COGS POSITIONS and SUCCESSES ON MAJOR ISSUES
Camelot Homes/Bronco Trail The vacant acreage in this land north of Happy Valley Rd was requested by Camelot Homes to rezone to much smaller lots, totally out of character for the neighborhood which were 2.5 acre parcels. With much opposition and COGS support, Camelot agreed to maintain the existing zoning, which resulted in lots compatible with the existing neighborhood.
Asher Hills Park 18-UP-2021/51-DR-2021 – Original design and high activities are not Neighborhood Park and are more Community Park which permits increased car traffic, and parking lot and sport court lighting issue. Council decision on final plan includes: (1) moving sport courts to southern boundary by Target complex (2) lowering light poles (3) potential city light 10 pm shutdown variance for this park (4) moving the ingress away from the blind curve. The HOA groups were well-organized and did an excellent presentation to the council in July 2022. A COGS member was a leader in the neighborhood work.
128TH St access through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve COGS strongly opposed a public roadway through the wildlife migration “neck”. We supported an Emergency Only gated, unimproved roadway for fire and emergency vehicles. City Council agreed and passed Emergency-gated roadway only.
Greenbelt-88 15-ZN-2020 COGS worked for many months with a well-organized neighborhood group called Safeguard Scottsdale. Some of their requests that improved the project were in the final plan. We supported increased step-backs from the Greenbelt, removal of cantilevered apartments over the walkway, and reduced height and density. Council added a reduction of 30% of the 4th floor and the revised plan passed 5-2. Our membership was split on support/nonsupport so at the February 2022 council meeting COGS was “neutral”.
Parking Code update 2021 City staff reports summarize that there is sufficient downtown parking available—just not where needed. COGS has worked with and supported the leaders in the Arts District to upgrade the parking requirements citywide for new projects. Under-parked projects use public spaces needed for our merchants and public. Important increases in requirements for various project land uses was approved by city council 6-1 vote on 5.18.2021
Closure of Scottsdale Road south of Indian School Road for events
COGS supports the Downtown businesses and property owners to oppose any closures of Scottsdale Road. The loss of parking spaces and transit into their shop areas would be detrimental to revenue. Competing street markets are not revenue generators for established merchants.
Historic/western lighting fixtures and benches The Historic Old Town Association was supported in negotiating with the city staff/administration to replace street lights with appropriate historic/western fixtures. Overhead street bulb night lighting has been added and the wooden benches will be replaced. A COGS Board member is President of the Old Town Merchants’ Association and chairs the area Architecture Committee.
NWC Scottsdale Rd & Dixileta 15-ZN-2019 and 2-AB-2020 Rezoned desert acreage from R1-70 to R1-43 with an original request of 17 lots. COGS concerns included excessive lot request, walls between homes that deterred wildlife and water runoff, and maintenance of the Scenic Corridor and trails. Council approved 7-0 with reduction to 14 lots, height from 32ft to 24ft on homes and changes to setbacks from roadways.
Scottsdale Road from Jomax and Dixileta Master Street Plan 2021 City plans to add a roundabout to replace the traffic light at Dynamite Blvd & Scottsdale Rd, install curbs, arbitrarily create trails in violation of the Master Trail Plan and more. COGS opposed the proposed (1) roundabout (2) streetlights in the Dark Skies area (3) failure to add water control culverts in flooding-intersections (4) raised medians with heavy vegetation that block driver’s vision at the roundabout (5) curbs that disallow tourists/drivers to pull over and enjoy the Scenic Corridor. City Council has approved the roundabout at Dynamite Blvd .
Desert Discovery Center COGS strongly opposed commercial construction inside the McDowell Sonoran Preserve boundary. Members worked on distributing information, holding neighborhood meetings, and emphasizing the negative impact on wildlife, desert preservation, and the beginning of commercial ventures inside the Preserve. Approximately 37,000 signatures were collected and notarized, and the vote was a resounding NO on residents’ referendum. COGS members notarized hundreds of petitions.
Scottsdale Bond Election COGS strongly supported the proposed Bond Election. Several members served on diverse, citizen working groups to promote its successful passage.
Sherwood Heights Lot Split zoning issue COGS supported the neighborhood to stop lot splits by modifying the existing zoning overlay in addition to restricting building height. A challenge to the Zoning Administrator was necessary. Council approved. A COGS member served on the successful HOA group.
Reduce distance between a school and marijuana dispensary 4-TA-2020 COGS joined area merchants on Shoeman Lane area to strongly oppose their request for 57% reduction in existing distance to a school. Although there is a computer school in the building for 5 to 15 years olds, “the state” according to city staff does not consider it a “school”. The applicant withdrew because of an organized flyer, poster and media opposition. COGS printed and distributed flyers.
Code Enforcement Issue 1620 North 87th Street failed to comply with his conditional use permit for vehicle repair and a construction permit. The shop was parking rental cars on residential streets and customer cars outside the required fenced area. Complaints and photo documents since 2017 from neighborhood leader failed to get city violations. A petition was filed for a No Parking Zone in the residential neighborhood. Finally, the city court fined a meager couple hundred dollars for noncompliance.
Estates on Hayden 5-ZN-2019 and 10-PP-2019 COGS supports this project on Environmentally Sensitive land, density lower than allowed and 40% open space.
Gentry on the Green 11-ZN-2019 7979 East Camelback Rd Combined two complexes (total 25 acres) on the southside of Camelback Rd with the Greenbelt on the eastern border. Includes Greenbelt bank improvements w/ bike path, bike pavilion, public plaza 36% gross acreage green/open space, 4 story, 3 story, 2 story…10-12 yrs for all phases to be built. Includes “affordable housing units”. Approved 6-2 by council. Update:2022 first phase before DRB.
Lot 10 Craftsman Court 36-DR-2019 Immediate merchants and property owners and COGS opposed the original plan. DRB denied 8-0. New plan for hotel, 3 stories apt/hotel/condo/retail was approved 4.16.2020.
Veterans’ Advisory Commission COGS supported the addition of this commission with council appointments to be limited to veterans only. Council passed it 7-0
RockBar Lease Agreement with city Craftsmans’ Court bar has been leasing 400 sq ft of the city alley for a DINING AREA. Infact, they have no kitchen and COGS’ photos evidences that it is for drinking and smoking only. Additionally, they have opened their northern wall as a serve-through bar with stools without a permit. City staff states that a “kitchen” is not defined by the state. RockBar added one pizza toaster oven, one sink and a narrow counter in a closet and qualified. The city granted the lease for a meager $258.75/month. In 2022 the city council approved another Conditional Use Permit for them to rent the adjacent alley.
Scottsdale Directory The tourist directory cover page has featured 50% of the image as a woman’s legs with cowboy boots in one year and a “hip” model in another year. COGS strongly supports a family or desert activity image on the cover to better describe the kind of tourist experience. Results: future covers were more appropriate to describe our city.
Camelot Homes/LasSambras II The remaining vacant horse acreage in this subdivision south of Cactus Road was requested by Camelot Homes to rezone to several smaller lots and add a gate—totally out of character for the neighborhood. With much opposition and COGS support, Camelot withdrew their proposed project.
- Win: Interim/Acting City Manager, Jim Thompson’s position expires this year and a option for a search has been directed by council.
Win: Chaparral Commons across from the high school removed its 4th floor.
Win: The majority of the amendments INCLUDING MANDATORY were approved for the IECC,IRC ( 5 to 2 Caputi and Milhaven no) and IBC.
Win: Shadow Ridge North was withdrawn when COGS bullet pointed all the failures to comply with the Rural Neighborhood standards.
Win: The Kiva is nominated for a Historic Designation.
Win: Fiesta Bar to be built across form the Best Western on Camelback Rd has to include a 3 foot vertical glass or plexiglass sound barrier facing Camelback Road.
Win: Crown Castle can’t build its 60 plus foot wifi tower at the Sunrise Sonoran church.
Win: 128th street through the neck of the Preserve will be closed to public traffic and an emergency gate only for fire/police access.
Win: Most of our recommendations were incorporated into the General Plan 2035…only loss (and a big one) was to protect Rural land category.
Win: The front cover of the city’s Tourism booklet was changed from sexually charged set of images to a family running through the desert.