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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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.

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.

Hold on to your hats, folks. This will be a rather long opinion piece as I have much to say.

I am mindfully aware that one of the prime directives of my job as a councilmember is to represent my constituency…the residents of the Yucca district. Their voice is my voice. They do not possess the power, money and privilege of the pro-Stonehaven contingent. Over 1,000 of my district residents have signed a petition in opposition to Stonehaven’s latest version of its proposed residential plan. These are the people who live in adjoining neighborhoods and will receive the full negative brunt of this proposal. They are the people for whom I speak.

Since this is my last term as a councilmember I possess a precious freedom that no others serving on Glendale’s council may have and that is, complete freedom. I can advocate for and take positions that I believe to be right without fear of retribution when the next election season rolls around. In this context, the opinions I am about to express regarding the Stonehaven application are mine and offered without fear or favor. Some will agree and others will disagree. That is to be expected.

Just as we have all heard of the Washington “establishment” aimed at protecting its power, money and privilege, every community in the country, large or small, has its own version of the “establishment.” Glendale is no different.

Lately, the local Chamber, the local newspaper and the local fire union (no surprise there) have announced their support for the latest iteration of Stonehaven. They all represent elements of Glendale’s “establishment.” The “establishment” circles the wagons when one of their own is in danger for that danger could spread and diminish them as well. All it takes is a well placed phone call or conversation with the “right” people. In “establishment” code it’s a plea for help with the veiled notion that it may be their ox gored next and if they expect reciprocal support, then it’s time to ante up.

Then we have the city’s Planning Department. I understand the tremendous pressure they are experiencing. When the Stonehaven applicants proposed 3,000 square foot lots, the Planning Department made it clear that it could not support the concept for Glendale doesn’t even have a zoning classification for 3,000 SF lot sizes. Hence the applicant’s quick pivot to 4,000/4,500 SF lots for Glendale does possess such a zoning classification. The Planning Department cannot be discriminatory and if it has accepted other projects with 4,000 square foot lots, it must be fair and do so in this case. You will hear the statement from the Planning Department that the Stonehaven amendment is “consistent” with Glendale’s General Plan.

But what you will not hear is that 4,000/4,500 SF lots have never been implemented on such a large scale. Yes, Glendale has seen small tracts of such sized lots and it may be used on small-scale infill projects. Hence the Planning Department’s statement of “consistency” with the General Plan. But it has never, in the city’s history, been used where 44% of a new 365 acre subdivision will have such small lots. It is incumbent upon the Planning Department to show where a subdivision of similar size and scope was permitted with at least 40% of the project consisting of 4,000/4,500 square foot lots. If that is their position I expect them to defend it with some relevant examples.

The pro-Stonehaven contingent is touting their $400 million dollar investment in Glendale implying that we should be ever so grateful. Don’t kid yourselves. They are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. We’ve all seen the term, Return on Investment (ROI). That $400 million dollar investment will reap them a hefty profit (ROI). How much? Only they know but we can assume it is substantial or they wouldn’t be pulling out all of the stops to make it happen.

The Stonehaven proponents also tout the benefit of the connectivity to be derived from the construction of Bethany Home Road between 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue. In an agreement between the city and the John F. Long Trust Bethany Home Road does not have to be completed until January 1, 2021.  What you don’t hear is that the city will pay $1.2 million for the north half of Bethany’s right-of-way (ROW). Where will this payment come from? From the Development Impact Fees (DIF) paid to the city.  Each home buyer pays DIF as it is incorporated by the developer into the price of each home in this subdivision. DIF is used to improve the infrastructure surrounding the new development in terms of libraries, parks, roads, etc. Not in this case, the DIF will be used to pay for right-of-way. This is precedent setting for historically the city has not had to pay for ROW for a new subdivision.

The applicants like to refer to Stonehaven as an “infill” project. Here are some conclusions from national studies done on infill:

  1. The smaller homes associated with the increased density of the project will generate lower property tax revenues, yet it increases the burden on the city’s cost for the provision of services as the new residents use them.
  2. Existent nearby residents bear all of the costs associated with this new infill development in increased traffic and congestion in local schools even though it may provide a benefit to the community as a whole as the city receives state shared revenue benefits from an increase in population.
  3. There is a negative impact for those properties in close proximity to the new, denser subdivision, but a positive impact for those properties at a greater distance.
  4. Lower income neighborhoods tend to benefit from infill development and higher income areas had property values decline.
  5. Larger projects, such as this one, magnify the negative effects more so than smaller infill projects.

What did the April 16, 2016 approved Stonehaven plan consist of? It was a balanced plan that the adjacent neighborhoods accepted.

  • R 1-5 (5,500 SF lots) on 43% of site area
  • R 1-7 (7,000 SF lots) on 36% of site area
  • R 1-8 (8,000 SF lots) on 21% of site area

Now look at the changes requested in the new proposal.

  • R 1-4 (4,000 and 4,500) SF lots on 44% of site
  • R 1-5 (5,000 SF lots) on 22.4% of site area
  • R 1-6 (6,000 SF lots) on 17.9% of site area
  • R 1-7 (7,000 SF lots) on 16% of site area

As a comparison Rovey Farm Estates built 10 years ago is a subdivision of 300 acres north of this proposed project. It is comparable in many ways and has 800 lots ranging in size from 7,000 to 17,000 SF. More recent subdivisions close by such as Boardwalk Place built in 2010 has lot sizes from 7,000 to 12,000 SF and the newest subdivision still under construction is Catania, with lot sizes that start at 5,000 SF. Yet another new subdivision, Horizons at Camelback, has lot sizes ranging from 5, 750 SF to 9, 179 SF. All of these subdivisions demonstrate lot size diversity but not one of them in west Glendale has lot sizes as small as 4,000/4,500 square feet.

The applicant rationalizes the diversity of small lots as more appealing to millennials. Yet an article in the May 12,2017 Wall Street Journal said, “Outside Las Vegas, Tri Pointe home builders has introduced a new-home design that is specifically targeted to millennial buyers, featuring indoor-outdoor patio areas and deck spaces, as well as a separate downstairs bedroom and bathroom suite that could be rented out to a housemate. Building executives said one challenge is that many are buying first homes later in life, meaning they have higher incomes and greater expectations molded by years of living in downtown luxury rentals.”

Perhaps the most impactful to adjacent neighborhoods and families is increased traffic and overcrowded schools. Before Bethany Home Road is completed in January of 2021 and while Stonehaven is being built out, daily traffic trips on Camelback will grow from its current daily count of 25,000 to over double, 54,000 trips. When Bethany is completed the daily trip count on Camelback will drop to 41,000, considerably more than the current count of 25,000. Similar situations occur on 83rd Ave. and 91st Ave. between Bethany and Camelback. This subdivision will intensify local traffic even with the eventual completion of Bethany Home Road.

Who is most impacted by this traffic increase? The Camelback Park subdivision just east of Stonehaven will bear the brunt as well as the traffic to Sunset Ridge Elementary School. 87th Avenue is one of only two primary entries for Camelback Park residents. Now it will also serve as a primary entry for Stonehaven. I am very concerned for the Camelback Park residents for even with a widened 87th Avenue their ability to get in and out of their subdivision will be aversely compromised.

These very same residents will face other difficulties as a result of Stonehaven. While Stonehaven offers the requisite 15% of park/open space, the applicants emphasize and seem to rely upon the connectivity of Stonehaven to Camelback Park’s 3 acre Pasadena Park, Sunset Ridge’s joint 10 acre school/city park and of course, the 20 year, still unfinished Heroes Park. While Stonehaven has 9.1 acres of community park, the balance of 50 acres of open space includes entryway landscaping, perimeter landscaping, street landscaping and the inevitable retention areas doubling as open space and trails.

Pulte currently has about 20 subdivisions. In one of them, Parkside at Anthem, Florence, the house price starts at $146,990. At that subdivision Pulte is offering a recreation center with indoor rock climbing and an indoor basketball court along with a splash water park, lighted tennis courts and a softball stadium. At its Bella Via subdivision, Mesa, they offer adventure playgrounds, basketball courts, a dog park and an amphitheater. Pulte is offering no such amenities in Stonehaven. Why not?

There is no doubt that the two closest elementary schools, Sunset Ridge and Desert Mirage, will be under tremendous pressure. The applicants have received approval from the Pendergast Elementary School District and the Tolleson Union High School district. Little noted is another common practice usually unrecognized by the general public.  Built into the cost of every Stonehaven home will be a dollar amount that will be donated to the school districts to offset the cost of accommodating new students. Could any school district’s, including these districts, motive for approval of this increased density be the result of this typical practice of a home builder donation per house built? It is quite possible that the Pendergast School district will have to accommodate another estimated 1,000 K-8 students. In the last Pendergast bond issue recently approved by voters there is money to expand Sunset Ridge Elementary School but there is nothing allotted for an expansion of Desert Mirage Elementary School.

Finally Stonehaven proponents emphasize the $40 million the city will derive in taxes. In that amount they even count the utilities tax that we pay on our phone, cable bills, etc. They forget to mention this amount is over the lifetime of the project…10 years or better. They make it sound as if the city will receive this amount in one fell swoop.

However, one interesting factoid I learned many years ago is that roof tops (homes) do not pay for themselves on a long term annual basis. In other words, a city loses about $200 per home annually (that is an old figure. I don’t know the current figure). What does that mean? The amount of annual tax generated per home in sales tax, property tax, etc., does not cover the cost of services provided by a city. That is why the life blood of any city isn’t in roof tops but in its commercial, retail, manufacturing, etc. development for those facilities produce taxes that help to offset the loss caused by homes.

This proposed project does not hold the promise of upgrading Glendale. It reminds me of old, 1970s zoning and planning where the smallest lots and consequently the smallest homes are placed behind or adjacent to commercial development. That’s the promise of the Stonehaven plan for the 4,000 SF and the 4,500 SF lots are behind the proposed grocery store center and the proposed restaurant row.  Can you imagine millennials or seniors wanting to live behind a grocery store or restaurant with the lights, the smells and the noise of delivery trucks an estimated 35 feet away from their property?

This kind of plan also reminds me of the old Maryvale. The only difference being is that at least John F. Long offered the public 6,000 SF sized lots…not lots of 4,000 or 4,500 SF in size. This proposed amendment and zoning does not upgrade our community. This large, 365 acre parcel of land deserves to be developed in a manner designed to showcase living in west Glendale and to which all can point with pride.  How much pride will these 4,000 and 4,500 SF lots and homes evoke 5 or 10 years after they are built?

What do power, money and privilege get? They get their way… at the expense of nearby residents who live in stable communities and who don’t want the increased traffic, school overcrowding, and even more pressure on their scant park system. They don’t want small lots with small homes destined to become a sea of rentals harvesting nothing but lower property values for those residents surrounding it.

What was so terrible about the existing, approved plan of 2016? Nothing with one exception…it isn’t dense enough for the applicants. Do you ever wonder how much an additional 204 homes will raise the profitability quotient for those involved? And is it worth it… to us?

© 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.

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and

Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca District

 

 

          

 

Present The Lunch Mob

Friday, May 19th at

Tavern+Bowl Westgate

6770 N. Sunrise Blvd. Ste G-100, Glendale, Arizona 85305

 Cost: Each attendee goes ‘dutch’

Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

*If you can’t make it during these times, stop by for a late lunch!

Everyone is welcome to attend – family, friends, co-workers!

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the  Westgate Commercial Community.
Come out to experience Tavern+Bowl’s scratch kitchen
and complimentary bowling! In conjunction with the Lunch Mob we will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:45 am to welcome them to Glendale and the Chamber!  

Support small businesses in your community and enjoy a ‘dutch’ lunch at a local restaurant with your favorite chamber!

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce has partnered with our Glendale City Councilmembers to ‘mob’ Glendale restaurants for lunch throughout the summer months. 

Upcoming Lunch Mobs:

·       Friday, June 2nd from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Anaya’s Fresh Mexican Restaurant with

          Chief of Police Rick St. John

·       Friday, June 16th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Dolce Vino Wine Bar Italian Cuisine

with Vice Mayor Ian Hugh

·       Friday, July 28 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at The Rogue Tomato

           with Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff

 

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 623-937-4754| glendaleazchamber.org

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 5800 West Glenn Drive, Suite 275, Glendale, AZ 85301

Would you like to attend a FREE spring training game at Camelback Ranch this month?
As your Yucca district councilmember I have 14 free tickets for each of the following games:

Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 1:05 PM
 
  • The tickets will be distributed to a non-profit organization, i.e., church group, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kiwanis, Rotary, Glendale Ambassadors, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
  • Some members of the group must be Yucca district residents.
  • Groups of adults are welcome.
  • If the group is comprised of minor children, there must be 1 adult for each 3 children.
  • In order to be eligible please share a recent community-oriented activity in which your group participated or organized.
  • First come, first served.
Please contact Councilmember Clark via email at either of these addresses: clarkjv@aol.com or jclark@glendaleaz.com
What a great way to spend a spring afternoon!
This gift is just a small token of my appreciation for all that you do in support of our community.
Councilmember Joyce Clark
Yucca district, City of Glendale

ALL ARE WELCOME!

MY SPECIAL GUEST IS GLENDALE’S VICE MAYOR IAN HUGH

People always wonder and ask what a councilmember really does. Over the next four years of my term as the Yucca district councilmember I may be able to provide you with some answers. I was reelected as the Yucca district councilmember in August of 2016.

After the formal city council acceptance of the Canvass of Votes I began to receive phone calls and requests for meetings. Prior to officially taking office on December 13, 2016 I spent several hundred hours in October and November preparing for office and participating as a councilmember elect.  Since the beginning of October I have had approximately 30 luncheon meetings with community stakeholders, city staff and city councilmembers; more than a dozen “coffee” meetings primarily with residential development interests; and attended more than a half dozen city/community events from HOA annual meetings, to an COG airport open house to the Glendale Christmas parade.

As councilmember elect I began receiving council material for voting meetings and workshops. I spent hours reviewing the material and firing off memos to the city manager and staff asking for answers to questions I had as councilmember elect.  I also personally attended city council voting meetings and workshops on Tuesdays prior to taking office.

Much time was spent reconnecting with various stakeholders and rebuilding positive relationships with them. Another chunk of time was used to bring me up to speed on various city and Yucca district issues by meeting with city personnel. Yet more time was used to prepare for council meetings and to attend various city events.

I suspect since councilmembers are usually seen only on Glendale’s Cable 11 TV, most people think that is all that they do. Not true. It’s a major time commitment with irregular work hours. A simple lunch meeting can easily take 2 hours if you include travel time. A city function such as a public community event or a neighborhood meeting will also consume several hours and many are evening events. The same can be said for a formal council meeting or workshop. Preparation time for council meetings and workshops can easily take a day or more, especially if a councilmember requires meetings or communications with various city staff for further clarification on issues.

A city councilmember has three major responsibilities: to make decisions regarding the city’s public policy on a potpourri of issues; to represent the interests and points of view of Glendale’s residents, especially one’s district constituents; and to represent the leadership of Glendale not only at city functions but at local, regional, state and national venues and organizations.

To accomplish all of these responsibilities each councilmember has access to two taxpayer-funded budgets. The first is a Professional Development budget of $18,000 annually. These funds may be used for trips such as the state or national League of Cities and Towns annual meetings. The money can be used for dues/membership fees to organizations and or activities a councilmember needs to connect to the community, such as the local Chamber of Commerce or the WestMarc Annual State of the State Dinner. This budget can be used for subscriptions to publications such as the Phoenix Business Journal. These are activities that enhance the councilmember’s effectiveness and would not be an ordinary activity or expense as a private citizen. Lastly it can be used to support the ordinary functions of the office such as business cards, letterhead, a computer or tablet or activities such as contributions for flowers for a memorial service of a prominent Glendale personage.

The second councilmember budget is a District Improvement budget of $15,000 annually. It is to be used for minor infrastructure improvements within the councilmember’s district. It can be used in parks to plant trees, do minor repairs to park equipment, repaint park equipment. It can be used to make neighborhood improvements, such as repair of subdivision monument signage. It can also be used for examples such as landscape improvements to a public element within a subdivision or installation or repair of curb, gutter or sidewalks. Some councilmembers have used these funds to make contributions to non-profit organizations or to sponsor city events. I, personally, do not believe that these activities are an appropriate use of taxpayer funded public infrastructure improvements.

I plan on using my council Professional Development budget for 2 major functions: to support the rental cost of meeting space and refreshments for regular Yucca district meetings; and to create, print and mail a Spring and Fall edition of the Yucca district newsletter to every household that has a water bill. One newsletter mailing to Yucca residents is anticipated to cost between $5,000 to $7,000 (primary cost is postage). Even though it is a major expense, I believe it is important to provide this mailing because not everyone has access to a computer and some residents, especially seniors, may not be computer literate enough to access all city material available on the internet. I will continue to use social media, my Facebook page, Twitter and my blog page, www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com as major means of outreach to those Yucca district residents who are computer savvy and regularly visit these sites.

In December I have spent the following amounts from my Professional Development budget with an inherited starting balance from the former councilmember of $13,113.93:

·       $87.28 for Councilmember business cards

·       $299.21 for Councilmember letterhead stationery and envelopes

·       $45.86 for a Councilmember name plate and business card holder for my desk

·       $100.00 as my portion of the cost for rental of the Sahuaro fruit packing shed for a mayor and council sponsored event inviting all West Valley mayors and councils

I did not have to buy a tablet to conduct city business as I inherited the former councilmember’s city tablet. After deducting these December, 2016 expenses my Professional Development budget has a January 1, 2017 starting balance of $12,581.58. Councilmembers recently directed staff to publish their monthly expenditures and these expenditures can be found at: http://www.glendaleaz.com/CityCouncil/FinancialStatements.cfm .

I inherited an Infrastructure budget of $12,500 from the former councilmember. I need your help. This is where you come in. If you are a Yucca district resident I suspect you have seen many areas of our district that need repair. Have you seen subdivision monument signage in need of repair? Or have you seen one of our district parks that could use some further landscaping or repair/painting of equipment? Perhaps you have seen spots in need of curb, gutter or sidewalk repair? These funds can be used on city property or public right of way for improvements. Or do you have an idea for a public project with a cost of no more than $12,000?

I am soliciting suggestions from you until January 31, 2017. Any and all ideas are most welcome. This is your opportunity to participate in your local government. Please submit your suggestions with the following information, your name, and your return email address or phone number; the address of problem; description of the suggested improvement; and if you can, include a photo of the problem area. You may send the information to: clarkjv@aol.com; jclark@glendaleaz.com; post a comment to my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/joyce.clark.338  ; or post a comment to this blog topic.

I believe a councilmember’s Professional Development budget should be used primarily for outreach to either one’s constituents or to the community-at-large. That is why I intend to use it to hold district meetings and to publish district information. I also intend to use it for councilmember related memberships and activities. As a private citizen there are many events, local and regional, I would not be required to attend but as a councilmember I would be expected to participate. I will use this budget to attend local and regional dinners and conferences.

A councilmember’s Infrastructure Improvement budget was designed to allow a councilmember to invest in improving his or her district. The intent when it was created was not to grant money to non-profits. It is always possible that a councilmember could grant money from this budget to a non-profit that constituents could think was inappropriate. I will use this budget to make minor district improvements.

Next blog up…good news about the west branch library!

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

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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