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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.

For the past twenty years in my role as Yucca District councilmember a major goal has always been to preserve 83rd Avenue as a large lot corridor. Nearly every acre of land between Bethany Home Road and Camelback Road on either side of 83rd Avenue based upon Glendale’s General Plan is classified as Low Density Residential (1 to 2.5 dwelling units to an acre) and is zoned SR-17 (Suburban Residence, minimum lot size 17,000) and has been since the 1980s.

If you travel north on 83rd Avenue from Camelback Road to Bethany on the east there is Orange Drive (large lot properties); an area of custom-built homes on large lots centered around Georgia Avenue; Missouri Estates (circa 2006), a large lot gated community; and Montebello Drive (large lot properties). On the west side of 83rd Avenue traveling north, there is a series of 4 homesteads all on 4 acres or more; Oregon Avenue (large lot properties); then Missouri Ranch, a large lot subdivision; and even the dreaded Stonehaven residential development has its largest lots abutting 83rd Avenue.

About a month or so ago I was invited to meet with Jon Froke, representing the property owner at 5136 N. 83rd Avenue, and the daughter of the property owner. They indicated that her parents, owners of the property, had become older and were ready to sell their 4.58 acres. They asked what I thought would be appropriate for the site and I indicated that historically 83rd Avenue is a large lot corridor and had been so for at least 30 years.

This is something Jon Froke knows quite well. For years he worked in Glendale’s Planning Department ending his career in Glendale as its Planning Director. He had worked with me in the past to preserve 83rd Avenue as one of the very few large lot corridors in Glendale.

Now he works for clients that want to maximize the sale of their properties and assists them in getting zoning that ensures that goal. I understand the property owners’ desire to sell their property at the best possible price per acre. How is that achieved? By getting city permission (it is called ‘entitlement’) to place as many residential units per acre as possible. That is why the property owners are asking to change the zoning from SR-17 (Suburban Residence, 1 to 2.5 housing units to the acre) to R-2 (Mixed Residence, up to 12 housing units to the acre). As important as it is for the property owners to get as much as possible for their land, it is not appropriate to do so at the expenses of every large lot owner in this incredibly special 83rd Avenue corridor. It also sets an example for the 3 large lot property owners to the north of this parcel that they, too, will be able to succeed in getting the same zoning, R-2, for their land. It is a poor precedent for this area.

According to Glendale code, those on the Planning Department’s persons of interest list and property owners within 300 feet of the boundaries of this parcel can receive notification letters of changes or neighborhood meetings. This is the letter that was sent out:

June 4, 2021

Adam Froke

Jon M. Froke Urban Planning LLC

11225 North 28th Drive, Suite D 105

Phoenix, AZ 85029

(623) 256-9207

adam@frokeurbanplanning.co

Subject: Village 83

Dear Neighbor,

This letter is to inform you that I am applying for a General Plan Amendment and Rezoning Application with the City of Glendale. The property is located along 83rd Avenue about 1,000 feet north of Camelback Road and the street address is 5136 North 83rd Avenue. The property is in the Yucca District. The request is for a General Plan Amendment from LDR 2.5, Low Density Residential to MHDR 12, Medium High Density Residential and a rezoning from SR-17, Suburban Residence to R-2, Mixed Residence.

The project envisions redeveloping a single-family home into a multi-family development featuring attached townhomes. The entire lot is 4.58 acres, and the units are envisioned to be modern and high-quality, having a height of no more than 30 feet. (My editorial note: ‘high-quality’ is a very subjective term. The 30 feet height is what is required in the R-2 zoning district) The property will have a mix of two- and three- bedroom units. (My editorial note: For rent? Or for sale?) We will be working closely with the staff at the City of Glendale to ensure our project meets all development standards and is appropriate to the surrounding area.

I have included a conceptual site plan with this letter for your review. The site plan proposed 36 townhomes to be constructed on the site. However, the R-2 zoning district we are applying for would allow for up to 54 units. (My editorial note: If project is approved expect 54 units as opposed to 36 units) Note that the final design of the site will be developed at a later date. (My editorial note: It sounds as if the property has not been sold to a developer yet as they are waiting to successfully gain entitlement for an R-2 project).

A neighborhood meeting will be held at the property and the date, time and location are provided below. The meeting will be used to provide further details regarding our project and to receive comments and questions from attendees. Refreshments will be provided at the meeting. If you are unable to attend, please write, email or call me at the contact information above. You may also contact George Gehlert with the City of Glendale at (623) 930-2597. Please provide any comments by July 5, 2021.

                            Date:          6/21/2021

                            Time:          6:00 PM

                            Location:    5136 N. 83rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85303

Sincerely,

Adam M. Froke, AICP

Project Manager

Here is their site plan:

This site is most appropriate for about a dozen, large lot (10,000 SF) homes. While the lot sizes are slightly smaller than those that would surround them, they would fit in with the area.

You do not have to have received this letter to attend this neighborhood meeting. Anyone from the general public can attend, learn more and most certainly comment on the appropriateness of this project for this area.

I will be attending this meeting. I urge you to attend as well. Please don’t count on your neighbor doing your job for you. Plan to attend. I especially call on those residents of Orange Drive; Missouri Estates; Montebello Avenue; the Georgia Avenue area; Oregon Avenue; and Missouri Ranch to attend. This proposed project will directly affect you.

It is important that you work together to preserve your property values in this area and your quality of life. As more and more small lot (45 ft. wide) subdivisions are built in Glendale, our large lots become more and more coveted.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

I’ve wanted to write this particular blog for nine months but confidentiality imposed by the principal developers precluded me from doing so.

Last September, the Glendale city council approved documents for the Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. At that time David Leibowitz published an article disparaging the project. Here is the link to his original article: https://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/valley-theme-park-plans-all-smoke-no-sizzle/article_50d85836-f6ab-11ea-a6a8-47e43bc1f48b.html .

In it he said, “Not to be outdone, the Glendale City Council last week approved ‘Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort,’ an 11-acre water paradise purported to include paddle boarding, scuba diving and boogie boarding – plus ‘water jetpacks.’ Whatever the hell those are.

“Naturally, Glendale electeds voted to waive $1 million in fees for the developer and employ a sweetheart financing deal known as a GPLET, which allows the builder to avoid paying property taxes for 25 years. That’s predicated on the project being built, of course, which I doubt. Not to sound cynical, but, like I said, I’ve been following theme park news for years. 

“The projects all follow a similar pattern: They get announced amid much braggadocio, make zero progress for years, then quietly expire.

“In this case, the political burbker du jour was Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who said at the Council meeting: “I am just so excited. … (This is) a blockbuster project that’s going to put Glendale on the map, not just in the Valley but in the Southwest.” Which I’m sure is what some elected yoyo said when the Garden of Eden was built – and with nary a tax break, if you can imagine that.”

Well, Mr. Leibowitz, today was the official groundbreaking for Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale. The project will be completed prior to the Super Bowl of 2023. I think it’s time you pound sand regarding your commentary about this project and I invite you to Crystal Lagoon Island Resort at Glendale when it is opened to pound said sand.

A project of this magnitude is not built nor planned in a day. The sale of the land has been completed at a cost of $27 million. Conceptual plans have been rendered and engineering/architectural plans are nearly completed. So now it is time to begin grading the land and that is exactly what is occurring now.

I suspect that Mr. Leibowitz’s motive for disparaging Glendale’s project had more to do with the election atmosphere in the fall of 2020. Add in his close connection in working with the Glendale fire fighter union. Glendale’s Primary Election was in August, 2020, a month before this blockbuster announcement. In that Primary Liebowitz and the Glendale firefighter union took a whippin’. They had backed and had poured tons of money supporting the opponent of Mayor Weiers and my opponent as well. They lost…again. You would think that they would learn the lesson to not mess with Clark and Weiers.

Liebowitz, stung after another firefighter election loss in Glendale, probably thought his article would be great payback and would be a perfect opportunity to go not to go after not only Glendale but me as well. It was like killing two birds with one stone. In this case, his stones missed their mark. I think we can write off Mr. Liebowitz and his opinions regarding anything Glendale related.

When the official groundbreaking occurred this past Thursday, June 10th, I said repeatedly this is the most significant project to come to Glendale since the arena opened in 2003 and the stadium opened in 2006.

Think about it. Why do so many of us escape to California for vacations? The incredible weather along the coast, of course, but it is the beach and water fun and the myriad of theme parks. I can’t think of a single theme park over there that combines a beach with rides.

That’s what makes Crystal Lagoon Island Resort such a unique venue, especially in the Arizona desert. I’m not sure the public realizes just how much one can do.

  • Do you want to swim, scuba dive, water jet pack or boogie board all day? No problem. You and your family can do that with a lunch break at one of the dozen or so restaurants available.
  • Or maybe it’s a day with the kids or grandkids at the Mattel Amusement Park including Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels rides. Over the coming months Mattel will be announcing more components for their amusement park. So be on the lookout for them.
  • Perhaps the older kids would prefer the “fly”or 4 D theaters similar to the “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
  • Have some visitors? They will be able to stay at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort where 650 hotel rooms will be available. Then you can all meet for a leisurely lunch followed by shopping at one or all five of the themed retail/restaurant island areas.
  • Looking for something unique to show off? Go to the Aerophile’s Aerobar for extraordinary food and drinks 130 feet off the ground. Want to show off the entire Valley of the Sun? Then the tethered hot air balloon rising 400 feet is just the ticket.
  • Need a bit more? Then plan on attending a live outdoor musical concert with well known musical artists nearly every night of the year. More announcements will be made about this element when the principals are ready to do so.

Marry Crystal Lagoon Island Resort with the Westgate/Zanjero area and it becomes a major vacation destination. Want to golf? Go to TopGolf or PopStroke (Tiger Woods designed mini golf). Professional sports venues of NFL football, NHL hockey or MLB spring training baseball await. If your passion is bowling there’s even a bowling alley! Professional shoppers beware as you head off to Tanger Outlets at Westgate or the unique, themed shops at Crystal Lagoon.

Just imagine! When Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in January of 2023, a couple or family can stay at one of the dozen hotels (nearly 2,000 suites available) and be within walking distance of all that I have mentioned above.

I hope I have been able to convey the magnitude of Crystal Lagoon Island Resort and its impact on Glendale with expected visitors of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. It is significant and truly incredible!

So, David Liebowitz…go pound sand…at Crystal Lagoon Island Resort. It’s coming despite your negativism and disbelief.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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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