Smith: A collaborative apartment development victory in south Scottsdale

This is a story that has a happy ending. And because it’s about apartments being built in south Scottsdale, I think it’s important for people to hear it.

Ryan Smith

Three months ago I wrote a column that was posted on this site in which I described how my neighbors and I were not pleased about an apartment complex being proposed near our neighborhood at Palm Lane and Scottsdale Road.

We were disappointed with the developer’s plan, especially the project’s height, setbacks and architectural design.

Resigned to the fact that something was going to be built on this dirt lot, we asked ourselves a simple question: “What can we do to make the project better?”

I am happy to say that working closely with the developer’s team we were able to soften the impact of the complex and increase its aesthetic appeal. In fact the collaborative effort not only made the development more acceptable, the developer actually made concessions that exceeded our expectations, including:

  • 17 power lines will be buried on the north and south sides of the development that will improve two neighborhoods.
  • Setbacks from property lines have been increased and buildings facing Scottsdale Road will be stepped back from two to four stories. Additionally, the height of the north building on the rear parcel was reduced.
  • The architecture will implement mid-century modern design elements as a tribute to architect Ralph Haver who designed the homes in our historic Town & Country neighborhood to the north of the development.
  • The landscaping will include mature trees and an eight-foot perimeter wall as a buffer to surrounding neighborhoods.

By collaborating with the developer, we reached a consensus in which everyone is happy.

Now a vacant parcel of land plus a strip of underutilized commercial property along Scottsdale Road will be transformed into a $60 million investment that will be good for south Scottsdale.

The development process is not a zero-sum game. There don’t have to be winners and losers.

Community voices are louder when they are educated on the development they are voicing ideas towards and they bring forward realistic suggestions that have value for both the community and the developer.

Hopefully, this development will help set a new standard for not only south Scottsdale, but for our entire city.

The moral of this story is that when residents and developers are willing to work together, great things can happen.

Editor’s Note: Ryan Smith is a resident of the Town & Country neighborhood in south Scottsdale.

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