Rezoning Rhetoricians Reviling Redevelopment
Are all developer requests for rezonings good? Of course not. But nor are they all bad as Scottsdale’s current and former councilmembers Kathy Littlefield, Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips often wax ineloquent.
Take this article in today’s Scottsdale Republic. The revitalization of McDowell Road has perplexed city planners and authorities for years. But progress is finally at hand. From SkySong to Fate Brewing Company to this new effort at 64th Street and McDowell to transform shuttered car dealerships into a mixed-use project. What an exciting time for the corridor.
The developer behind the Entrada plan and property is one of Arizona’s wealthiest individuals. He’s realizing as others have understood that this parcel, this area, is both blessed and underappreciated.
A quick shot west on McDowell takes you to the Loop 202. A bit further east is the 101. Across the street is Papago Park. And the Desert Botanical Garden. And the Phoenix Zoo. And the Papago Golf Course. Just further south is the old Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the new home of ASU baseball. Mill Avenue is a short drive away as is the energy of downtown Scottsdale. Be in the middle of it all isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s reality.
But the property is entitled for the car dealerships of yesterday. It’s approved for relics. To regenerate it will require changes in zoning so new uses can replace the current tenants: tumbleweeds.
It will be interesting to watch the Littlefields and Phillips on this one. They decry developers having their way in Scottsdale (not true) yet this developer may unlock and unleash the kind of project that projects McDowell Road into the same Valley vernacular as Roosevelt Row or 40th Street.
The Littlefields and Phillips’ can be important people to have on city councils. Fabian policy is not always a bad thing. Yet, to be Mayors and effective majorities – and curators of community revitalization – such rezoning rigidity can also be ridiculous.