A Crisis In Part Caused By Scottsdale (But Also One That Can Be Cured By It Too)

Photo Credit: thestar.com

If there is one defining characteristic of Arizona, save the desert, it’s our natural disdain for the government telling us what to do. But every once in a while, they feel like their hand is forced and that they need to do something. Well we are quickly hurtling towards that point with rent prices in Arizona.

Rent prices have risen nearly as sharply as housing prices in Arizona since the pandemic, up 10% in the last year alone. Sunday’s AZCentral article really lays the problems out well, including the hindrance rising prices can be to economic development. While an increase in housing prices is both positive and negative (positive for homeowners, negative for prospective homeowners), increases in rent have a much more one-sided effect: good for a few landlords, but bad for the renters who vastly outnumber the landlords (and who often don’t have the means to keep up with those price increases).

So the fact that the words “rent control” are even being uttered is significant and concerning, but not too surprising. So what’s the solution? We must build more. Responsibly but more. That’s the law of supply and demand. We must consider the NIMBYs who will oppose anything and everything regardless of merit, but they cannot be political overlords. We must say Yes when we can and should.

Clearly this is not just a Scottsdale problem, but the contrast and the crux of the problem is readily apparent here. Here we have a city council that has been so overwhelmed by comments from NIMBYs at committee and council meetings that there seems to be a culture of fear which leads to good projects being washed away with the bad.

Let’s contrast two projects: first, Greenbelt 88. No matter what lipstick is applied it’s ultimately bovine as it would take away a shopping center and is opposed by hundreds of nearby residents.

Let’s compare this to 92 Ironwood, a mixed use residential complex near HonorHealth at Shea and is seeking heights LESS than permitted zoning, and is supported by the adjacent shopping center and not opposed by residents. Indeed, it is also supported by HonorHealth and the Arizona Nurse’s Association because of the acute lack of reasonably priced housing near the hospital.

If we want Scottsdale to go the way of Santa Monica, New York City and other leftist archipelagos, this is how it happens.

We have a real problem here (rising rents), and we have a real solution (expanding the supply). What we don’t have is the political will to ignore the loudest of voices with the most shallow of motivations. We need the political courage to say Yes to value-adding projects like 92 Ironwood, or else government might be coming to your front doorstep to fix problems, and I think we’d all rather fix them before that happens. There is nothing wrong with saying no to projects that are little more than voracious developer or property owner grabs. But there is much wrong with saying no to those that alleviate obvious problems and stand on obvious merit.