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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Since the proposed changes to the originally approved Stonehaven plan have 44% of the site as 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF lots, it’s important to understand what this residential zoning district is. In Section 5.320 of Glendale’s Zoning Ordinance, R 1-4’s purpose is, “Preserve and provide for urban detached or attached single residence housing. The primary intent of this district is to encourage the establishment of functional and attractively designed patio home developments. The subdivision and housing product shall be designed for rear yard privacy and useable private open space.”

The Development Standards in the city’s Table 1 include:

  • The minimum net (not gross) lot area must be 4,000 square feet.
  • The minimum lot width must be 40 feet.
  • The minimum lot depth must be 80 feet.

         *Setbacks are the distance from the exterior of the house to the property’s lot line.

  • The minimum front yard setback must be 15-20 feet.
  • The minimum rear yard setback must be 15 feet.
  • The minimum side yard setbacks must be 0 feet or 10 feet (there must be a minimum 10 feet separation between homes on adjacent lots).
  • The minimum setback between the exterior of the home and the street must be 10 feet.
  • The maximum home height is 30 feet with a two story maximum.
  • The maximum lot coverage must be 45% (this is the percentage amount of the lot space a home is allowed to use).

Visually here is what the R 1-4 standards would generally look like:

The Stonehaven applicants under a Planned Area Development  (PAD) application are asking for these standards as an SHD (Stonehaven Devlopment) SHD-4. The Planning Director has the authority to accept these standards if the plan as presented is approved by the city council. The city council has the authority at the June 27th city council meeting to change or amend these standards by offering stipulations.

  • A minimum net (not gross) lot area of 4,000 square feet.
  • A minimum lot width of 40 feet.
  • The minimum lot depth is not presented.
  • A minimum front yard setback of 10 feet.
  • A minimum rear yard setback of 10 feet (rear covered patios may encroach to within 15 feet of the rear property line).
  • A minimum side yard setback of 5 feet (the minimum side yard setback may be reduced to 0’ along one of the two side yard property lines) OR
  • A minimum side yard setback of 8 feet (the combined side yard setbacks may be reduced to 5’ when the home is placed on the opposite side yard lot line).
  • A maximum home height of 30 feet with a two story maximum.
  • A maximum lot coverage of 65%.

Visually here is what the applicants’ R 1-4 standards would generally look like:Under the Stonehaven plan with Option 1 having the house on the property lot line on one side and having 5 feet on the other side with a 40′ wide lot the house could be 35′ wide. On an 80′ lot depth the house could be 60′ deep. In the Stonehaven table of standards no minimum lot depth is provided by the applicants.

Option 2 would have 10 feet with each side yard being 5′ for a total of 10′ and on a 40′ wide lot the house could be 30′ wide and would also be 60′ deep.

Perhaps the most notable difference between Glendale’s adopted by Ordinance R 1-4 standards and the Stonehaven unique proposals (submitted under this proposal but not yet approved by city council) is that lot coverage ( how much of the lot can be used for the home) is Glendale’s standard of 45% lot coverage. This allows for a 15′ front yard and a 15′ back yard. In the Stonehaven proposal lot coverage would be 65% with a 10′ front yard and a 10′ back yard.

As an exercise, measure 30′ or 35′ inside your home. Now measure 60′ inside your home. That’s the size of the footprint of an R 1-4 Stonehaven home. Now, imagine 616 of R 1-4 homes or nearly half (44%) of the entire 365 acres on lots this size with as little as 5 feet between 2 homes. How can this possibly be good for Glendale, let alone the Yucca district?

So, while the Glendale Star, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers try to convince you how important Stonehaven is to the city, remember there is already an approved Stonehaven plan that will require an estimated $350 million investment; that will still produce an estimated $3.5 million annually in tax revenue; and still will require the completion of Bethany Home Road.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Smoke and Mirrors

Another milestone: Since its inception my blog has had over 400,000 reads. I thank all who have taken time to read my writings. I hope you have enjoyed them and will continue to follow my blog. I’m not finished…

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I simply can’t resist. Someone who attended the Stonehaven ice cream social shared with me. This person reported very few residents in attendance. This is the same report I received after the Stonehaven proponents held their pizza party event. There appear to be fewer suckers in the Yucca district than they expected. I suspect they have been highly disappointed with the turnout at their PR events. Did they really believe that they could buy the goodwill and support of Yucca residents with an ice cream cone of a slice of pizza?

I received the handouts that were provided at the ice cream event. What a hoot! The first page of the handout is a map showing where the Stonehaven site is located. The second handout is a depiction of their Open Space Master Plan. I wonder if they shared the fact that they purposefully planted their 9 acres of park abutting the city’s 5 acre, taxpayer funded park. They wouldn’t be planning on Stonehaven’s residents using the city park so that they wouldn’t be compelled to provide a larger one within their subdivision, would they? Na-h-h-h. Just some smoke and mirrors…

Two of the handouts show wonderfully idyllic photos of the largest homes they could find…but there is no representation by them that the houses depicted in the photos are actually sitting on 4,000 square foot lots. I wonder if they mentioned that there will be 12 feet between two homes? Can you imagine someone actually investing in a 2,500 to 3,500 square foot home on a 4,000 square foot lot? One handout depicts a lot size of 45’X 110’. That actually equals 4,950 square feet. I guess even they didn’t have the nerve to produce a photo of a 2,500 square foot house on a true 4,000 square foot lot. Just some more smoke and mirrors…

The last handout is a conceptual of grocery store/commercial pad located at the northeast corner of 91st Avenue and Camelback Road. Of course it includes the inevitable gas station. On June 18th  I and the rest of the city council received an email in opposition to Stonehaven from a Yucca resident who lives close to the proposed Stonehaven. He sums up the grocery store situation far better than I could and so I will quote from his email, The developer and its PR team have repeatedly touted the perceived excitement surrounding the new grocery store to be developed on the commercial parcel.  As yet, we have not received any information as to the specific grocer or the timing. 

“I am a retired senior level commercial asset manager with over 30 years of experience in the management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of retail centers, office buildings (including the Biltmore Financial Center), and office/warehouse industrial properties in multiple markets across the country including in excess of 50 retail centers here in the valley over the past 20 years. 

“It is no secret that grocery-anchored and other big box-anchored retail centers are a dying breed.  This trade area already has a Fry’s at 83rd and Indian School, a Safeway at 83rd and Camelback, a Super Walmart at 91st and Camelback, a Target at 91st and Northern, and a Neighborhood Walmart at 75th and Glendale.  That leaves Albertson’s and Basha’s or one of its affiliates as the remaining major players.  Albertsons and Safeway are under the same ownership.  Basha’s has not been in expansion mode for quite some time. 

“If they are thinking about one of the smaller specialty markets like Sprouts or Trader Joe’s that could be a nice addition to the area but they would be more likely to remodel and occupy the Fresh and Easy building at 83rd and Camelback, which has been sitting empty for about the last 10 years.  And what grocery chain would want to open a new store and try to compete right on top of the Super Walmart?

“ If they (Stonehaven applicants) had a signed lease or even a signed letter of intent they would be sitting on the fence crowing about it.  I have serious doubts that there will ever be a grocery store built on this site.  They’ll carve out a pad, put out a ‘coming soon’ sign, and then in about five years come back with a plan to carve it up into a multi-tenant building to house another Vape shop or maybe a medical marijuana dispensary and other unsavory uses.” More smoke and mirrors…

What are the proponents avoiding at all costs? Depicting the reality associated with 4,000 and 4,500 square foot lots.  They have avoided telling you that there will be more 4,000/4,500 square foot lots in Stonehaven than in the entire Barrel district.

The Barrel district has a total of 117 acres containing 690 homes on 4,000 square foot lots but they are scattered over 5 separate sites throughout the district. They are not concentrated on one site. The largest site is Country Hollow built in 1993 (24 years ago). It is a 38 acre site with 234 lots that are R 1-4. Other R 1-4 subdivisions in the Barrel district are: Village Rose built in 2002 (15 years ago) with 62 homes on 10 acres; Tarrington Place built in 2003 (14 years ago) with 192 homes on 28 acres; Beacon Heights built in 2004 (13 years ago) with 15 homes on 3 acres; and Alice Park approved in 2015 with 187 homes on 37 acres.

Stonehaven, in one fell swoop, proposes 616 homes on 4,000 and 4,500 square foot lots on 131 acres. Can you imagine the impact of the intense concentration of this small lot size on more acreage in one spot than on any other R 1-4 site in Glendale? That would be like putting all the R 1-4 lots in the Barrel district in one place. Can you say increased traffic, overcrowded schools and diminished property values?

One would think the Glendale Star, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and Glendale’s Mayor Jerry Weiers would be embarrassed to have endorsed such a grotesque and intense use of     R 1-4 on one site anywhere in our community. But the smoke and mirrors of PR touting a major investment in Glendale along with the promise of increased annual taxes into the city’s coffers and the promise of a completed Bethany Home Road seems to have blinded them to the realities of this project. Did they not realize that the original Stonehaven plan promised the same? Of course not…for you see, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

In my next blog it’s all about R 1-4 zoning…

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

If you would like to submit an opinion piece on Stonehaven please send your article to clarkjv@aol.com. Word limit in 650 words or less. Please include your contact information.

The following opinion piece in its entirety is by Karen Aborne and was published this past week in the Glendale Star and the Glendale Republic. Ms. Aborne rightly points out that one must pay attention to the central issue…not that Stonehaven should be denied for it is already approved. Rather it is important to pay attention to the central issue and that is the changes requested for the approved Stonehaven. Those changes ask for greater density by reducing the lot sizes on 44% of the entire site to 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF and increasing the number of homes allowed from approximately 1,100 homes to 1,362 homes.

StoneHaven Opinion by Karen Aborne, Yucca district resident and Glendale Library Advisory Board member

“Last year the Glendale City Council approved the Final Plat for StoneHaven, a Master Planned Community by John F. Long Properties LLLP.                                                                                                                                                                               

“I attended the Citizen Participation meetings, read pros and cons on the proposal, spoke with my Councilmember and the Planning Department Director, evaluated information provided by the City and Applicant and watched videos of Hearings and Council meetings which I could not attend.

“A third proposed builder, second legal counsel, and now a high profile public relations firm have joined the team.  They invited me to a “Super Saturday Market” for “Free Food and updates on the Good News with StoneHaven – a new Master-Planned Community and Retail coming to Glendale!”

“I could not attend, but visited their website which included a petition asking City Council to ‘please vote yes on StoneHaven.’  Already approved…last year.

“The newest builder, Pulte Homes, is requesting that John F. Long Properties LLLP apply for an Amendment to the plan that was approved last year which would include lots as small as 4,000 square feet.

“On June 27, 2017, City Council will vote on the Amendment proposal.  More than 1,000 signatures have been collected in neighborhoods surrounding the Project requesting that the Amendment be denied.  The online petition that the Applicant has posted addresses support for the entire project with No reference to the proposed Amendment.

“Apples and Oranges.

“As a small business owner, I evaluate the language and presentation of promotions cautiously.  Shortly before the Planning Commission Hearing for the Amendment proposal, The Glendale Republic and The Glendale Star published full page ads promoting Pulte Homes’ desire to invest in Glendale.  The tagline (GlendaleMomentum.com) took me to a nebulous website with a lot of ‘old news’ hype.

“At the May 18, 2017 Planning Commission Hearing, the Applicant’s representative managed to slip ‘momentum’ into her presentation.  The June 7, 2017 Glendale Republic included a My Turn by the president and CEO of Glendale Chamber of Commerce touting the same bullet points presented at the Hearing.  But most telling in this opinion piece was the headline, ‘Projects such as StoneHaven help Glendale regain momentum.’  Shades of SNL Weekend Update’s ‘Mr. Subliminal???’

“Pulte Homes wants higher density, adding 204 more homes to the Project which was approved a year ago.  (See, I can use the subliminal card too)!

“Pizza and promos for a Master-planned Community are misleading.  Sending a flyer that says ‘Glendale staff and others are supporting this plan – we hope you will too!’ does not identify which plan is at issue now.  Glendale’s Planning Department staff is supporting the higher density Amendment.  ‘Supporting the plan’ is so last year; and incidentally, on May 18, 2017  the Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the proposal.

“Neighbors of the Project oppose the higher density Amendment because it will lower property values; increase noise and traffic; could promote spec. home purchases; will impact schools (don’t get me started there), and could replace the dreaded Apartments with Z lot parcels.

“Building support by obfuscating the facts is a disservice to our Community.

“While the Applicant is promoting support for the entire project, the City Council has already approved StoneHaven.  Support-the-project petitions and hype are moot.

“The higher density Amendment is the Issue, and the PR blitz is ignoring that.

“But wait, there’s more!  Today I received two invitations for free ice cream at Westgate to ‘celebrate the possibilities.’ 

“Thank goodness our City Council is wise enough to see through the PR gimmicks and hopefully will stand by their original decision.  The StoneHaven team can keep looking for a builder that will go forward with City Council’s carefully vetted original Final Plat for Stonehaven.”

© Joyce Clark, 2017              

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

We support Stonehaven

Posted by Joyce Clark on June 10, 2017
Posted in City of Glendale  | 2 Comments

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Whoa, haven’t I just written a series of blogs opposing Stonehaven? You bet I have. It’s time to clear the air and make perfectly clear exactly what Yucca residents and I oppose.

The original plan for Stonehaven was approved by the Glendale City Council in April of 2016…a scant 14 months ago. Below is the approved plan for Stonehaven ( I have tried to make it as large as possible. If you would like an 8 ½ X 11 please email clarkjv@aol.com with the subject line of Stonehaven maps and I will send them to you as a pdf attachment):

Stonehaven Plan
Approved
April, 2016

The Stonehaven proponents have been selling their revised plan changes in terms of the multi-million dollar investment in Glendale; the taxes generated over 7 to 10 years; the completition of Bethany Home Road; and the fact that it’s a master planned community. All of these concepts remain true with the original plan. The dollar numbers would change and diminish slightly by retaining the original plan but their arguments for the development of Stonehaven remain. We welcome the development of Stonehaven. We do not welcome the increased density created by cramming in as many 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF lots as humanly possible. You will notice in their campaign to garner support for Stonehaven not once have they publicized the core changes they seek. There is no mention of 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF lots. There is no mention of increased traffic on local streets or the inevitable overcrowding of local schools.

It’s not that the Yucca district residents don’t want Stonehaven. We know progress is inevitable. While we did not view the original plan as ideal and had hoped for 10,000 SF lots in the northeast corner abutting the Missouri Ranch subdivision (which is comprised of 10,000 SF lots), there was no major pushback from us. We accepted the plan as it was originally approved in April of 2016.

Our objection is strictly to the changes proposed to the originally approved plan. Our objection is to the massive reduction in lot sizes increasing the density of the project from 1,161 homes to 1,392 homes. Below is the map with the proposed changes sought by the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes:

Stonehaven Plan
Proposed changes
June, 2017

Technically the Stonehaven proponents’ changes to the originally approved plan (these changes are called GPA 17-01 and ZON 17-01) are a “Minor General Plan Amendment.” We fail to see what is “minor” about the changes they seek. The differences in the two plans are dramatic and quite stark.

Pulte uses the ultimate threat if they are not granted the changes they want…they will go away. That’s OK. If council approves these draconian changes they will have demonstrated that threats work…and the entire development community will sit up and take notice. It will create a mindset that all a developer has to do is threaten to walk away and its demands will be granted.

There will be another residential developer who will view the original plan as an opportunity. They will make it work because they may be smarter, more efficient and more effective. There will be a Stonehaven. The critical question to be asked is, what kind of neighborhood will it be, not just now but 20 years from now. Stonehaven should be built as originally approved and we will welcome it to our part of greater Glendale.

Yucca citizens are hoping that our decision makers, the Glendale City Council, will consider the long term consequences of this new proposal or will they listen to the siren song of representations for this new proposal even though they are exactly the same as for the original plan? 

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Note: As a councilmember representing the Yucca district and in opposition to the proposed Stonehaven changes, I may not lobby fellow councilmembers about this project. The Arizona Open Meeting Law prohibits “daisy chaining” by councilmembers. That means I cannot go to the mayor and each councilmember to try to convince them to oppose the project. I am, in essence, handicapped by state law. The proponents of the Stonehaven changes do not have such a constraint and are busy lobbying every councilmember to gain their support. Who will the councilmembers represent? Their citizens or special interests? We will find out on June 27th when this proposal is scheduled to go before the city council for a vote of denial or approval.

On Wednesday evening, I received the usual email blast entitled “Mayor’s Business of the Week.” In his email the lead headline is…Stonehaven is proof that Glendale has turned a corner.  Here is his statement:

“Stonehaven

 Office of the Mayor Jerry P. Weiers

Mayoral Statement Date: 6/7/2017 Issue/Event: StoneHaven

Description: Mayor Weiers is providing a statement of support for the StoneHaven Master Planned Community being proposed by John F. Long Properties and Pulte Homes near 91st & Camelback Rd.

Statement:

StoneHaven is Proof That Glendale Has Turned a Corner

In the coming weeks the Glendale City Council will vote on the most impactful housing development project our city has seen in years.

This is cause for celebration in Glendale, as two successful Arizona companies, Pulte Homes and John F. Long Properties, propose to invest $450 million on a nearly 400-acre residential and retail project near 91st Avenue and Camelback Road. The proposal has undergone careful study, and this one has all the signs of a winner.

StoneHaven will bring 1,365 high-quality, single-family homes and add neighborhood retail businesses to the southern part of our community generating $49 million in new local city revenues, according to a city-commissioned study. This will help improve our security and quality of life, as we provide funds for police, fire protection, roads and parks. An influx of new residents also means new customers for businesses at Westgate and other parts of the city.

Glendale has turned a corner.

Before I took office we were going through very tough times. It wasn’t too long ago that businesses were struggling, and the municipal budget was in the red. Together, we have overcome those obstacles, and Glendale is once again financially stable.

The city’s sound financial footing has spurred new economic development and growth.

But our work isn’t done.

That’s why approval of this project is so important. It is an infusion of confidence and a boost towards full economic recovery.

As we move forward, we must come to grips with another challenge: the shortage of new housing in Glendale. We are a landlocked city. Undeveloped land is in short supply. That’s why it is imperative that we consider every opportunity for a thoughtful development of vacant land whenever one comes along. StoneHaven is a carefully-crafted traditional master-planned community that integrates residential, commercial and recreational facilities.

I live not too far from the proposed StoneHaven site.

As a neighbor, I welcome the project. One of the many aspects of this project that I’m very excited about is the proposed construction of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue, which is long overdue.

Many of my neighbors shop in Phoenix because of the close proximity to grocery stores and retail business, but with the StoneHaven development our tax dollars will stay here and help Glendale.

I am also gratified by the support from the Glendale Star, Glendale Chamber of Commerce and local school districts.

If I felt this project were bad for Glendale, I would be the first to oppose it. But every study, every review and every staff report tells me that’s not the case. City staff recommends approval.

As Mayor, I must look at the overall, long-term benefits of any project for the good of the city as a whole. StoneHaven is a project that has enormous long-term benefits to Glendale, and is an opportunity that does not come along very often. We must keep our positive momentum moving forward for the city.

We have a leadership team and a city staff that rolled up its collective sleeves and got our fiscal house in order. Our citizens kept the faith, and we are now headed in the right direction.

We should consider ourselves fortunate that we also have business leaders who stuck it out during hard times and are now prepared to invest in our future. We need to respond with the enthusiasm that such an offer deserves.

By embracing projects like StoneHaven, we can make Glendale the very best it can be.”

–Jerry P. Weiers

Media Contact: Kari Sliva, Chief of Staff Office of Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers Office (623) 930-2260 | Direct (623) 930-2292 | Cell (602) 574-2481 | Fax (623) 937-2764 City Hall | 5850 W. Glendale Ave. | Glendale, AZ 85301 | ksliva@glendaleaz.com

The Mayor’s statement sounds as if it was written for him by the PR firm of RoseMosserAllyn, hired by the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes. For all we know, that may be the case. Some of the more familiar catch phrases used in the Stonehaven PR material are  

  • Pulte Homes and John F. Long Properties, propose to invest $450 million on a nearly 400-acre residential and retail project near 91st Avenue and Camelback Road.”
  • “StoneHaven will bring 1,365 high-quality, single-family homes and add neighborhood retail businesses to the southern part of our community generating $49 million in new local city revenues, according to a city-commissioned study.” (Oops Mayor. The study to which you refer was commissioned by the John F. Long Trust).
  • “…the shortage of new housing in Glendale. We are a landlocked city. Undeveloped land is in short supply. That’s why it is imperative that we consider every opportunity for a thoughtful development of vacant land whenever one comes along. StoneHaven is a carefully-crafted traditional master-planned community that integrates residential, commercial and recreational facilities.”
  • “We must keep our positive momentum moving forward for the city.” (This phrase sounds oddly familiar. Could it be the PR slogan the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes is using? You bet it is).

Am I disappointed in his statement of support for the proposed changes to the originally approved Stonehaven plan? You bet I am. Am I angry that his statement of support was made 3 weeks before this item is scheduled to come before the entire council? You bet I am.

In his statement he says, “By embracing projects like StoneHaven, we can make Glendale the very best it can be.” How he can believe that creating another Maryvale, with people living cheek to jowl in 4,000 and 4,500 square foot lots either behind or adjacent to the two proposed commercial parcels of a “restaurant row” and a grocery store make Glendale the very best it can be? How can he truly believe that the proposed changes to the original plan of 6,000, 7,000 and 8,000 square foot lots in favor of a project with over 66% of the lots now 5,500 square feet or less be an upgrade for Glendale?

Oh wait, he says, “We should consider ourselves fortunate that we also have business leaders who stuck it out during hard times and are now prepared to invest in our future. We need to respond with the enthusiasm that such an offer deserves.” Really? No one truly believes this. We’re supposed to be grateful that the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes have deigned to throw Glendale a bone? Don’t be fooled. It’s all about money. Neither of these entities is throwing all of this money to get a project they desperately want approved if they didn’t stand to make a bundle of cash. They are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts for Glendale and they certainly don’t deserve anyone’s praise.

Could the fact that Mayor Weiers received a total of $1,000 as campaign contributions from Jacob Long and Jim Miller (the principals of the John F. Long Trust) on 5/19/2016 for his reelection campaign have had any bearing? That’s for you to decide.

However, he seems to have forgotten that he also received money from and had petition signatures collected in his reelection campaign by the very Yucca district residents he now chooses to ignore. He seems to have rejected the notion that he was elected to represent and serve the very residents that voted for him and instead has sided with special moneyed interests.

This is a Mayor who rarely takes a stand on any major Glendale issue but yet has seen fit to announce his support for these special interests on an issue that is major and controversial for Yucca district residents… the very district in which he resides.

This is a Mayor whose major take away in his latest State of the City speech was to call on all of us to make someone’s life better every day. Well, he certainly isn’t doing that for all of the residents adjacent to or near the proposed Stonehaven.

This is a Mayor who has never declared his vision for Glendale. Perhaps if voters knew that it would include not just acceptance of but advocacy for a proposed residential project that will destroy the quality of life, increase traffic and overcrowd local schools for his residents – they might not have voted for him. He won his reelection by a margin of 400+ votes. Would he have won if voters knew that he would support projects such as this? I doubt it.

Lastly, Mayor Weiers says, “One of the many aspects of this project that I’m very excited about is the proposed construction of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue, which is long overdue.” That it’s long overdue is debatable and may or may not be true but he fails to disclose that the city will pay the John F. Long Trust $1.2 million for the north half right-of-way for Bethany Home Road. That act, in and of itself, is precedent setting for the city. The city has never had to pay a developer for right-of-way necessary for a residential development project. Where does that $1.2 million come from? It comes from Development Impact Fees (DIF) paid by the buyers of each house in the project and passed on to the city by the developer. Usually DIF pays for new or upgraded amenities such as parks and libraries as a result of the new residential development. Not this time. The majority of the DIF generated by this residential project will be used to pay for Bethany Home Road right-of-way. Once again, the residents of the Yucca district get screwed.

By the way, the Stonehaven proponent media juggernaut is inviting Yucca residents to an ice cream social. It appears that their mailing list is comprised mainly of the 1,000+ Yucca residents who signed petitions in opposition to the proposed changes in Stonehaven. Somehow or another, I don’t think Yucca residents will sell their souls or principles and suddenly embrace this proposed project for a lousy ice cream cone. Do you? It’s insulting. How dumb do they think we are? They are desperately trying to buy good will…first with a slice of pizza and now with an ice cream cone…really?

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Today, June 1,2017, the Glendale Star ran my guest commnetary on Stonehaven. I want to thank Mr. Bill Toops who invited me to offer an opinion on Stonehaven’s proposed changes to their 2016 approved plan. It is below in its entirety and here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_2ab6660a-4549-11e7-8e53-eb73fa60f96f.html

Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2017 12:00 am

The responsibility of an elected official is to speak for the people he or she represents. It is a responsibility I cherish. I speak for the residents of the Yucca district. I speak loudly for those often ignored when a project is backed by power, money and privilege. I speak for the over 1,000 residents who have signed a petition opposing StoneHaven’s proposed changes. I speak for those in close proximity to the already approved StoneHaven project when those developers use code words like flexibility and diversity to mask their request for greater density in their quest for greater profitability. I speak for all Yucca residents still unaware of the implications of this project on their daily lives.

I speak for someone who, in opposition, after work every day, walked his neighborhood to get petition signatures in Camelback Park immediately adjacent to proposed StoneHaven. He is concerned about the tremendous impact this project will have on his local traffic. Even with a completed Bethany Home Road, daily traffic counts on surrounding streets will sky rocket by another 15,000 daily trips.

I speak for another who also collected signatures. He owns an acre adjacent to this proposed project. He recognizes the increased density of an additional 200 homes bringing the total to 1,392 homes will devalue his home and property.  He is thinking of selling.

I speak for a teacher concerned about the 1,000 students StoneHaven will produce. She knows the school districts said they can accommodate them, but she is in the trenches and knows that’s not really true. School districts receive developer dollars for additional students. Do those dollars influence their thinking?

I speak for the young mother out collecting signatures while pushing her baby in its stroller because StoneHaven developers have failed to provide the amenities included in other Valley cities where they also build. Instead, they expect the new residents to crowd the adjacent three-acre neighborhood Pasadena Park, the city-owned five-acre Sunset Ridge Park and the still unfinished after a 20-year wait, Heroes Park, with only 20 of its 88 acres developed … parks her family already uses.

I speak for voices not opposed to StoneHaven. They only ask that the original approved version be upheld and that the latest proposed changes of 4,000/4,500 square-foot lots be denied. They realize, as do all, this is a major prime parcel in Glendale. They know other residents will have to battle the precedent set by this proposal. They expect a development matching and enhancing the existing Yucca district development. They do not expect a development that cannibalizes the surrounding area.

StoneHaven is billed as an infill project and in the strictest sense of the word, it is. National studies have concluded that infill development results in nearby residents bearing all associated costs; increased traffic, congestion in local schools, etc., even though it may provide a touted tax benefit to a community as a whole.

It is their reasonable expectation that completion of Bethany Home Road not be used as the rationale for approval of draconian StoneHaven changes.

I speak for this and countless neighborhoods in Glendale that have tried to fend off unwanted development only to have their voices overridden by special interests; like this one with ample funds to erect costly billboards, but with no ties to the area.

This is not NIMBY. The first version of StoneHaven was an approved project with little pushback. I direct you to my recent blog post, called Upgrade Glendale, at www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com, where I make a case for not “settling” here, or in any other location in Glendale.

Lastly, I speak for all of the neighborhood voices that simply ask that Glendale’s elected officials listen to them and support them, rather than the outside moneyed interests who call this a beneficial economic development.

On June 27, who will your councilmembers speak for?

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On May 31, 2017 the Glendale Today section of the Arizona Republic featured a story entitled, “More money, more house” by reporter Laura Gomez. The reason this story caught my attention is the fact that large lot, luxury homes do sell. Right now, the hot spot for these homes is predominately in north Peoria. In the 1990s Arrowhead Lakes was the place for luxury homes and today its zip code, 85310, is listed as one of the 25 wealthiest zip codes in the Phoenix Metro area.

Does that mean that this is will work for Stonehaven? No. It is not the right spot lacking uneven terrain encouraging spectacular views. But it is the right spot for 10,000 or 12,000 square foot lots that are compatible with similar existent properties in this area. It is the right spot for large lots with RV gates and backyard pools with cabanas. According to real-estate consultant Jim Belfiore, “…the exterior of these houses is typically ‘architecturally interesting’ and not the cookie-cutter model of production homes.” He goes on to say, “The lots also are large enough to allow for custom additions, such as an RV or boat garage, or a backyard pool with outdoor cabanas.”

Yet Stonehaven proponents continue to sell the kool-aid many city leaders are drinking. That kool-aid consists of “diversity” and “flexibility” as the rationale for even more starter homes or small lot homes designed supposedly to appeal to millennials and “empty-nesters.” Yet a recent Wall Street Journal story said that 30% of millennials cannot afford the down payment on a home because of their extraordinary student debt. The article went on to say many millennials are prepared to wait 5 years or longer to save enough for a down payment.

This is from Gomez’ article, “Overall in metro Phoenix, seven-figure home sales are up more than 30 percent compared with last year.”  She goes on to state, “A recuperating housing market and a stable economy are contributing to a boom in all types of residential construction, including more luxury housing options.” Gomez interviewed a Camino A Lago community resident and said, “Jennifer Garbett recently moved into the Camino a Lago community. The former Glendale resident said the main driver to move to Peoria was the school district. Garbett said the larger lots, luxury interior features, flexible floor plan and RV garage convinced her to move into this community.”

Gomez stated, “City leaders see the benefits of diversifying the region’s housing inventory and attracting high-income earners. In Surprise, which offers a wide swath of affordable housing, Mayor Sharon Wolcott said city leaders should strive to accommodate and retain high-income earners because they are an important component of every city. ‘It’s really important to have these high-income earners have a place where they feel fits their needs in the community,’ Wolcott, said. ‘They’ll support with their own checkbook by making purchases in their community. They get involved civically, typically, because they are very interested in helping to grow their community’.”

An anonymous comment in the Glendale Star of May 18, 2017 said Stonehaven is, “a $450 million investment in our city that will likely become Glendale’s next signature community.” Many would agree that it is destined to become “Glendale’s next signature community” but not in a positive manner that this comment would have you believe. It will be a “signature community” as people move up and out of the small, starter homes and over time, these homes will become investments tailored to renters. It will become a “signature community” known for homes poorly kept catering to renters with no ties to our community just waiting their turn to move up and out. It’s only significance will be that it contributed to the further demise of Glendale’s reputation.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

There have been so many numbers circulating about what Stonehaven is and is not. Did you know that the applicants, the John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes, originally submitted their new plan with 3,000 SF lots? They revised their new plan to 4,000/4,500 SF lots when the Planning Department advised them that there is no R 1-3 zoning category in Glendale and it would not be supported.

The applicants represent verbally that they expect Bethany Home Road to be completed before the contractual drop-dead date of January 1, 2021. The only date that should be relied upon in is the date within the agreement between the city and the John F. Long Trust.

Within this agreement the city must pay $1.2 million to the John F. Long Trust for the north half of the Bethany Home Road right-of-way (ROW). This is precedent setting. The city historically has never paid a developer for ROW to satisfy the transportation needs created by the project itself.

The city plans to pay this $1.2 million for the north half of Bethany Home Road right-of-way from the Development Impact Fees (DIF) generated by every home within the project. Instead of the ability to use DIF paid to the city for Heroes Park or other projects, the city will use a majority of the DIF to pay $1.2 million to the John F. Long Trust.

Proponents of the new plan throw out a figure of $49 million in new revenue to the city. That is over a period of 7 to 10 years, averaging about $4 million a year. The proponents had to really stretch to come up with this figure for they even included the city tax you pay on your electric, gas, cable and phone bills within that number. They also fail to tell you that the majority of the DIF generated within their stated $49 million will go right back to the John F. Long Trust to pay for the Bethany Home ROW.

Another little known fact is that each and every home within Glendale does not earn enough annual tax revenue to pay for the annual services (public safety is just one) the city provides to that home. I do not know what the current annual loss per home to the city is. The figure I learned years ago was $200 per home annually.

Typically, a developer will make a “donation” to the school districts that will be affected by the influx of new students. It could be $200, $500 or $1,000 per home. No one knows the real figure as it is between the developer and the school district. Is it any wonder that school districts never withhold their approval for a new subdivision? Who pays for this “donation?” Not the developer. It is added to the price of the home as is the Development Impact Fee (DIF). That means the buyer of a home in Stonehaven automatically pays for DIF and the “donation” to the school district(s). This should be of interest to the potential home buyer, especially if that person is an “empty-nester” or millennial with no children.

With all of the information flying about, sure to become even more intense, before the vote of the city council is made at June 27, 2017 city council meeting, here are some facts as known as of this date:

  • Fact: It’s an approximate 365 acre parcel located south of the Grand Canal to Camelback Road; from 83rd Ave. to 91st Ave.
  • Fact: the original Stonehaven plan approved by the City Council in April of 2016 had 3 lot sizes:

                  5,500 SF (43% of the site area);

                  7,000 SF (36% of the site);

                  8,000 SF (21% of the site area)

  • Fact: the Stonehaven changes requested are:

           4,000 and 4,500 SF lots ( 44% of the site area);

           5,000 SF lots (22% of the site area);

           6.000 SF lots ( 18% of the site area);

           7,000 SF lots (16% of the site);

           8,000 SF lots are eliminated entirely

  • Fact: Bethany Home Road does not need to be completed until Jan. 1, 2021 per a separate agreement between the John F. Long Trust and the City of Glendale.
  • Fact: Even when Bethany Home Road is completed daily traffic trips on Camelback Road and 83rd Ave. will increase by 15,000 and daily traffic trips on 91st Ave. will increase by 11,000.
  • Fact: There will be 60 acres of park/open space that includes one 9.1 acre community Park. The balance of the 50 acres will be open space in the form of entry way landscaping; perimeter landscaping surrounding the project; street side landscaping; and a few pocket parks and trails that will serve as retention areas to prevent flooding.
  • Fact: The Pendergast Elementary School district has said it can accommodate the new students this project will produce. This project will produce an estimated 800 to 1,000 new students.
  • The two schools most affected are Sunset Ridge and Desert Mirage. The last bond issue by the school district has funds for expansion of Sunset Ridge (they may have to use some or all of the school’s 5 acre Park) but there are no funds to expand Desert Mirage and it is my understanding that portables have been used at Desert Mirage for many years.

Here is some information related to the number of single family residences (parcels) by lot size in the City of Glendale, from the most widely used lot size to the least used. There are ten different categories. This information was provided by the Planning Department in November of 2016 to a constituent who shared it with me. Please note: The Planning Department did not provide figures for R 1-5 lot sizes. (It is strange that this lot size was not included. One can reasonably assume there are somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 of the R 1-5 lot sizes).

Category      Number

RI-6             35,793

RI-7               5,279

RI-8               2,951

SR-17            1,643

RI-4               1,501

SR-12               877

A-1                   521

SR-30               516

RI-10                370

RR-90                   0

It appears that the total number of single family residential parcels in Glendale is 49,451. There are other types of residential housing not included in this list – multi-family (apartments, condos, town homes, etc.). These figures reflect single family parcel sizes only. Although these figures are a year and a half old, the basic ratios will remain consistent.

Please note there are 1,501 of the R 1-4 parcels throughout the entire city. That is .03% of all of the lot sizes currently in Glendale. Stonehaven proposes 616 lots (44% of the entire project) of R 1-4 (4,000 SF and 4,500 SF) within its new plan. If they reflected the .03% of the existent R 1-4 lot sizes within Glendale, Stonehaven’s proposed total of 1,392 homes would have only 42 of the R 1-4 lots. Instead they are proposing to increase the total number of R 1-4 in all of Glendale by almost 50%…all in one spot…Stonehaven.

It is important to note that the vast majority of lot sizes in Glendale are R 1-6 for a total of 35,793. I have noted in previous blogs the following facts:

  • Zip code 85310 within Glendale ranks 24th out of 25 of the wealthiest zip codes in the Phoenix Metro area
  • Glendale has the highest poverty rate in the Phoenix Metro area
  • Glendale has the second to the lowest median household income in the Phoenix Metro area

It is obvious from looking at the numbers above that Glendale lacks large lots with large homes needed to turn these startling numbers around. In other words, Glendale needs to Upgrade. The question that must be answered by the proponents of the changes to the 2016 approved Stonehaven plan is this, “with facts to support your assertion, how does Stonehaven Upgrade Glendale?”

Here’s an alternative proposal. Glendale’s zip code 85310 is one of the wealthiest 25 zip codes in the Valley. Let’s encourage another 85310 on this parcel. The yield would be an estimated 800 homes on 10,000 SF and 12,000 SF lots. It would go a long way toward upgrading Glendale’s image and desirability.

Rovey Farm Estates is comparable in size at 300 acres and contains about 800 homes. You won’t find a 4,000 SF, 4,500 SF, 5,000 SF or 6,000 SF lot within it. The smallest lot size is 7,000 SF. Here is a real life anecdote. Some friends bought a home on a 7,000 SF lot in Rovey Farm Estates during the depth of our recent recession. They paid about $180,000 for it. Their home was recently appraised for $380,000…nearly $400,000.

Stonehaven proponents say there is no market for large lots and large homes. They claim teeny lots with teeny homes create diversity and flexibility to meet current market demands. These are merely code words to justify the density they propose. They say these small lots will appeal to millennials and “empty-nesters.” Yet they persist in using 1970’s style planning by placing these, small, undesirable lots behind or adjacent to the commercial parcels within Stonehaven. Some homes will be as close as 50 feet away from the commercial parcels which consists of their concept of a “restaurant row” and a grocery store center. I hope these millennials and “empty-nesters” enjoy the smells of food cooking emanating from the restaurants and the sounds of delivery trucks at 4 AM at the back of the grocery store.

I can’t help but feel like the boy who said, “The emperor has no clothes.” His declaration released the constraints of others who dared not state the obvious. The John F. Long Trust and Pulte Homes act as if they are doing Glendale a favor by making a $400 million dollar investment. The obvious and unstated is that they are in this project to make money and their $400 million dollar investment will repay them handsomely…and don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in the American ethic of profitability but not at the expense of an entire community.

It’s time for this city council to take a stand and send a strong message to the residential development community. That message is that we won’t settle. We deserve better. We are prepared to deny projects that do not contribute to raising Glendale residents’ median income levels and do nothing to reduce Glendale’s poverty rate. We are prepared to walk away from this deal. We are prepared to embrace projects that add real value to the community…and Upgrade Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

During the month of May the Glendale City Council passed some significant issues:

  • It disbanded the citizen Disabilities Commission and replaced it with a Human Relations Commission. This commission’s goal is to establish unity and understanding among the many diverse groups in today’s society.
  • It passed my initiative of establishing a temporary Council subcommittee on business. The focus will be to make Glendale an even easier and a friendlier environment for new businesses wishing to locate here or existent businesses wishing to expand or renovate.
  • It is about to consider passing a resolution in support of establishing greater data transparency for citizens. Here is the link to a survey asking for your opinion: https://mymadison.io/documents/city-of-glendale-draft-open-data-resolution .

 Glendale has been rated the number one emerging destination in the country, as ranked by the international on-line vacation search engine, Trivago. Based on data collected by Trivago that measures US destinations, Glendale saw an online increase of 43% in visits by domestic travelers over this time last year.

On Saturday, June 3, at 9 a.m. members of the Glendale City Council and Parks & Recreation staff will hold a ceremony at Rose Lane Aquatics Center, 5003 W. Marlette Ave., to dedicate a plaque in honor of Phil Lieberman, the long-time councilman for the Cactus District. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the aquatics center will open for swimming early, at 10 a.m. with free admission for the day paid by Vice Mayor Ian Hugh. Attendees are reminded that the pool has a limited capacity; therefore admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

I served for many years with Councilmember Lieberman and I am proud of our friendship. Phil was in many ways, larger than life. I miss him and his extraordinary grasp of numbers, especially budget numbers. He is missed by so many who knew him and loved him. Please join me in celebrating Phil’s life and service to Glendale.

The State of Arizona settled its dispute with the Tohono O’odham’s casino signaling that it was willing to grant them a license in return for their promise not to build any more casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. With the granting of this coveted license it is now up to the Tohono O’odham to follow through to build a Class A resort, casino, restaurants, etc.

I have historically been opposed to the casino. However, it is time to recognize that it is a done deal. As I have stated publically, if and when the Tohono O’odham brings a request before city council, I will give the request a full and fair hearing.

The citizen Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 to deny the Stonehaven residential subdivision request for dramatic changes to its original plan approved by the City Council in April of 2016. The residents of the Yucca district and I thank them for listening to our concerns and supporting our interests.

Stonehaven is scheduled to be heard and voted upon by the city council on June 27th. The residents hope that the city council will listen to their concerns and represent the citizens in this matter. Look for a future blog or two on Stonehaven.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In the context of the current discussion about the proposed Stonehaven residential development many readers have asked me to repost this blog.

Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state. Here is the ranking of the ten largest cities in the state:

  • Phoenix
  • Tucson
  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Gilbert
  • Glendale
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Peoria

Glendale has the lowest average median income of the 10 largest cities.

Glendale has the second highest poverty rate of those 10 cities.

Another media story shows that of the 25 wealthiest zip codes in Maricopa County Glendale has but one…85310…ranked 24th out of 25.

Glendale is a very diverse community:

  •     Caucasian                     50%
  •     Hispanic or Latino       37%
  •     Afro-American               6%
  •     Asian                                4%

Today we are going to examine why these facts drive development (or the lack of it) and also what needs to occur in order to improve or “upgrade” Glendale development to enhance our citizen’s quality of life and also make Glendale more competitive obtaining quality commercial/residential projects.

What can Glendale do to turn these numbers around? How does Glendale raise the average median income, lower its poverty rate and have more of its zip codes labeled as “the wealthiest”? It must embrace a new strategy toward future development and a new strategy to remediate some of its struggling neighborhoods.

So let us add some new facts and start to look for effective and reasonable solutions to Upgrade Glendale.

A square mile between Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road; 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue; in zip code 85301 is ringed by 10…yes, 10…low income multi-family apartment complexes? Were you aware that the density of package liquor stores and bars is the highest in zip code 85301? In an effort to upgrade south Glendale shouldn’t Council and the Planning Department be asking, when any developer or business seeks to locate in this area, does this project upgrade the area? Does it serve a family-oriented need? Does this project make the quality of life better for these neighborhoods or are we simply allowing more of the same because it’s easier not to fight the fight for quality commercial and residential development? If developers say they will walk away from a project because that is all that a certain area merits, perhaps the new Glendale paradigm is to let them. If we develop new standards of quality development and advise the development community that is what we expect and will allow, then that is what we will get.

The majority of Glendale’s residential base is comprised of starter homes and middle class homes. The home median value in Glendale is $183,300. Many new residential developments have a price point between $220,000 and $250,000. To some that may seem to be expensive but it is not in today’s market.

Where does one find big, beautiful, expensive homes on large lots? Why, zip code 85310. You can count on no more than two hands enclaves of large lot, expensive homes throughout Glendale. It is time to stop allowing the development community  build to the lowest common denominator of an area and demand that they build adhering to a philosophy of upgrading, not downgrading or adding more of the same in an area.

Glendale must stop allowing developers of infill projects greater and greater residential densities. I once learned that Glendale loses approximately $200 a year per home when providing basic services such as public safety, libraries, parks, streets, water, sewer and garbage collection. What that means is that Glendale spends more in services per home than that home earns in revenue for the city in terms of property taxes, sales taxes, etc. So, how is this imbalance made up? By commercial development with the property taxes and the sales taxes they pay to the city. I’m sure the figure has changed and I don’t know the current number however I plan on asking staff for a new current assessment.

Upscale businesses offering high paying jobs go a long way to offsetting the loss of revenue from the city’s cost of providing its basic services to homes. So how can we get the Intel’s of the world to locate in Glendale?

The quality of its workforce is the life’s blood of any major corporation. These corporations desire to locate where they can attract a highly educated, skilled employee base.

That’s where Glendale’s schools play a major role and unfortunately it is an area over which Glendale has no control. Many, not all, of Glendale’s schools have underperforming high school graduation rates with much of their student populations not moving on to college or technical training. Glendale’s primary and secondary educational system is failing to prepare students to become college or technically bound. They are failing to help the city to attract the quality work force needed to attract the Intel’s. The kinds of corporations we must seek to attract have employees who want to be assured that their children will have access to outstanding educational opportunities. These employees also seek quality, upscale housing with great quality of life amenities. They also require nearby access not just to fast food establishments but to upscale dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities. While a smattering of those kinds of quality of life issues are met in a few Glendale enclaves there is not enough of a mass to attract the kinds of employment providers the city seeks.

I contend a rising tide lifts all boats.

Isn’t it time to upgrade every Glendale resident’s quality of life? Isn’t it time to provide our residents with an abundance of good paying job opportunities? Shouldn’t it be in safe neighborhoods? Shouldn’t it be with Class A dining, shopping, leisure and entertainment opportunities throughout all of Glendale? We can do that by insisting and conveying to developers of commercial and residential properties that whether it is an infill parcel or raw land, our expectations for development are stringent. That Glendale now demands a new forward looking vision.

In a coming blog we will examine how Glendale government can move past prior history, Glendale school districts may help both their students now and after graduation and residents can actively engage in this new vision.

© Joyce Clark, 2017          

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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