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Doug Reed's Update on the Scottsdale City Council - LGBT, DDC & More

BOND ELECTION -The further north you go in Scottsdale, the more no votes there were. And the further north you go, the higher the voting percentage-from the low to mid twenties in the southern part to the low to mid thirties in the north. 

Concerning the defeated bond projects, the City Council is considering reallocation of planned spending to include funding totaling about $8 million for the pool chemical system replacement and widening Happy Valley Rd from Pima to Alma School. They are also 

in the very preliminary process of considering selling 80 acres of City owned land NE of Loop 101 and Bell Rd. The sale could net about $10 million and cut outgo by about $2 million per year, with these funds (hopefully) going to the defeated bond projects. Additionally, they have agreed to discuss reducing general fund spending and use the savings to fund defeated bond projects.

NOVEMBER ELECTION -Mayor Jim Lane will run for his third and final term. Bob Littlefield has announced that he will challenge.
Councilmember Suzanne Klapp will run for a third and final term.

Councilmembers Korte and Phillips will run for their second terms. There will be at least one challenger.

Term limits are three consecutive four year terms. Primary is August 30th, general, if necessary is November 8th.

TRANSPORTATION -Paul Basha, the city staff representative to the Transportation Commission, has yielded to public pressure and announced that he will not seek to widen Chaparral Rd and will not seek to narrow Scottsdale Rd in the downtown area.

PINNACLE PEAK PATIO -A plan to build a new Pinnacle Peak Patio restaurant along with a gas station, charging station and general store located on 10 acres at the NW corner of Pima and Dynamite. The Planning Commission voted 4-2 in favor, City staff recommended denial, and the City Council voted 5-2 in favor with Littlefield and Phillips voting no.

OFFICE TOWERS -Located north of the Henkel building, NE of Loop 101 and Scottsdale Rd, DMB Construction wants to build about 3 million square feet of office, commercial and residential properties. Maximum building height requested is  6 story (90 feet). If plans are approved by the City Council, developer DMB plans to start construction in 2016. The developer wants to increase the number of apartment units from the 1,100 currently allowed, to 2,500. The overall plan envisions a “walkable” community.

LGBT-City staff is still working on an ordinance to present to the City Council for discussion and a vote. Guy Philips has spoken out on the subject as follows: City staff will be sending a survey in our utility bill to ask for help drafting the ordinance. There is supposed to be a line on the survey to indicate you don’t want an ordinance. Guy says the ordinance is already a done deal and this is just a feel-good survey for their due diligence. He also says that, if the Council approves an LGBT ordinance, he will “refer it to the ballot”. So I asked him what that meant. The answer-Immediately following passage, Guy will file for a referendum of the voters to put it on the next ballot. Referendum supporters will then have 30 days to obtain the required number of signatures (Guy estimates 9 to 12,000).

NOTE: If you contact the City Council on this,  be sure to be be polite. Councilmembers view harsh comments as justification that there is a problem.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA -Council approved by 6-1, with Dave Smith dissenting, conditional use permits for two dispensaries located near Hayden & Raintree, about two blocks apart. After much discussion, Council agreed that both entities had met the requirements for a Conditional Use Permit and the City had no legal reason to deny. These permits are routinely issued for 5 years. Council shortened the permit time to 1 year, and voted unanimously to put the issue of requiring more distance between dispensaries on a future Council agenda.

DESERT DISCOVERY CENTER-DDC is envisioned as a world class tourist destination and educational facility showcasing the Sonoran desert. The proposed location is at the Gateway Trailhead near Thompson Peak and Bell, and involves 30 acres of Preserve property. It includes exhibits, education areas, a restaurant or snack bar, and a gift shop. Cost estimates are in the $80 million range, but are subject to change. City Council has voted 6-1, with Littlefield dissenting, to proceed with a Feasibility Analysis and Business Plan and has allocated $1.7 million.

Proponents include Scottsdale business interests (Chamber of Commerce, Realtors Association, the hotel industry).

1. Is it legal to use Preserve property for this purpose?
2. How will it be paid for?

As to the legality, the City Attorney says yes.

As to the funding, there is a commitment from the builder to try to obtain 10% of the cost from donations. Funding sources for the remaining 90% are listed as the Bed Tax, the General fund, and the Preserve Bond Fund.

HOW THE COUNCIL VOTED-6-1 in favor of proceeding with Littlefield as the only no vote.
Dave Smith-very much in favor. This vote is only for a feasibility study.

Suzanne Klapp-Supports moving forward.

Virginia Korte-Fully supports. Represents less than 1% of Preserve land.Tonight’s vote is only  to proceed with developing a plan.
Linda Milhaven-Decision tonight is to proceed or stop. We need to take the next step to get enough information to know whether to proceed.
Jim Lane-Spoke favorably about using Preserve money. Against using General Fund. Wants commitment from Bed Tax people to cover operating expenses.
Guy Phillips- Asked City Attorney if Council had authority to build.
Answer was yes. Said it was a sad day for public trust.
Kathy Littlefield- Project is disruptive to neighborhoods and Preserve animals. The purpose of the Preserve is to preserve. The supporters of DDS believe that voters would not approve, so they are going to the Council instead. This is an end run, is unethical and immoral. Voters were promised no commercial activity and no night lights on Preserve and Council must honor this promise. Will only agree to DDC if voters approve. (This was followed by applause, which is strictly forbidden at the meetings)

As a result of the vote, the sole bidder on the project, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc. will create a budget, explore revenue sources, and define what the center will be and how it will operate as well as solicit public input. The contract runs for 18 months, at which time the Council will consider how to proceed.

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published this page in Scottsdale City Council & DDC 2016-01-21 09:51:20 -0700