Derouin: I am in opposition to Scottsdale Proposition 420

I oppose Proposition 420 on Scottsdale’s November ballot because it is badly written and a lousy approach to managing the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Jim Derouin

My wife and I live on the Preserve and we can’t exit our development without driving by a trailhead. We voted for both the 1995 and 2004 sales taxes that will, eventually, raise more than one billion dollars to buy what amounts to one-quarter of the land area of Scottsdale.

However, I oppose Prop. 420, and urge voters to do likewise, for the following reasons:

  1. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve Ordinance (MSPO) applicable to the Preserve allows uses that are consistent with passive recreational activities. While allowing for “educational opportunities,” commercial facilities are prohibited. A Disneyland is not allowed. That’s fear mongering.
  2. The Petition for Prop. 420 states that the city attorney has “determined” that the city “can build whatever it wants in the Preserve without a public vote.” This is ridiculous. A city attorney doesn’t “determine” anything; an ordinance determines what can and can’t be done and the MSPO is clear that only passive recreational and educational uses are allowed.
  3. The petition also states that the “City is proposing to build a “museum/event center” in the Preserve. The “City” is not proposing anything. A proposal, which has been under development for 20 years by a civic group, may or may not be considered by the council. And, unless the proposal meets the MSPO, it can’t be approved.
  4. Prop. 420 prevents constructing even a rustic outhouse without a public vote — that’s how extreme and badly written Prop. 420 is. This is ridiculous.
  5. Prop. 420 also turns management of the $1 billion Preserve over to an appointed body. If you don’t trust elected government, how about giving an appointed body control over a billion dollar asset?

In summary, the MSPO clearly states that only “passive” recreational activities” and educational uses are appropriate; commercial uses are prohibited. No further prohibition is needed — certainly not a prohibition on outhouses in the Preserve and, in addition, turning the Preserve over to an appointed body. Vote “no” and start over.

Editor’s note: Mr. Derouin is an attorney who, with his family, has lived in Scottdale since 1985.

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