Regular readers and folks in North Scottsdale very likely already know about the extremely controversial rezoning plan by taser manufacturer Axon. In short, they purchased a very large parcel of land right next to their headquarters that was originally zoned as being specifically for industrial or office use with residential use specifically prohibited. However, they later decided to attempt to have it rezoned for residential use with a plan to put in an astounding 2,500 units into the parcel, a plan that not only seemed to be an intentional attempt to circumvent the Arizona State Land Trust process, but also to insert an incredible amount of density into the area.
Axon has recently gotten approval from the State Land Trust to move forward with its highly problematic plan, but in reality, its challenge is only now beginning.
It now has to go through the gauntlet that is Scottsdale City Hall, with a recommendation vote within the Planning Commission this week, a vote that will be seen as a guide for a larger vote from City Council. With this, many members of council that campaigned against overdevelopment will now have their campaign promises put to the test.
All of this will be under the watchful eye of an emboldened activist electorate, one that within the city of Scottsdale has already made it abundantly clear that it will react extremely negatively towards gigantic apartment complexes built up in its midst. Considering the reaction to developments with a few hundred units, the reaction to a few thousand is almost certain to be explosive and toxic.
Recent polling within the city limits have shown that traffic is amongst the biggest concerns in the city; over 2,000 additional units without a massive upgrade in transportation infrastructure is nearly certain to have most voters within a one mile radius looking to enact ballot justice against anyone who votes in favor of this haphazard plan. Polling specifically focused on this rezoning plan also demonstrates a strong visceral disdain for it; even if some may tacitly be in favor of it, the upside is limited while the downside is likely to be fierce. Few will vote for candidates because they voted yes, but many will vote against candidates who voted yes.
If the Planning Commission and City Council were wise, they would come out strongly against this plan in no uncertain terms. Anyone who votes yes on this is simply putting a target on their own back and is putting themselves on the wrong side of a topic that is bound to turn into a firestorm. If it were to pass, the citizenry is highly likely to bring it to a public vote via a ballot initiative, which would bring this plan and the yes votes that facilitated it directly to the forefront on Election Day, something that any politician who values self-preservation should think twice about.