#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 www.cogsaz.net.
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 www.cogsaz.net
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.
IN THIS ISSUE
Scottsdale Tree City Award
Land Cases that COGS is tracking with Neighborhood Groups
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