and develop guidelines
• Focus on areas of transportation, infrastructure, sustainability, and identity of Scottsdale, which includes tourism.
• Focus on open space by including a canal-level park on the only remaining public parcel located on the Arizona Canal at Fifth Avenue and Goldwater Boulevard while retaining public parking.
 • Include references to pedestrian connectivity, the tree canopy plan, and the Emerald Necklace.
 • Add a section related to alleys that make better use of open space.
• Eliminate the word “metropolitan” from documents.
• Eliminate emphasis on “vertical” development.
 • Include provisions for developers to put public art and rock coverage on empty lots prior to construction to eliminate large open dirt lots.
 • Council should review existing rules and follow those rules.
• Integrate bikeways into plan.
• Emphasize ways to invigorate and encourage more public participation in Old Town, such as street fairs and similar events.
• Look at event ordinance and see if it can be utilized to invigorate Old Town.
• Ensure community input is received on possible revisions to the plan.
• Verify the question of appropriateness of Type 1 going to Type 3, and the necessity of Type 2.5.
 • Test the applicability of Planned Block Development (PBD) Overlay District requirement of mixed use to have at least 20% retail/commercial.
 • Increase Type 1 classification from 36 feet to 40 feet; Type 2 classification to be accomplished at 52 feet; and Type 3 classification to be 60 feet with a bonus of 12 feet.
COGS suggestion to our Readers:  If you have other topics/suggestions that you want your city council to consider, please send it to


Greenbelt 88 Multi-Use Rezone Project. 3308-3370 and 3388 N. Hayden Road. Case 15-ZN-2020.  The location is the SW corner of Osborn and Hayden Road (Office Max, Mail Stop, Big 5, Uncle Sal’s) . Not included are the separately owned Starbucks, Carl’s Jr. and the bank
Action: DRB approved by 4-0 (recused Commissioner Barnes, absent Commissioner Fakih) and sent recommendation to the Planning Commission and City Council which included 54 ft total height, 288 apartment units and approximately 21,000 square feet of commercial floor area
Action: Planning Commissioners voted 4 to 3 on August 25th to recommend the project for approval to the city council. No votes were Commissioners Gonzales, Graham, and Serena.
City Council hearing is to be scheduled. An active neighborhood team presented over 630 signatures opposing the now 278-apartment unit project. Their contact is Contact the developer’s team with your questions at  The owner-developer’s website with is

District at 9400 (see reports in other parts of this newsletter)

Scottsdale & Mountain View 9880 N Scottsdale Road 3 story building modifications R-5 zoning from hotel to R-5 multi-family residential  Case 21-DR-2021 

STUDENT CIVIC CONTEST due September 17th

Mayor Ortega invited Scottsdale students to participate in the City’s “We the People Constitution Day” contest. This contest promotes civic engagement, community reflection, and understanding of the principles that guide our participation in this representative form of government. Entries are due September 17th, which commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution in 1787. Get details at the city website  for instructions on how to participate. There will be a celebration in October and entries will include a variety of art projects and essays submitted by children of all ages.


Are you an SRP electric customer? They have a terrific program called SRP Electric Home Energy Audit.  From your home phone you share appliance information with the ICF contracted company representative.The Home Energy Assessment takes less than 15 minutes if you have inventoried all the applicance age information they requested ahead of the phone call.  You do need to make the appointment.
Immediately you receive the report on your computer for review and printing with recommendations to make your home more energy efficient.  The BONUS is that you will receive up to 30 free LED light bulbs, faucet aerators, night lights, efficient flow shower heads and if needed--weather stripping.  If you are interested go to this link: or call (602) 236-3065.
If you have any questions, please visit



 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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