In Support of Planned Unit Development
November 22, 2008
For easy reference on this issue you can find information regarding Planned Unit Development (a new type of zoning) at the City’s web site: http://phoenix.gov/PLANNING/pudcases.html;
the narrative from the Planning Department: http://phoenix.gov/PLANNING/Z-119-07n.pdf and The City of Phoenix Staff Report: http://phoenix.gov/PLANNING/Z-119-07.pdf
I was having dinner the other evening with a friend at the Tuck Shop Restaurant, a new restaurant that opened November 7 at the 12th and Oak Street Traffic Circle in the Coronado Historic District. The owners spoke with pride about how their desire is to make it a local restaurant for the neighbors, a perfect place as it is tucked away, pun intended,,in the heart of the Coronado Historic District.
It especially drew a deep sigh for me as I was chair person of the Fight Back Committee and worked so hard to get the historic lighting at the Circle, getting the City to invision that this would truly become our town center and gathering place. It was a shared dream now coming to fruition. Our conversation turned to where are these locals going to come from? Coronado has suffered during this difficult time with foreclosures, tight budgets and an alarming number of homes being turned into rentals.
Perhaps we need only look a few blocks north to the new proposed Planned Unit Development that comes for final City Council vote on December 3 following the footsteps of the Encanto Village Planning Committee, the City staff reports and their hard work hammering out the details of compliance. We hope that along with the overwhelming City Planning Commission’s vote the Council will move this project forward so that we will have a positive resource for this new business, as well as the businesses on 7th Street which is our "face" to the commuters on a daily basis. How nice it would be for the developer who is restoring the store fronts on 3rd Street north of Osborn, and for China Chili's to have a line out the door.......such vibrancy,and with more employment as well as tax base for the City and County.
Let’s look at what those who oppose this change have been saying. This is an ad they have been running. It shows a photo of a historic home in close proximity to high rise living. That photo in that derogatory ad does not take into consideration perspective, line of site, context or anything. This is not reflective of the many changes the developer has made in taking ithe neighborhood into consideration. It is not what is presented or agreed upon in the narratives with the city planners and the approved proposals. The City of Phoenix Staff Report: http://phoenix.gov/PLANNING/Z-119-07.pdf and The Narrative from the Planning Department: http://phoenix.gov/PLANNING/Z-119-07n.pdf. Blank check? there are pages of guidelines and stipulations that the developer has agreed to and worked out. This is a 8-acre parcel in which there is plenty of room to comply with the guidelines that have been spelled out.
A handful of neighborhood residents have not negotiated in good faith when they toss this information up as truth, and cry foul as they cannot demand to be the developer and place him in a compromised situation that may result in no project at all.
I hope that the City Council realizes this as a defining moment in the negotiation and discussion when one side begins to turn to this sort of tactic to get their way at any cost. They have admittedly lost all of the valid arguments that support opposition to what has finally been approved and worked out during thoughtful negotiation. And now moved beyond..... at least as a person can see that supportive arguments still retain a state of being coherent and the ability to continue to effectively articulate points, as in the PDF's I have attached below.
Let us consider the economic stimulus to the area in terms of employment and also the increased property tax revenue for the County. Let us consider the construction jobs that would be created, and the sustainable maintenance jobs and employment a project of this size brings in. Is this something we need today in America? Is this something we can let a handful of people defeat when the recommendations all point the other direction? Would any of this happen if this were a dirt lot as the failed project on 15th avenue and McDowell Road is? Where are the jobs, revenue, the historic preservation in the dust that blows over that area that was recommended by the same city staff and committees?
Lets look at just two of the more recent letters sent to the Arizona Republic regarding the youth and their vision of the future of Phoenix and of downtown. These are the future, and it is a positive not negative one.
I don’t feel it’s very grey when it comes down to the cataclysmic job layoffs that many of our neighbors are feeling and are going to feel and the downward domino effect that is/will ripple into 2009. We all have a decision to make. We either work with the developer in a way where they can maintain their desired profit or we fight them, their revenue generation, their job creation, their everything, and suffer the consequences. It is not a grey area for me. Downtowns are supposed to be bustling with varied activity in my opinion.
Replace emptiness with community by Branden Kay a student in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University and a second article on Mixed-use concept good for lifestyle by Doug Banfelder, Phoenix, in the letter to the editor for the Republic.
To Trust or Not to Trust
“Trust not to rotten planks,” wrote English dramatist William Shakespeare. Indeed, before stepping onto the wooden planks of a boat, you would want to be sure that the wood was not rotten. The words of Shakespeare echo the sentiments of wise King Solomon of ancient times, who some 3,000 years ago wrote: “A fool will believe anything; smart people watch their step.” Yes, only a fool would go through life blindly accepting everything he hears, basing his decisions and actions on frivolous advice or baseless information. Misplacing our trust, like stepping onto rotten planks, can lead to disaster.
There is a reason that the City Council will have the last word and say in the rezoning issue this December 3rd. It is because it is the body of government that is now trusted to make the final decision based on all of the research and information from other governing bodies that has been presented up to this point.
One may wonder, “Iis there any source of guidance that is worthy of the trust of the Council?” I believe that there is, and that it would be wise for the City Council to place its trust in the decisions that have come prior to their decision, and look to their guidance to direct their steps; base their decision and final action on this advice and pattern their actions after the guidance of those decisions. Would the City Council be stepping, as it were, onto rotten planks? The answer to that question depends greatly on the answer to another question. Are there sound reasons to trust those prior decisions? Is there compelling evidence and long historical experience that has presented itself to convince the City Council that these are, in fact, the correct decisions? After all is this not the reason that this system and process was developed in the first place to be followed? I believe that, after all, this has proved to be the rational process, and is, indeed, a trustworthy source of guidance in boldly stepping onto the ship of vision and future development for our area.
I certainly see no evidence that seriously challenges the wisdom and outcome of the process, and certainly hope that the City Council will bring this to its proper and wise conclusion.