North Peoria May Equal North Scottsdale Except In At Least One Way

North Scottsdale is such an incredible area that it is known not just throughout Arizona but the country too.

Many envy its beauty, hiking, neighborhoods, transportation access, golf courses and quality of life with few other locales comparing in the Valley.  Except, perhaps, northern Peoria.

Like North Scottsdale it has gone through growing pains, referenda and political angst to achieve its notable status. Shopping centers were once contested but are now thriving.  Mountain preserves have emerged.  The master-planned communities are outstanding.  For that it should be applauded.  But applause can’t be recommended for northern Peoria’s most recent polemic.

Last year, Republic Services proposed a modest “recycling and waste transfer station” on Happy Valley Road and the 303 Freeway.  Why?  Because the Northwest Valley is the largest area in Maricopa County without this important infrastructure. It is also growing rapidly. Across Maricopa County there are over 30 facilities like that now being proposed in Peoria, including in . . . North Scottsdale.

Republic Services’ original site in Peoria was wayward.  Proposed right on the heavily trafficked Happy Valley Road it was both inefficient for the area and a stretch as it proposed changing zoning from single-family residential to industrial.  Due to public outcry it wisely pulled the rezoning request.

In response to suggestions that it locate elsewhere Republic Services announced this week a proposal in an entirely different area.  Next to a power station. In a zoned industrial park.  Away from neighborhoods.  On the other side of the 303 freeway.  With no routing to the site other than a freeway off-ramp.

While many are acknowledging the improved location, and some are voicing support, not everyone is happy.  Some just seem to want to fight, just to fight, even though need and common sense dictate otherwise.  Even though public opinion polling throughout Peoria shows strong support.  Even though Peoria and nearby county residents have monthly disposal costs higher than other parts of the Valley.  Even though local recycling programs are in peril, as happened in adjacent Surprise where they were terminated.

This brings us back to North Scottsdale.

There, astride the 101 Freeway not too far from Shea Boulevard sits a city owned waste transfer station.  It lies directly across the street from the first Phoenix metropolitan location of the internationally renowned BASIS charter school group.  The tony Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood sits to the east and enduring McCormick Ranch upscale neighborhoods across the freeway to the west.

This blog pays a lot of attention to things in Scottsdale.  But we can never recall a single peep from BASIS, these neighborhoods, or anyone, about the Scottsdale waste transfer facility over the years.   Nada.

That’s because when operated responsibly they are effectively non-existent infrastructure.   Like sewers.  Or utility lines.  North Scottsdale residents understand this.

No one likes any of these things.  But they are the arithmetic of community.  Without them the basics don’t add up.  Or keep up.   

Why is it that North Scottsdale – and every other part of Maricopa County – hosts recycling and transfer centers but North Peoria can’t or won’t?  Maybe it’s time to rip up the sewers there too.  Criticism that these small centers hurt property values is nonsense.  Ask Scottsdale Ranch, McCormick Ranch or the neighborhoods near a transfer station in Chandler where such values are surging.  Or Desert Ridge where that area’s transfer facility is a half mile away from the heartbeat of the community, Reach 11.

Many northern Peoria residents have impressively organized in response to this proposal because they care, and know they enjoy a special part of the Valley.  But cooler and wiser heads can and surely will understand that a mere 20,0000 square foot facility isn’t going to intrude on paradise, any more than it has on north Scottsdale, or anywhere else.

But that doesn’t mean Republic Services should get a pass.  Yes, they are based in Phoenix metropolitan creating thousands of jobs for Arizonans.  Yes, they are a quality operator.

Residents should stay vigilant and negotiate with county officials, Republic Services and all involved for specific concessions and stipulations that make the facility best in class.  By so doing it can be a first among nearly three dozen equals, aiding quality of life, lowering trash bills, preserving recycling and resulting in a positive outcome for everyone.