It Ain’t Mountain Shadows or The Ritz: Paradise Valley Should Defoliate Cottonwoods Proposal

A beautiful evening on the patio at Camelback Back Inn’s restaurant called Rita’s. The views at Sanctuary. The charm of The Hermosa Inn. The social conscience of the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. The increasing charm of Montelucia.
When one thinks of and experiences Paradise Valley’s grand resorts The Cottonwoods’ hotel property along Scottsdale Road doesn’t come to mind. Most don’t even know it’s in Paradise Valley. And based on its blandness, it shouldn’t be.
Yet, its owners are now seeking significant new densities. But for what, besides themselves?
The recent approvals for Mountain Shadows were necessary to ensure the open space of a golf course, a quality new neighbor for adjacent neighbors who have experienced Beirut for far too long, and to remove legal vulnerabilities to the Town and its taxpayers. Enormously complicated, few will every appreciate the achievement of Town staff, those it reports to on Council and the Mountain Shadows property owner.
Before it came The Ritz. And while the entitlement was aggressive it was, well, The Ritz after all. One can endure the bad breath of a dating partner if the rest of the package has attributes. And so it was with the Ritz.
But the huge increases in density The Cottonwoods is requesting are not backed by a public policy need or endeared by a noteworthy operator. Improvements like those undertaken by The Sanctuary and Hermosa Inn have undertaken should be the model, not a resort plan that looks more Mark McGwire than Wllie Mays.
The unwarranted request reminds that in Paradise Valley sometimes it’ is OK to say no. This occurred recently as a nursing home proposal misunderstood a Town Council desire to be more streamlined with its processes as an invitation for intersections without red lights. Citizens and the Planning Commission adamantly said no, and the Town Council most certainly would have before the applicant understood its folly.
Unlike so many communities Paradise Valley already is great town with a distinct character. While anything can be enhanced the unusual, primary job of its custodians is diminishment avoidance.
The Cottonwoods is not such a proposal. It enriches a developer, not its community.