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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.

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.

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.

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.

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT TO WEAR RED!

JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORS IN

OPPOSITION TO STONEHAVEN

GLENDALE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

MAY 18, 2017 AT 6 PM

GLENDALE COUNCIL CHAMBERS

59TH AVE AND GRAND AVE

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