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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.

There’s a saying, “As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation.” Let’s hope California’s influence has waned and this is no longer true.

The American Dream is under assault across the country, but nowhere is it more evident than in California where social justice activists and Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom are invading single-family home neighborhoods with plans to replace them with multi-unit properties. Expect to see similar action occurring in many other blue states as they rush to fulfill the Biden mandate to build more affordable, multi-family housing.

Recently Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 9. S.B. 9 effectively ended single-family zoning in a state with a population of 40 million. The bill legalizes duplexes statewide and allows people to subdivide single-family lots. California’s cities have lost the power to prevent the building of backyard units. Within the bill, state legislators mandated the reduction of development fees, requires cities to issue permits within a few weeks, and prohibits the requirement of dedicated parking spots.

In San Diego, its city council allowed bonuses for up to 6 units per lot no matter the lot size if some of the new multi-family units are dedicated to low to moderate income households. As a result of S.B 9 and expanded laws in many counties, slightly over ten percent of the state’s new housing (about 13,000 permits) consisting of multi-family units are being built in backyards throughout the state. In Southern California, four-unit multi-family buildings are surging in backyards. One can drive down a street and see a cute little bungalow with a 4-unit apartment complex in its backyard.

There are, of course, unintended consequences. Single family properties are becoming even more unaffordable for purchase by the average homeowner. By allowing these small apartment complexes in backyards, the value of single-family properties has sky rocketed and what was once marginally affordable is now completely unaffordable. Instead, developers are buying up single family lots and adding apartment complexes on the lots.

Add to the mix the plethora of Anti-Discrimination laws in the state. A developer who purchased a single-family lot and then added a 4-unit multi-family apartment complex is, in essence, an absentee landlord. Their reputation proceeds them as they do not care about the quality of the tenancy as long as the rent is paid (by somebody…the state? The feds?). The propensity to increase crime in the neighborhood is always a looming possibility.

Make no mistake. Biden’s ultimate goal is to urbanize the suburbs resulting in all of the things people originally moved away from. The American Dream of a home with a backyard in which the kids can play and the opportunity to become part of a small community is under threat of disappearing. America, as we have always known it and loved it, is slowly being taken away from us.

© 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.

Glendale’s Planning Commission has always been one of the most revered of all of Glendale’s volunteer boards and commissions. This commission has gravitas. The professionalism of its citizen volunteers was extraordinary.

While we may not have agreed with all of their recommendations (I certainly haven’t), we respected their decisions. It pains me to offer that people are beginning to say that this commission may be straying into areas outside their mandate.

The purpose of the Planning Commission, per Section 3.102 of the City’s General Code states, The Planning Commission provides analysis and recommendations to The City Council related to the City’s General Plan, for zoning, ordinance amendments, subdivisions, conditional use permits, and other matters affecting land use, and development within the city.” The city’s website says, “To analyze, review and made recommendations to the City Council regarding land use and development related issues. Holds public hearings regarding these issues.”

The public’s general perception is that the Planning Commission hears proposed development proposals and either recommends approval or disapproval to the City Council. Typically, the City Council accepts the Planning Commission’s recommendations but occasionally it doesn’t. In those cases, the City Council may have further exculpatory information or may consider factors that will bear directly on the proposed development.

 

The current Commission members are:

  • Tom Cole representing the Barrell District
  • Vern Crow living in the Sahuaro District and appointed to represent the Cactus District
  • John Crow (not related to Vern Crow) appointed by the Mayor to fill the At-Large position
  • Daniel Heath representing the Sahuaro District
  • Martin Nowakowski representing the Yucca District
  • Edwin Nyberg representing the Cholla District
  • Warren Wilfong representing the Ocotillo District

Hearing concerns about the Planning Commission’s recent performance, I made it a point to watch the Planning Commission meetings of August 5, 2021, and September 2, 2021. For those of you who are unaware, it is quite easy to do. If you go to the city’s website and click on the City Clerk’s page link a menu appears. Click on ‘city council meetings and agendas’. Once there you can pull up just about any city public meeting and click on the video link.

On August 5, 2021, the Planning Commission heard Ambra Residential Minor General Plan Amendment GPA 21-03 and Rezoning Application ZON 21-07. This proposed subdivision is comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. After a period of discussion the proposal was recommended for approval by the Commission. However, some of the Planning Commission members’ comments were questionable.

Commissioner Wilfong characterized those who move into 45-foot-wide lot communities as “transient residents.” He claimed that those who move into these communities do not stay for more than a few years and then move up and away. He suggested that 45-foot-wide lot proposals before the Commission should be “put aside for a while.” Planning Commission Chairperson Vernon Crow stated, “this commission is right on the limit of accepting these very, very small lots.”

Perception is reality and it could be inferred from these Commissioners’ comments that this body would not approve any future developments comprised of 45-foot-wide lots. If that was their intent, it was inappropriate.

At its September 2, 2021, meeting the Planning Commission heard the Hopewell Rezoning Application, ZON 21-16. This proposal is for several industrial buildings in the Loop 303 area. Commissioners discussed everything but the rezoning application. The applicant presented a conceptual plan for the site. It was by no means the final plat as the applicant had not gone through plan review with the Development Department.

They questioned the number of driveways exiting to Alsup Road. They wanted to see the city’s Transportation Department’s and MDOT’s traffic studies. They wanted to see the applicant’s plan for stormwater retention. They wanted to see the height clearance letter from LAFB. None of these items were germane to the applicant’s rezoning request. They were advised by the Interim Planning Director Tabitha Perry that all these issues would be handled during the plan review process and that the conceptual plan presented was not the final plat.

Still not satisfied, Commissioner Nyberg motioned to table the Rezoning Application until October 7, 2021, while requesting all the material the commissioners discussed (and not relevant to the Rezoning request) be provided to the Commissioners. It passed unanimously.

These recent events led me to recall the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation of denial for the Rezoning and Major General Plan Amendment for Glen Lakes. Please note not all the current Commissioners were on the Commission in August 2020. It was their right to recommend denial because they felt the project was too dense.

However, part of their discussion centered on the city’s sale price of the land. Again, it was inappropriate to the deliberation of a rezoning and general plan amendment. It appeared as if some Commissioners, unhappy with the sale price, considered that factor, in part, in making their recommendation to the City Council. By the way, this was one of those rare occasions when a majority of City Council did not accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approved the rezoning and general plan amendment.

These situations are indicators of a Planning Commission that may have lost its way. Have its members forgotten, or perhaps do not know, their role and responsibilities or what findings are appropriate to consider in granting approval or disapproval? It may be appropriate to have a refresher workshop to review those items. Let’s hope the ‘powers that be’ host just such a workshop. I want to feel confident about our Planning Commission again.

© 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

Recently Tucker Carlson had a segment on affordable housing and its impact on Buckhead, Georgia. More about this later in this article. It reminded me of the blog I posted this February about the federal government’s push to create more affordable housing throughout the country.

The Progressives in the Biden administration are working overtime to require more affordable housing everywhere. Under the HOME Act in a strategy to increase affordable housing stock, CDBG grantees, such as Glendale, requires “Each grantee receiving assistance under this title shall—

 ‘‘(A) include in the consolidated plan required under part 91 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) a strategy to support new inclusive zoning policies, programs, or regulatory initiatives that create a more affordable, elastic, and diverse housing supply and thereby increase economic growth and access to jobs and housing;

and‘‘(B) include in the annual performance report submitted under section 91.520 of title 24, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto) the progress and implementation of the strategy…”

Measures to increase the amount of affordable housing include:

  • “Increasing both the percentage and absolute number of affordable units
  • “Authorizing high-density and multifamily zoning
  • “Eliminating off-street parking requirements
  • “Establishment of density bonuses
  • “Streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines
  • “Removing height limitations
  • “Establishing by-right development
  • “Using property tax abatements
  • “Relaxing lot size restrictions
  • “Prohibiting source of income discrimination
  • “Taxing vacant land or donating vacant land to nonprofit developers
  • “Allowing accessory dwelling units
  • “Establishing development tax or value capture incentives
  • “Prohibiting landlords from asking prospective tenants for their criminal history
  • “Provide that affordable housing units should, to the maximum extent practicable—be designated as affordable for not less than 30 years; comprise not less than 20 percent of the new housing stock in the community; and be accessible to the population served by the program established under this title”

Let’s take a snapshot of Glendale. There are 82,810 housing units (homes and apartments). Of those, 2,629 are affordable apartments in 25 low income complexes in Glendale. This represents 3% of the current housing stock as affordable and a far cry from the 20% required under the soon-to-be enacted federal HOME Act. Here are the 25 apartment complexes:

  • Vista Alegre

6549 W Maryland Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Landmark Senior Housing

8232 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Income Based 1 BR 62+

  • Brook Creek Apartments

4937 W. Myrtle Avenue Glendale, AZ 85301

Glendale, Arizona

$475-600 1-2 BR

  • Good Shepherd West

6113 N. 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Kachina Place Apartments

6238 N 63rd Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Call For Rent Studio-1 BR Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Casa Bill Soltero

6001 W Missouri Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Valley of the Sun School 6

5239 W Tonto Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Bethany Glen Apartments

4788 W Bethany Home Rd

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized

  • Waymark Gardens

5325 W Butler Dr

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Glencroft Towers

8620 N 65th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Manistee Manor

7987 N 53rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • John’s Manor

7229 N 51st Avenue

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • San Remo Apartments

5755 N 59th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Valley of the Sun School 5

4649 W Haywood

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized Accessible Accessible Disabled Supportive Housing

  • Tanner Terrace

7138 N 45th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Subsidized 62+ Accessible Elderly Supportive Housing

  • Palms at Glendale

6112 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Desert Eagle

6917 N 71st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Faith House a L a Prospect Park Apartments

8581 N 61st Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Villas Solanas

6755 N 83rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Homes

6617 N 52nd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • San Martin Apartments

6802 N 67th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Town Square

5136 W Glenn Dr

Glendale, Arizona

  • Glendale Enterprise

6839 N 63rd Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Los Vecinos Housing Development, Inc

7131 N 54th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

  • Shadow Creek II

10854 N 60th Ave

Glendale, Arizona

Ten of these complexes are for elderly housing and two complexes are for disabled housing. Thirteen are non-restrictive subsidized housing. Note that almost all are in the Ocotillo District—an unhealthy situation for that district at best.

Obviously, Glendale as a federal recipient of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG) would be subject to this federal law or become ineligible to receive either of these block grants. Practically, Glendale in its annual report, would have to show that it is using any or all of the measurements listed above to achieve a goal of 20% of its housing units as affordable and that they would remain so for 30 years (for a generation).

How does this situation apply to Buckhead, Georgia? Buckhead, unlike Glendale, is not an incorporated city but rather a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Therefore, it is subject to whatever zoning code amendments are enacted by the Atlanta City Council and its Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Much of what is in the federal HOME Act is suggested for use in Buckhead as well as other communities considered to be the suburbs of Atlanta proper.

In March of this year, Atlanta issued a report, Atlanta City Design Housing. It says, “The first step toward making Atlanta a more inclusive place to live should be to end exclusive single-family zoning by allowing an additional dwelling unit in all existing single-family zoned areas in the city.” Other ideas promoted in this report include reducing minimum lot sizes, allowing small apartment buildings in some neighborhoods currently limited to single-family homes, and mandating those wealthy neighborhoods have their per-capita share of ‘affordable housing’.“ Yet other strategies include: creating basement apartments, converting garages, allowing accessory dwelling units on the same lot; elimination of parking minimums for apartments complexes; elimination of low density housing; reduction of minimum lot size requirements; distribute affordable housing throughout the city including wealthy neighborhoods; creation of overlay affordability districts; and the use of city owned vacant land for affordable units.

There is also the creation of an Atlanta Housing Affordability Tracker which “provides a snapshot of progress made in reaching the goals of (1) creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and increase overall supply and (2) investing $500 million from City-controlled public sources in the production and preservation of affordable housing as part of the larger goal of investing $1 billion (the other $500 million coming from private and philanthropic sources).”

In the name of diversity or equality what is happening in this country? When, not if, this amendment to the HOME Act becomes law, the incentive to work hard and become successful will be disincentivized. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white or brown. The most important and meaningful purchase of anyone’s life will have been diminished. It smacks of reverse discrimination not based on skin color but rather on one’s ability to be financially successful in life.

We live on an acre of land in a 3,000 SF home. For 30 years our family lived in a typical R1-6 residential subdivision. Twenty years ago, we were fortunate and found our current home and large lot property. We worked hard all our lives to have the necessary funds to buy. If the HOME Act amendment becomes federal law, our opportunity to live on a large lot today would evaporate.

I suspect that the residents of Buckhead and other Atlanta suburbs have the same attitude, and it will not surprise me in the least if they take Atlanta’s zoning amendments to court—perhaps even the Supreme Court. It is clearly a “takings” issue.

© 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.

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.

On March 16th, Brian Friedman, Glendale Economic Development Director, and Tony Lydon, National Director of Jll, Inc., offered a virtual WestMarc presentation on the state of economic development in Glendale. Here is the link: https://www.westmarc.org/city-of-glendale/ .

There were several important ‘take aways‘ presented to viewers. One concept was there are 3 major skylines in the Valley – Phoenix, Tempe and now, Glendale. Elliot Pollack said 15 years ago that Glendale would become the geographic center of the Valley. Not only is that happening but it is growing into a major economic presence within the Valley. Much of the material Brian and Tony presented prove it.

Did you know that when Glendale hosts the Super Bowl in 2023, there will be a dozen hotels in the Westgate/Zanjero area offering over 2,000 rooms? There are already 50 restaurants in the Westgate/Zanjero area, and more are coming. In addition, the Crystal Lagoon project will offer an additional 3 hotels with another estimated 600 rooms. Add the stadium and the arena along with AMC Theater, TopGolf and a future indoor shooting range. Shopping preferences are offered from Cabela’s to Tanger Outlets to small boutique shops.

Another ‘take away’ was the abundance of the work force. The West Valley now has a population of 1.7 million and as new, affordable residential communities spring up more people arrive every day. Many of the new residents are highly technically trained and as the new breed of manufacturing and distribution centers come online these are exactly the work force being hired.

A third ‘take away’ is new infrastructure that attracts major industrial/manufacturing/commercial users. Through significant partnerships water and sewer is becoming abundant in the area of the Loop 303, necessities for large users. Transportation corridors are in place from Northern Parkway (which will connect with the Loop 101 by 2026), the Loop 303 and the Loop 101. All provide easy and fast access to the I-10 and the I-17, interstate highways. There is also a railroad spur that serves large manufacturers like White Claw and Red Bull.

Here is a recap of the 11 commercial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Westgate district shops, 9405 W. Glendale Avenue
  • EOS Fitness, 5070 N. 83rd Avenue
  • En Fuego at Westgate, northeast corner of Glendale Avenue and Zanjero Blvd.
  • Fox Aviation Hangar 6781 N. Glen Harbor Blvd.
  • Glendale Avenue Storage, 10911 W. Glenn Drive
  • Great Lawn Pavilion, 9600 W. Sportsman Park
  • Starbucks Coffee Shop, 91st Avenue and Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Tesla Service Facility, 9245 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jack in the Box, 9152 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Westgate Medical Office, 9950 W. Glendale Avenue
  • Holiday Inn, 6151 N. 99th Avenue

Here are the 12 industrial projects in the Yucca district either approved, under construction or completed:

  • T2/Red Bull expansion, 10501 N. Reems Road
  • Polar Bear-White Claw expansion, 9601 N. Reems Road
  • Park 303, Buildings A and B, 6620 N. Sarival Road
  • Ball expansion, 15101 W. Peoria Avenue
  • Barclay 303 Logistics Center, 16801 W. Glendale Avenue
  • G303, 6605 N. Sarival Avenue
  • RBNA, 10001 N. Reems Road
  • 303 Project, Sarival Avenue and W. Maryland Avenue
  • Bethany Business Park, Cotton Road and W. Bethany Home Road
  • Commerce 303, 15600 W. Camelback Road
  • The Cubes at Glendale, Reems Road and Orangewood Avenue
  • 303 Commerce Center, N. Cotton Lane

Here is one miscellaneous project in the Yucca district, ether approved, under construction or completed:

  • Zanjero Sante Assisted Living, 7410 N. Zanjero Blvd.

Here are the 7 multi-family projects in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Bungalows at Westgate, 7403 N. 91st Avenue
  • Bethany Crossing, 6253 N. 69th Avenue
  • Cardinals 95, 9600 W. Georgia Avenue
  • Zanjero II, 7200 N. 91st Avenue
  • Acero at the Stadium, 5550 N. 95th Avenue
  • Mera Westgate, 7460 N. Zanjero Blvd.
  • Glen 91, N. 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue

Here are the 8 residential subdivisions in the Yucca district, either approved, under construction or completed:

  • Olive Grove, 71st Avenue and Olive Avenue
  • Orangewood Ranch, 7606 N. 83rd Avenue
  • El Prado, N. 80th Avenue and W. Camelback Road
  • Stonehaven, Phase I, Parcels 2-8 and 13A and 14, 9050 W. Camelback Road
  • Cadence at Westgate, 89th Avenue and W. Glendale Avenue
  • Jaafar Estates, 7111 N. 83rd Avenue
  • Orangewood Terrace, 8079 W. Orangewood Avenue
  • Rovey Park, 8806 W. Emil Rovey Parkway

This is a snapshot of the various projects occurring in the Yucca district. I can assure you that there are more projects in the pipeline. I read a statistic about the Yucca district that so impressed me I have never forgotten it. At the last census in 2010, the Yucca district had a population of about 41,000 and was comparable to all the other districts in Glendale. Since 2010, in the past ten years, the population in the Yucca district has doubled. I find that projection to be mind boggling! There is a staff projection (that I think is way off) that anticipates the growth in Glendale of another 40,000 people by 2024. If that is correct (which I doubt) most of that population growth occurred in the Yucca district. It would not surprise me to learn, after the 2020 census figures are available that the Yucca district’s population has doubled to about 75,000 people. It is mandated that each district have approximately equal population to all the other districts. Yucca’s population will be so great that when new district boundaries are adopted, its eastern boundary will move significantly westward. How far westward will depend upon the final growth numbers in this district.

As new commercial, industrial, and residential projects are approved in the Yucca district I will offer a new list of those projects as warranted. Glendale’s economic development continues to boom but the loudest explosion is in the Yucca district.

© 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.

At the Tuesday, February 9, 2021 city council voting meeting Resolution R21-11 was passed by a majority of the city council. It is an agreement between the Tohono O’odham and the City of Glendale in which the city relinquishes its right to annex a parcel of land within its annexation boundaries.

I wish to explain my vote. I do not speak for the entire city council in expressing my reasoning for my vote and it should be noted that Mayor Weiers was absent due to recent surgery and did not vote on the matter.

The agreement helps to pave the way for the Tohono O’odham (TO), in the process of acquiring a parcel of land in the area of Northern Avenue and the Loop 303 freeway, to pursue building another casino, approximately ten miles to the west of the existent Desert Diamond Casino at Westgate. The property is currently owned by Saguaro Land Properties, LLC an entity of the Nation.  The next step for them is to put the land into trust.

All land within Glendale’s strip annexation borders can be annexed into Glendale, including this parcel. The TO asked that Glendale not exercise its right to annex this parcel into Glendale and a majority of the city council agreed. Glendale has the ability to annex, but not a legal right to force annexation.  Based on state statute, it would be impossible to annex them into the city, unless they agreed to do so. Here is a link to the agreement in its entirety: Contract # _ C21-0119 – TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION – Execution Date_ 2_9_2021

In the agreement the TO agrees to pay Glendale $400,000 and $1,000,000 with a 2% increase annually for 20 years:

8. Payments to the City and Other Considerations Provided by the Nation.

  1. Before the Nation Commences Gaming.  Within ten (10) days after the resolution provided in Section 4(A) of this Agreement become effective and the Memorandum of Agreement is fully executed and recorded, the Nation will make a one-time payment to the City in the amount of $400,000 to help fund the operations of the City.
  2. After the Nation Commences Gaming. Commencing in the year in which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property (the ‘Base Year’) and continuing in each subsequent year for a period of twenty (20) years, the Nation will make the payments described below:
  3. Commencing in the Base Year, the Nation will make annual payments to the City to help fund its operations. The Nation will commence making payments to the City within six (6) months of the date on which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property and annually thereafter within sixty (60) days of the anniversary date of the original payment made under this subsection.
  4. The Nation’s payment in the Base Year will be $1,000,000.00 in each subsequent year of this Agreement, the Nations will make a payment to the City in an amount that is two percent (2%) greater than its payment in the previous year, for the same purposes.”

In return for which the city will not only announce its support for this new casino but actively support its development:

4. Termination of the PADA; Announcement Regarding the Project; No Opposition; No Annexation; Covenant Not To Sue.

  1.   As soon as practicable following the adoption by the City of a resolution approving this Agreement, the City will adopt a resolution in the form attached hereto as Exhibit C approving and authorizing the execution on behalf of the City and recording a Memorandum of Agreement and Partial Termination of Prior Agreement releasing the Property from the PADA, in the forms attached as Exhibit 1 to such resolution, which will then be executed on behalf of the City and the Nation and recorded, at the cost and expense of the Nation, in the Official Records (the ‘Memorandum of Agreement’).
  2. Press Release. Within ten (10) days after the Effective Date, the City and the Nation will issue a joint press release, approved in substance and form by each of the Parties, stating that:
  3. The City and Nation have entered into a mutually beneficial intergovernmental agreement relation to the Property and the Project;
  4. The City supports the United States’ acquisition of the entirety of the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act;
  5. The City supports the Project (including the Nation’s proposed casino gaming operation on the Property);
  6. The City wants the Nation to construct and commence operating the Project as expeditiously as possible for the mutual benefit of the City and the Nation; and
  7. The City supports the Nation’s efforts to enter into a Compact authorizing the Nation’s Class III Gaming on the Property.
  8. No Opposition.
  9. The City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose, challenge, or appeal any decision by the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act, including any current or future fee to trust applications concerning the Property.
  10. If the Nation asks the National Indian Gaming Commission or the United States Department of the Interior to issue any decisions or opinions relating to whether the Property meets the requirements of 25 S.C.&2719(b)(1)(B), the City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the request.
  11. No Annexation. The City will not, after the Effective Date, annex, or take any action to annex, all or any portion of the Property.
  12. Covenant Not To Sue. The City will not commence any future action or make any claims against the Nation or Gaming Enterprise to hinder the Nation or the Gaming Enterprise in developing the Project, except that the City may seek to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Agreement.”

One reason to vote ‘yes’ would have been because I do not oppose the city’s agreement to not pursue annexation of this land in question. Let it remain in the county. When it is taken into Trust it becomes a reservation and part of a sovereign nation. This means the new TO casino when built will be on reservation land and not subject to local, county or tax taxation and it is not subject to local or state building codes. That is because it will be a sovereign nation and not under local, county or state jurisdiction. The issue of agreeing to not annex the land was never the issue for me. There were other reasons that compelled me to vote ‘no’ on this issue that I believe outweighed the issue of annexation or non-annexation.

I should disclaim that I have had a long history of opposition to the first casino, now a reservation, a sovereign nation, surrounded by Glendale. I will not bore you with the long history of that fight but suffice it to say, some of the actions taken by the TO appeared to some as being underhanded. Were they? That’s for you to decide but several local tribes claimed such. Here is the link to the testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in May, 2013, of Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It does a good job of summarizing many of Arizona’s Indian tribes view of the Tohono O’odham’s actions historically: HHRG-113-II24-Wstate-EnosD-20130516

My ‘no’ vote was based upon the following questions and assumptions. My first thought was, why is the TO paying the City of Glendale when the casino will not be on city annexed land? It will remain part of the county until it is designated a reservation. With the passage of Resolution R 21-11 it will never be annexed by Glendale or be a part of Glendale. There may be several reasons:

One could be in the 1986 Gila Bend Act Congress authorized the Tohono O’odham to purchase and to become reservation up to 9,880 acres of land in Maricopa, Pima or Pinal counties. The land was supposed to replace agricultural land that had been flooded by the federal government. There was the expectation that the new land purchases would be agricultural. Under the Act, it also states the purchased land may not be within the corporate limits of any city.

Another reason may be the TO’s intense desire in securing Glendale’s full-throated support as the city agrees to publicly support the new casino. Why is this important to the TO? My guess it is to neutralize any opposition there may be from other tribes such as Gila River or Salt River-Pima-Maricopa. The TO can point out that it has the support of Glendale to move forward with this new casino.

It also secures Glendale’s support of a new Indian Gaming Compact that will go before the state’s voters in 2022 as well as ensuring Glendale’s support in its requests of the federal government to designate the land as a reservation.

Under the existent Compact the TO are allowed a total of 4 casinos. They have those now – one in Tucson, Ajo, Sahuarita, and Glendale. To construct a 5th casino will require the agreement of the signatory Tribes to the newly crafted Compact soon to be presented to the state’s voters, as well as voter approval.

That raises a question about the new Compact, as yet unveiled to the public. If the TO anticipates getting a 5th casino, does that mean all of the other signatory tribes are anticipating getting authority to plant even more casinos in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Yet another reason may be because the seller of the land to the TO was a member of the PADA (Pre Annexation Development Agreement) which required land owners who are party to this agreement to annex into Glendale. When the land was sold to the TO this legal proscription remained with the sale of the land.

Although it is not specifically spelled out, the agreement seems to be a “quid pro quo.” In return for certain payments to the city, the city will support the TO’s plans. It is often acknowledged that “perception is reality.” The perception of some, after reading the Agreement, may be that the Tohono O’odham bought the city council’s support. I don’t disagree.

There may be “more to this story” than the TO have shared. Perhaps they do not enjoy the support of some of the other Tribes. Perhaps if the city had decided to keep their land in the PADA it might have clouded a federal decision as to whether the land should be taken into trust for a reservation. I honestly don’t know.

Other considerations that formed my decision to vote ‘no’ were the new casino may draw customers from those traveling along the Loop 303 but I suspect it will also draw Sun City, Sun City Grand and Sun City West patrons of the current casino to patronize the new casino as it is closer to them. It may end up cannibalizing its customer base; and although the site is not within the noise contours of Luke Air Force Base, it is in close proximity to them. The TO will be constructing a casino with intense usage just outside of those noise contours.  There could be cause for concern should there ever be an aircraft accident.

In summary, it wasn’t the actual issue of agreeing that the city would not annex the land that drove my decision but rather other, less tangible considerations and perceptions. Does this mean that I cannot work with the TO on issues regarding its current casino in Glendale? No. I promised fair consideration of any request they may make and I will abide by that pledge. The Agreement just passed by city council raises questions that remain unanswered and are likely to remain unanswered. Those questions prompted my ‘no’ vote.

© 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.

Ever since I began serving again on city council in 2012, I have been hosting a half hour video called “Beyond the Headlines.” Each councilmember has a half hour video and has named their segment as they chose. I chose “Beyond the headlines” because I wanted to take a deeper dive into specific Glendale announcements.

My latest video can be viewed on Cox cable Channel 11 TV and you can also go to the city of Glendale website and navigate to the latest offerings on Channel 11 and view them online at the city site if you do not have access.

I am especially pleased and proud of my latest video. Yucca residents know that development has exploded in our district. They see the new subdivisions as they travel on our district streets. They can see the construction taking place at Westgate and now Zanjero but they may not be as familiar with all of the development occurring around the Loop 303.

I thought it would be a good idea to put all of Yucca’s development into one half hour video. In order to see all that is happening for the very first time the media production team used a drone video.

I think this is the best video the media team has ever produced. Since you may not have access to view it I am sharing with you now:  https://vimeo.com/475688261/f6a548d471 . I am very proud of Glendale and the Yucca district and quite frankly, I wanted to show everyone just how great our district is. Not only is there room for even more residential development but the opportunities for commercial/industrial/retail in the Loop 303 area are incredible.

In addition to the tremendous amount of development in the Loop 303 area, now estimated at about 10 million square feet already approved, the announcement of Crystal Islands Lagoon Resort Glendale delivers an impact that will be felt throughout the Southwestern United States. It complements our professional sports venues for the Arizona Cardinals, the Phoenix Coyotes, the White Sox and the Dodgers by bringing a major entertainment themed resort to Arizona.

So, when you have a moment, sit back with a cup of coffee and catch up on what’s happening in the Yucca district in Glendale. I hope you enjoy the bird’s eye view!

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

On September 29, 2020, Glendale resident Ron Short sent a letter to the Mayor and all Councilmembers regarding Glen Lakes. The entire council appreciates hearing from citizens and values their comments and takes them under consideration when making decisions. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Short. He is a valuable member of our community. In fact, he is a former employee of the city and worked in the Planning Department working on historic properties. Although at some time he may have, I don’t remember his working on any new development or redevelopment applications (unless they had a historical component). His area of expertise was that of historic property preservation.

In his letter he questioned whether the city is an appropriate applicant. Unfortunately, he ‘cherry picked’ the City Code, Section 3.803 – Authorized Applicant. He referenced A. 5., only one of the 6 permissive applicants listed, “5. The Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting; or.”

The complete Section 3.803 – Authorized Applicant., as follows:

“A. An application for an amendment to change the zoning on any property shall be one (1) of the following:

  1. The owner of the property;
  2. One (1) or more of several join owners of property who own individually or as a group, a majority interest in the property;
  3. One (1) or both of the property owners where property is held in joint tenancy;
  4. Seventy-five (75) percent, or more, of the owners of property in the area covered by the application when the application covers more than one (1) property;
  5. The Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting; or
  6. The Historical Preservation Commission, the Planning Commission or City Council on its own motion at a public meeting, may initiate an amendment to establish or amend Historic Preservation District Zoning.”

Fact:   The applicant for the amendment is the city, owner of record at the time the amendment was filed and meets number 2 of the above Section 3.803. Mr. Short refers to an agreement with Homes by Towne dated December 11, 2019. That was the initial agreement agreeing in principle to sell under certain conditions. The actual sale and close of escrow occurred at a much later date.

Mr. Short, within his letter, then makes reference to the required landscape area referring to Code Section 19-62, On-Site Landscaped Areas and quotes, All development projects covered by Section 19-4 here shall provide on-site landscaped areas located in accordance with the following standards and requirements: (3) For all development within other zoning districts, landscaped areas shall be provided on the site in an amount equal to or greater than twenty (20) percent of the net site area.”

Let’s see what Section 19-4 actually says and requires. “The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all development or construction, all building remodeling, alterations, additions, or expansions, and to all changes of occupancy in the use or development of land which requires the approval of a development site plan or subdivision plat by the city. Agricultural uses and single-family and two-family residences and their accessories shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.” Once again Mr. Short chose one sentence to make his case without bothering to review Section 19-4, his citation, to see if it applied to this development project comprised of single family residences.

Mr. Short also fails to recognize that city code with reference to a Planned Residential Development (PRD) allows for public open space to be a part of the development. The developer in required to build the park (on his dime) and then must dedicate the park to the city as public open space. The requirements for specifications and maintenance of the park area are the responsibility of the city, not the developer, which is his assertion.

Mr. Short refers to the ‘boom times’ the city is currently experiencing and therefore there is no need to sell Glen Lakes Golf Course. Boom times don’t last forever and are often followed by ‘bust’. When ‘bust’ does come, everything is on the table for consideration as to whether it is an essential component of city service delivery. Historically, the city has spent millions of dollars to preserve Glen Lakes Golf Course and if retained would continue to spent considerably more. A component of council’s decision was the question, is it fair and equitable to all city taxpayers to continue to subsidize this golf course? That is a complicated question that each councilmember must decide for himself or herself. Each will have come to a final conclusion when it comes before council for a vote this month.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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 asked city staff to research a series of questions regarding expenditures for Glen Lakes over the years. Much of it was historical data which they could not provide. However, I am sharing the information I did receive.

I asked what the 1979 purchase price was for Glen Lakes. The amount the city paid in 1979 was $1,418,113. I would only remark that the 1979 price was remarkable considering that it was purchased over 40 years ago. It would be considered a remarkable amount of money today as well.

I asked if there were any expenditures required after the land was purchased prior to opening the course to the public. Staff could not find any information.

I assumed the course operations and maintenance would have been a line item in the city’s budget over the years but that was not the case. Costs of operation and maintenance for all city parks and facilities were lumped together so there is no method to determine what would have been expended on the course until 2019. In 2019 the city implemented a new financial software system that now enables the tracking of individual facility expenditures across all departments.

It is fair to assume the city did spend money on operations and maintenance of the course between its purchase date and 2019 when the city could actually begin tracking expenditures. We just don’t know how much was spent each year so I find it puzzling when supporters opposed to the sale of Glen Lakes claim the city deliberately underfunded the operations and maintenance of the course in recent years when they have no factual information to prove it. As can be seen below with regard to attendance figures available attributing the decline in attendance to lack of maintenance seems unrealistic when nationwide golf course attendance declined.

We do know the city paid Golf Maintenance Solutions $120,500 in 2018. We do know that city expended $394,537 in 2019; another $166,691 in 2020; and another $65,000 in 2020. I asked what the city has spent on course maintenance since its closure. That figure is $261,634.

Factually, it can be documented that between the purchase price and the expenditures identified since 2018, the city has spent approximately $3,164,841.00 plus whatever expenditures there were between 1979 and 2018. Over 40 years, it is fair to say the expenditures were considerable and could be considered in the millions of dollars but there is no means of verification.

I asked what the attendance at the course had been since 2005. I have heard Glen Lakes advocates say repeatedly that in 2005 the course was very popular. I asked staff if they had any data on attendance and they provided:

  • 2005 47,469
  • 2006 46,947
  • 2007 42,999
  • 2008 39,455
  • 2009 39,999
  • 2010 33,577
  • 2011 25,104
  • 2012 21,377
  • 2013 22,788
  • 2014 19,196
  • 2015 18,420
  • 2016 15,483
  • 2017 unknown
  • 2018 12,240

I discovered many 9 hole municipal golf courses throughout the country whose annual attendance is twice that of Glen Lakes at its peak in 2005.  By 2016 users of Glen Lakes had declined by 67% from the 2005 figure.

An article entitled Course Correction published in September of 2019 sums up the current issues associated with municipal golf courses, “But over the past 15 years, golfing participation has fallen by 20 percent, from 30 million in 2005 to 24 million today. Now, according to the National Golf Foundation, there are more municipal courses than ever—some 2,800 across the country—but they are serving far fewer golfers than they once did. As a result, course costs are cutting into city budgets. One-third of public golf courses don’t make enough to cover annual operations. That number goes up when taking into account other expenses, such as debt and employee retirement benefits.”(https://www.governing.com/topics/finance/gov-golf-courses.html).

There is another issue that has surfaced recently with regard to Glen Lakes and that is, the issue of the park space to be reserved for public use. Currently, other than the view provided to adjacent neighbors, to actually be on the golf course one would have to pay a fee to use it so consequently the only benefit to neighbors is the view.

It should be noted that there is quite a bit of established park space in this area. Close by are Butler Park and Manistee Ranch Park. A little further is one of Glendale’s premier parks, that of Sahuaro Ranch Park.

I attended the public meetings for neighborhood residents. At one of those meetings conceptual plans were offered for proposed park space and the amount of improved park land is to be + or – 10 acres. The attendees were the ones who chose the final conceptual plan and they made it quite clear that they did not want a park with active amenities such as basketball courts that would attract users from outside their neighborhoods. Now to hear complaints about the configuration of the park space is quite baffling.

The city council will be voting on this issue sometime in October. I have no idea how the vote will go. There are several issues to consider. Does the city need two 9 hole municipal golf courses? Is it cost effective to maintain a view for the adjacent neighbors? Should this course be preserved no matter the current and future costs to be borne by all of the city’s taxpayers? Would the funding to operate and maintain 10 acres of useable, neighborhood, public park space be a better investment for the city?

I understand the Glen Lakes advocates’ position. Their request is to restore the course. I represent all citizens of Glendale. Is it fair, just and equitable to ask every taxpayer in Glendale to subsidize millions of future dollars to completely renovate, operate and maintain this course? Even if the course were renovated, it is anticipated the revenues earned by players’ fees would not cover the annual costs of operation and maintenance. The reality is that this course will be a financial deficit to the city in perpetuity.

It is always jarring and upsetting to residents when they are confronted with the fact that a once vacant parcel of land nearby will be developed. Their first comment is on the loss of their unimpeded view enjoyed for many years.

As Planning Chairperson Gary Hirsch said at a recent meeting, if this were a parcel owned by a private entity wishing to develop, it would be recognized and acknowledged that the private entity has the right to so as it wished with its investment. He drew a line in the sand when it came to a public entity, namely local government, and its desire to develop or to repurpose land that it owns. I’m not sure I agree with his premise. Taxpayers constantly question whether its local government is making sound financial decisions and operating in the most cost effective manner possible. Doesn’t local government have the obligation to stop throwing good money after bad?

I understand the anguish of nearby neighbors and the loss of their view of 40 acres of green space but at what cost do the rest of the taxpayers preserve the neighbors’ view?

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

No project as large in scope as this one is simple or easy to create. This project is wide-ranging and complex reflected by the fact that it has taken over a year to put all of the pieces in place. There are 5 different agreements:

  • Development Agreement with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Government Property Improvement Leases with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Purchase and Sale Agreement with ERD Glendale, LLC. to purchase approximately .2942 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Option Agreement to purchase real estate with ERD Glendale, LLC to purchase approximately 4.154 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Parking Agreement(s) (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)

The Development Agreement acknowledges that this project qualified as a business expansion economic development project. The term of this agreement is 25 years. The agreement spells out the terms of a 25 year “partial” Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET). Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. 42-6208) a GPLET may be applied only to amusements and their related retail and restaurant concessions. It allows for a 25 year partial exemption of lease excise tax for recreation and entertainment uses. Once the project has completed all construction (October, 2022) the company sells the project to the city for a token amount. The city becomes the lessor (owner and landlord) exempting ECL from paying property tax.  ECL becomes the prime lessee (renter) paying the city a token annual rental payment and pays annual lease excise tax instead of property tax. After 25 years the GPLET terminates and cannot be renewed. At that time the project reverts back to ECL, becomes private property and pays property tax rather than a lease tax.

The Government Property Improvement Lease further refines the terms of the 25 year partial GPLET. The terms remain as represented above but they are spelled out in excruciating legal detail. It’s a 50 page document (yes, I read it all) that only an attorney would love. It even covers what happens if there is “an act of God” that destroys the project.  It’s a very detailed, boring, yet important document.

The company is obligated to operate and maintain the project for at least 25 years continuously. The company agrees to completion of construction of the entire project on or before October 31, 2022. The city recognizes the right of the company to develop, construct and use the property under its current Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning. The city will provide expedited plan review. The city will provide a Fee Waiver in the amount of $1M in permit, plan review and inspection fees but this waiver does not include Development Impact Fees (DIF) which is estimated to be a one time payment of $4.4M.

Purchase Sale Agreement for 0.29 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $126,000. This small sliver of city-owned land is situated on the southwest corner of Montebello Avenue and 95th Avenue. It enhances access to the project site.

Option for Purchase Sale Agreement for 4.15 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $1.8 M. This land would be used for water retention, employee parking and maintenance operations for the project.

Parking Agreement(s) provide for the project’s overflow parking needs at the city-owned Black lot on all days but football game days and mega events at the stadium (attendance must be 40,000 minimum). ECL will maintain the black lot and pay for all associated utilities. This agreement will also be approved by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Cardinals. Additional agreements between the Bidwill family and ECL may provide alternate parking should the city decide to develop the Black Parking lot. Obviously, with this project and others within Westgate and Zanjero, at some point the Black Lot parking land becomes so valuable for development that its use as a parking lot no longer makes financial sense.

The Return on Our Investment (ROI) is substantial. Keep in mind the city always uses conservative figures and I think it is fair to assume the numbers provided could be higher. Over 25 years the county earns $60.4M or $2.4M a year; the schools earn $90.6M or $3.6M a year; and the state receives $309.3M or $12.3M a year. What does the city earn? Over 25 years $240.5M or $9.6M a year. During construction of the project the city earns construction sales tax of $5.9M; $1.8M for the sale of remnant land parcels; and DIF fees of $4.4M. I personally think the annual revenues will be higher, especially during and after the Super Bowl in 2023. This resort project is sure to be heavily promoted during the Super Bowl generating a ton of viewer interest and a spike in tourist visits to Glendale.

All of these revenues are generated because the city, in order to attract this project, was willing to forego $1M in fee waivers, agree to accept excise lease tax rather than property tax and already had an abundance of available overflow parking constructed. In return for which, the city will generate almost $10M a year in new revenue. The city did not have to pay a dime to entice the project. The city does not write a check as an incentive to the developer for anything. I think that it is a win-win for Glendale and ECL. That’s why it won my immediate and enthusiastic support from the time I first learned of the project.

There are cities across this country that will never have this kind of opportunity but Glendale has spent the past several years positioning itself to attract just such a project.  As I said in my last blog there are intangible benefits as well. This experiential retail, entertainment concept is a brand new concept and will be the very first anywhere in the world. It will claim the attention of both the retail and entertainment industries and provides a blueprint for marrying the two concepts together. Glendale was on the map as a host city for the Super Bowl and the Final Four but this project moves Glendale to a new level of prominence.

I thank ECL for choosing Glendale as its partner and for hanging in there for over a year to execute tedious, legal, governmental documents that can be frustrating at times. It’s a challenge for all concerned to bring a project such as this to reality. Kudos to Glendale and ECL for making it happen. I am very proud to welcome them as the newest member of our Glendale family and the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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