Questions from a Citizen

by John Washington on August 7, 2012

A concerned citizen emailed me yesterday with specific questions on three topics. I always appreciate the opportunity to answer questions, especially in lieu of having folks eblast nonsense to the world without doing even a minimum level of fact checking.

Even though I’ve been working on these issues for ten years and my positions are a matter of public record, some folks still don’t know. So, here are the questions and my answers:

Candidate,

At this time I have only three questions for you?

  1. What is your suggested maximum building height limit?
  2. What will be your approach to the Chaparral corridor?
  3. How do you suggest the McDowell corridor be improved in a timely manner?

1. Height. Generally I support the height policies in the General Plan and the zoning code that flows from it. However, they have been so bastardized by loopholes like the Downtown Infill Incentive District that it is difficult to make a blanket statement. As I recall the height across the city was generally limited to 36 feet, with provisions for RARE exceptions in the event of quantifiable and direct public benefit. I think this was a good policy, but even assuming I get elected it will take some to unwind the mess and figure out where we are.

2. Chaparral Road: The most important thing we can do is stop approving tall, high-density housing projects downtown that will inevitably increase traffic load further. Next, I have heard some concerns about speed that should be addressed. I am no fan of traffic calming, speed bumps, etc., but we probably should at least consider some short term mitigation, pending input from Chaparral residents. Ultimately, as I suggested years ago we should undertake some serious traffic flow redesign to take load off Chaparral and shift it to a route into downtown via Hayden south, and west on Camelback.

3. McDowell Road. As you can see from a recent candidate survey I posted on this website, I have some big-picture ideas for immediate implementation that i believe will have a positive long-term effect.

However, to your specific constraint of “in a timely fashion,” therein lies the rub! Compared to the 20 years of city government meddling, taking a couple of years to turn the decline into an upward trend is certainly better than continuing to perpetuate the problem. But frankly, in spite of a lot of thought on this subject, I haven’t come up with any silver bullets to fix the problem within a month or two of inauguration (January). I would be curious to know what specific issues that  you’d like to have addressed. Maybe we can brainstorm on this together?

I will also say that we’ve seen some evidence of the free market at work. The Certified Benz and Beemer facility seems to be doing a bustling business in a previously vacant dealership. And the Ferrari dealership continues to operate without interruption. How much more of an economic indicator do you need?

There are plans for apartments at the Powell site, and (though I opposed it) the Mark-Taylor apartment project east of SkySong is underway.

You can see more on McDowell Road in my video on that subject.

Please let me know if you have more questions, and especially if you have better ideas. Scottsdale has some of the smartest residents of any city around!

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