Austin: what is happening in beautiful Scottsdale?

If you have lived in Scottsdale as have I for the past 30 years, you have seen buildings and infrastructure sprouting up everywhere you look.

If you’ve noticed the new apartment compound under construction just north of Costco on Hayden Road, it will need its own ZIP code! It’s a monstrous eyesore! Building permits are handed out as quickly as food samples at Costco!

Almost a year ago, developers literally hit too close to my home!

I couldn’t tell you anything about zoning, the names of the city council members, the Planning Commission and what COGS stood for. After hundreds of hours of research, attending meetings, hosting meetings for the mayor and city council members and regular correspondence with city staffers, I have learned all about the zoning process and the fight our neighborhood has ahead of us to stop the Empire Group LLC from cramming 45 homes on 20 gross acres that have been purchased by their investors.

I am heartbroken the horse-lined street at 93rd Street and Cactus may be replaced with a wall and a viewing fence and more unneeded traffic. This is a beautiful piece of property currently zoned R1-35 for homes on lots no smaller than 35,000 square feet.

The developer gambled and paid a huge sum of money per acre to the “rumored” tune of an average of $700,000 to $800,000 per acre.

Empire applied for a zoning change to R1-18, which is defined clearly as 18,000 minimum square foot lots per home, but they have proposed that 39 of the homes be on 8,000 square foot lots which is 10,000 square feet less than the minimum requirement!

One would have to build at least six miles east of our neighborhood to find a lot on which to build a home that is on an 18,000-square-foot lot. I have also learned what PRD means — “planned residential development,” which gives the developer bonuses to carve away from the lot sizes by adding amenities such as a bbq pit with a bench, an umbrella and a pickleball court.

This is an outrage! This is all about the almighty dollar!

There is no reason the developer can’t design a plan to build approximately 30 beautiful homes after they use land for streets, amenities and other infrastructure requirements the Scottsdale taxpayer will more than likely pay for. Section 5.301 in regard to R1-18 zoning states that this zoning should accommodate low density housing and a balance of schools, churches, etc.

They are taking two preschools away to make room for their development! This is one of the reasons that young families moved into this neighborhood so they could hold their child’s hand walking them to and from preschool while petting horses noses.

This plan is out of balance and unacceptable!

Empire gambled and they want to build too many homes on small lots to make their investors happy at the expense of our unhappy neighbors. Scottsdale employees need to support their constituents who live in this neighborhood who oppose this high density development. This will be a tough fight, but rest assured, I will go down swinging!

If the development doesn’t fit the developer must quit or resubmit!

Editor’s note: Ms. Austin is a resident of Scottsdale

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