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.

If the proponents of Stonehaven are to be believed…hmmm…it is their intent to offer “diversity and flexibility” to attract millennials, seniors and empty nesters to their smallest lot sizes of 4,000 SF and 4,500 SF. In order to attract these potential buying groups it is essential that Stonehaven provide amenities equal to or greater than the sites at which they have been residing. It has been reported repeatedly in various media that these groups are used to a certain lifestyle including upgraded amenities and expect the same as they make a major investment in a home.

This is from the Stonehaven PAD application, page 21, Section 4.4.1, Active and Passive Open Space, “ Stonehaven will provide an abundance of active and passive open spaces, as depicted on Figure 11, Open Space Master Plan ( I have provided a copy of the plan below). Active open spaces will be evenly distributed throughout the community, providing a variety of recreational opportunities within close proximity to all residents. Amenities will include numerous tot lots, sport courts, soccer fields, ramadas, picnic areas, informal play areas coupled with retention, and trails connecting the overall open space center of the community, providing a community-wide amenity for the use and enjoyment of all residents. Additional passive open spaces will be provided throughout the community along primary entry features, along primary roadways, and between active open space areas connecting the community-wide open space system and providing an open, attractive environment. Retention basins will be integrated into the active and passive open space system, while the primary active amenities such as tot lots and sport courts will remain dry during normal rainfall events.”

Open Space Master Plan

In some parts of the Stonehaven PAD application it is very short on detail and this area is one such. They state that there is 60 acres of open space, both active and passive, provided meeting the minimum of 15% of open space required by the city. This appears to be accurate but it’s difficult to confirm since no data is provided on how much acreage of the open space is active and how much is passive. They do offer that the community park will be 9.1 acres. If you look at their map, there seems to be approximately 10 small pocket parks perhaps a half an acre to an acre in size. Again, they provide no data so it is hard to be exact.

Stonehaven looking west from Sunset Ridge Park

What will the potential home buyer in Stonehaven find? A 9.1 acre community park that directly abuts the 5 acre city park (Glendale taxpayer funded) next to Sunset Elementary School. Why go to the expense of putting a tot lot or basketball park in their 9.1 acre community park when the city has already has those amenities in its park so conveniently close?      

Sunset Ridge Park

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Park looking northeast

Reference is also made to the Grand Canal Linear Park (city of Glendale and Maricopa County funded); Camelback Park subdivision’s small 3 acre park (with another convenient access route from Stonehaven); and Heroes Park (Glendale taxpayer funded and still unfinished after 20 years).

Stonehaven does not appear to offer much active open space and instead relies on its residents having access to and using city funded active recreation areas. Stonehaven is like a Remora. A Remora is a small fish that purposefully and continually swims with a shark. They have a symbiotic relationship.  Stonehaven, the Remora, appears to have purposefully skimped on active open space relying instead on nearby city, taxpayer funded amenities (the shark).

Keep in mind that a lot of the green area on their Open Space map is street landscaping on the road system, internal streets and entryways. How much acreage is devoted to landscaping? You can’t tell because there is no hard data provided. Are these deliberate omissions of fact? Who knows? If they don’t provide hard data they can’t be criticized if it is insufficient.

It is also interesting to note that Pulte has no problem creating amenities for their other 18 subdivision under construction throughout the valley. Here’s a list of active amenities they offer elsewhere:

  • splash water park
  • indoor rock climbing wall
  • indoor basketball courts
  • lighted tennis courts, softball stadium
  • community pool
  • basketball courts
  • volleyball courts
  • adventure playgrounds
  • dog park
  • amphitheater

Where are these kinds of amenities designed to attract millennials, empty nesters and seniors? Instead the small 4,000 SF, 4,500 SF and 5,500 SF lots are located behind or adjacent to their planned commercial areas consisting of “restaurant row” and a planned grocery center. The lack of active amenities coupled with the location of the small lots is not designed to attract millennials, seniors and empty nesters. The central question is, would you select a home on a 4,000 SF lot with little to no front, side and back yards; behind or adjacent to the commercial centers with a small pocket park that also serves the subdivision’s need for water retention; and has a 9.1 acre community park with sparse amenities serving the needs of 1,391 other homes? If your answer is ‘no’ then how can you possibly support the changes Stonehaven proponents are seeking?

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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