Frankenstein Comes To The McDowell Mountain Ranch Area

The plans have gone from bad to worse. Much worse. A really bad idea that won’t die goes before the Scottsdale Planning Commission Wednesday. The negative impacts to a north Scottsdale area would be profound.

Not long ago we opined about a really bad idea to place a high density ‘senior living facility’ west of Thompson Peak on McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. The five acre parcel is zoned for five homes. A plan to build forty times that amount was unanimously rejected by the Scottsdale Planning Commission.  Here is a link to the article we wrote in September.

After this 200 unit three story nursing home complex being crushed by the Commission, the developer hired a former Scottsdale City Planner and found a way to game the system allowing him to re-submit this density drive for consideration. This is the definition of chutzpah. In fact, few if any can recall city planning staff doing such favors for a developer and allowing them to return back to Planning Commission as they are apparently being allowed to do.  It all seems very unseemly and unethical.

This project doesn’t belong in the area. If approved it will encourage more speculative developers to come to the area looking for similar density grabs for apartments and other uses that would change the low-scale nature of the area.

Simply put the developer is trying to cram 800 pounds in a hundred pound bag  As a result they are seeking with an exemption from Scottsdale’s landmark Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (as they did at the previous hearing) or a change that would see them screw the Arizona State Land Department, which has adjoining property and which is the city’s long-time partner to bring the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to life.

Besides area residents and citizens groups opposing the plan Westworld’s three largest events do too. The proposed project is adjacent to the events center. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when you place a nursing home next to a thriving events center, people will complain about the noise, the lights, the horses, and who knows what else. That’s why you don’t build dense residential projects next to events centers. Even a turnip knows that.

But stupidity is not the issue. A three story, 200 unit nursing home sets a bad precedent for the area when only 5 homes on 5 acres are allowed now.  Putting more people in close proximity to WestWorld jeopardizes the future of Scottsdale’s equestrian jewel and what it can do to generate more tourism to help keep Scottsdale taxes low.

Let’s hope the Scottsdale Planning Commission again  sees this ridiculous request for what it is, as it wisely did before.