Guest Editorial: Update on Proposal to Reduce Setbacks Is Tabled For Now; 20 New Code Changes on Horizon

By Councilmember Julie Pace

Thanks to residents for voicing your opposition to the Mayor and Councilmember Dembow’s aggressive campaign to reduce the setback requirement for view and combination fence locations from 20 feet to 10 feet in front yards along 15 miles of streets in Paradise Valley.

Our Town’s Planning Commission unanimously (7 to 0) opposed the setback reduction proposal. Councilmember Ellen Andeen and I also strongly opposed the setback reduction.

Many residents legitimately asked what was the reason that drove this proposal, out of 500 pages of comments and information, there was only one new resident from Arcadia who advocated for the reduction in setback from 20 ft to 10 ft in the front yard for view and combination setbacks.

This issue is worth standing up for as the proposed change will forever change the character of many neighborhoods by creating a tunnel effect with less open space, thereby reducing the quality of life in our Town.

It is critical to have resident input. Pay attention to the actual details and not the misinformation or bureaucratic gobbledygook used to confuse residents. The issue was straightforward. This proposal had nothing to do with oleanders planted on a property line adjacent to a street. And, it would not increase safety by moving fence lines ten feet closer to the street.

The issue was last addressed in November 2021. It kept getting delayed. It then was placed on the Town agenda at last night’s Council meeting. After discussion, the Community Development Director Lisa Collins said the proposed reduction is tabled for now, but is on the list to address later. It has not yet been removed despite all the resident comments who do not want setbacks to be reduced.

Staff was seeking guidance from Town Council as to whether to prioritize setbacks for code changes, along with whether to make approximately 20 additional code changes involving flagpoles, landscaping in the right-of-way, paving and use of the ground for parking, BBQs, and more. There is not a lot of detail yet as to what direction is being proposed by staff for all these items. Stay tuned to evaluate and provide community input and so we work together to preserve Paradise Valley.