Scottsdale shouldn’t spin too far from the hand that feeds

From preserving the McDowell Mountains and banning billboards to turning a once-planned concrete ditch into the Indian Bend Wash there’s no doubt about Scottsdale’s impressive aesthetics. Even the bus stops are beautiful.

Ann Siner

Ann Siner

Such discipline toward the extraordinary and those policies that can make a community look and feel different is likely why my company and so many others have invested in the city.

But as a businesswoman with two major stores in Scottsdale it’s fair to ask if the city has gone too far from time to time? When it comes to its ongoing litigation to fight “sign spinners” I believe it has.

Let me set the stage further.

Scottsdale’s commitment to aesthetics is admirable, but it can create tension, even effects deleterious for business.

Consider Scottsdale’s oldest tavern, the Coach House on Indian School Road. A city-planted tree routinely covers up the establishment’s only sign.

Or how another city tree as part of southern Scottsdale Road improvements was planted right in front of the Barrett-Jackson building near Thomas Road, blocking its sign just as the company was re-opening the property for an impressive new use.

Or how the landscaping requirements and zoning requirements for a Target shopping center in far north Scottsdale were so severe that shoppers had a hard time seeing what stores were actually located there.

As for us, we’re located in two centers where visibility can be a challenge. This isn’t because we’re poor at real estate, it’s just that some of the same examples above are relatives of our experience too.

That’s where sign spinners can come in, in much the same way people advertise their garage sales, car washes or new home sales. In our case, we face competition from online that doesn’t have to pay sales taxes like we do to Scottsdale to fund its public safety, parks and streets. From time to time we like to use different marketing tactics to drive awareness to sales we may be having or other store initiatives.

It’s not that we believe businesses should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Should one store be able to monopolize four street corners at one time? No.

But we do believe there should and can be a compromise that allows a business to advertise with more liberty to aide its livelihood. Put another way, we can’t continue to generate the amount of sales tax we do for Scottsdale if our options to market ourselves are suffocated.

Change the way you market some might say. Well, in a city run by Republicans isn’t one of the party’s core beliefs the notion that raises individual choice above the state or government?

It should and can be that way now as economic liberty need not be a stranger to community aesthetics. We need a little more compromise in Washington, D.C. and it wouldn’t hurt as it relates to this issue in Scottsdale either.

Editor’s note: Ms. Siner is co-founder and CEO of My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic & Well Suited

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