Scottsdale City Council OKs 3 major General Plan amendments

Scottsdale City Council Monday, Dec. 1 approved three major amendments to the municipality’s General Plan.

Each proposed development project needing the policy document revision is located in what many consider north Scottsdale and each will be converting commercial property designations into suburban neighborhood areas.

Greasewood Flat pictured here is destined to become Cavelliere Flats, a housing subdivision. (Submitted photo)

Greasewood Flat pictured here is destined to become Cavalliere Flat, a housing subdivision. (Submitted photo)

The Scottsdale General Plan, which is divided into seven chapters with 22 different land-use elements, is a statement of goals and policies that work as the primary tool for guiding the future development and character of the city over the next 10 to 20 years, city officials say.

State law requires municipalities to update their General Plan every 10 years.

Arizona requires one city council hearing to be designated each calendar year to consider all major General Plan Amendment applications.

The calendar year 2014 hearing was held at Scottsdale City Hall Dec. 1 with the local governing board approved the following:

  • Pinnacle Peak Patio (2-GP-2014): Request to change the land-use designation from commercial to suburban neighborhoods on roughly 11 acres north of the Jomax Road and Pinnacle Peak Parkway intersection.
  • El Regalo (3-GP-2014): Request to change the land-use designation from commercial to suburban neighborhoods on roughly six acres north of the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Westland Drive.
  • Cavalliere Flat (4-GP-2014): Request to change the land-use designation from commercial and rural neighborhoods to rural neighborhoods and suburban neighborhoods on roughly 46 acres on the southeast corner of Alma School Parkway and Pinnacle Vista Drive.

Each amendment was approved with no less than five votes. Concerns, however, were expressed at the end of the meeting by a member of the audience and several members of the council.

“What is the economic value of development?” asked Scottsdale resident Jim Davis following the hours-long General Plan amendment deliberations.

“Residential development doesn’t carry its weight, yet that’s what is being improved in northeast Scottsdale.”

Mr. Davis’ comments came moments before the approval of a Taylor Morrison Homes proposal, which seeks to take the 48.8-acre property where Greasewood Flat still stands to make way for a master-planned housing subdivision.

The new housing subdivision will be called “Cavalliere Flats,” named after the family that owns Greasewood Flat, a long-time popular north Scottsdale tourist attraction.

“It is certainly the responsibility of the council to determine if these development projects are economically viable,” Mr. Davis told council. “We certainly have enough housing in northeast Scottsdale. One has to wonder if we are going to fill them all.”

Scottsdale Councilman Bob Littlefield echoed some of those sentiments.

“How do we benefit from getting more rooftops,” he said following Mr. Davis’ comments at the meeting. “The answer is they don’t. It doesn’t pay. We are putting 10 pounds into a five-pound sack.”

Jim Lane

Jim Lane

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane says it’s wrong to turn down new housing development simply because you don’t think it will pay for itself.

“Using that logic, the most efficient municipality would be the one that nobody lives in,” he said of the residential value question. “It truly is a concocted approach to this. What are we in business to do? Have an empty city?”

Councilman Littlefield says he just wants to follow the established guidelines set forth by the 2001 General Plan, the plan that is still on the books at City Hall.

“Maybe we shouldn’t believe any study that is funded by a developer,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have any development, but do so within the rules.”

Linda Milhaven

Linda Milhaven

New housing development costs the residents of Scottsdale no more than they are already paying, Councilwoman Linda Milhaven says.

“It is my understanding that any additional infrastructure is paid for by the developer,” she said.

Her belief was later affirmed by members of city staff.

“In terms of cost, you are talking about the ongoing use? We are talking about General Fund expenses.”

Cost is cost, Councilwoman Milhaven contends.

“The concern that the citizens have to pay for those projects does not follow this logic,” she pointed out before offering an approval motion for the Cavalliere Flat proposal. “We are not paying any more to let this project go through.”

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