Smith: Another multifamily housing proposal threatens south Scottsdale legacy

Is it just me or does it seem like every single time you hear about a new development in south Scottsdale it is another apartment complex?

Ryan Smith

And not just any apartment complex, but the new and improved complex with a zoning change to PUD (Planned Unit Development) that puts the buildings at a towering 48 feet with 10 percent at 58 feet.

Normal multi-family zoning allows 36 feet maximum which already makes a significant impact on the mostly single story or two story existing buildings around it.

I am writing this letter as a concerned homeowner who lives in south Scottsdale in Town & Country, which is a gem neighborhood of historic homes built in the late 1950s by renowned architect Ralph Haver. There is a proposal to put one of these monstrous apartment complexes on the south side of our community partially on one of the last remaining single-family home parcels in all of south Scottsdale.

This plot of land was at one point going to be developed by Haver, but unfortunately that never came to fruition and now we have out of state owners and big box apartment firms trying to build something that may look good on a spreadsheet, but not in implementation with the collateral damage to 60 years of south Scottsdale history.

All of this while there have been 1,015 apartment units built within the past six years on the 1.5 mile stretch of McDowell Road from 64th Street to Miller. Add to that the proposed complex behind our neighborhood at Palm Lane and Scottsdale Road of 282 units, Papago Development proposal of 274 units, the proposal at McDowell and 63rd: of 358 units.

Add to that the already completed Tom Scot: 278 units, The Carter: 365 units and Alta Drinkwater: 277 units. You get the point.

I work in real estate and I am extremely pro-development, as I have invested personally into rehabbing several homes in Town & Country in addition to my own and represented buyers and sellers in the neighborhood as well.

Everyone has a commonality in that they want the historic aspects of the homes preserved while renovating and giving them and the neighborhood new life. We take pride in doing it the right way as it will be more rewarding now and down the road.

Unfortunately many developers and rehabbers take short cuts for the quick buck and don’t care about the immediate or long-term impact of their decisions.

We are required to notify the city if we want to change anything with our historic homes even plants in the front yard. The city requires this to preserve the historical integrity of the neighborhood and we comply, as we want to preserve something special.

On the other hand the city is considering a proposal that will completely dominate the horizon of the neighborhood if approved as submitted and greatly diminish the historic feel. Nothing makes a classic mid-century modern historic home look more historic than a 48-foot apartment building in the backyard right?

While it would be fantastic to see the single-family parcel and the commercial parcels on Scottsdale Road re-developed with current zoning, the developer will do all in their power to push this zoning change due to the dollars involved and the fact the three commercial parcels sold out to the developer for Scottsdale Road access.

Without this the proposal would not exist and the single-family parcel would be safe. We hope to find a solution to build something other than apartments.

We want something that truly will add to the neighborhood and not produce more negatives than positives for our community.

How do we impact this? The answer is simple we need to rise up as a community and voice our displeasure to our elected officials. They are elected to represent the community interests, not the developer. They have the power to alter these plans and/or completely reject the proposal. Email them, call them, ask for meetings with them in regards to this and other projects.

Additionally stay up on upcoming public hearings on the development at:

  • Case # 21-ZN-2018
  • Case Name: Alexan Scottsdale

Think of it like the movie Gladiator, how did Maximus defy the Emperor? He had the love and support of the mass (us) and the Emperor could not eliminate him due to their support. It is no different with our situation. If we rise up in large number and continue to pressure the city council things will change.

Who’s with me?

Editor’s Note: Ryan Smith is a resident of Scottsdale.

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