As others have observed, not all residential project proposals are made equal. Year after year, overly ambitious developers attempt to cajole planning commissions and city councils all over the country, including in Scottsdale, trying to convince them of the sometimes dubious merits of the projects they’re championing. On the flip side of that, many developers do the right thing. And have the right recipe.
So what is the correct approach? As a more overarching statement, we’d say projects that add value to the area around them. Ones that are championed by the nearby residents and businesses. Ones that the people around the proposed site are actually enthusiastic about because of the existence of the need of the project, the value-adding benefits to the area around it, and good planning.
The Scottsdale Planning Commission has had myriad positive and negative projects come in front of them, ones that encapsulate how things can be done the right way, as well as value-destroying projects forced down their throats. Very recently however, they heard two more positive examples of multifamily projects showing how it should be done: The Miller project proposed by Toll Brothers on the outskirts of Old Town and the 92 Ironwood project proposed by Jim Riggs near Honor Health’s North Scottsdale hospital.
Both of these projects have the hallmarks of quality development: heavy buy-in from local stakeholders, inclusion of said stakeholders in the conversation, and building specs that are cognizant of the desires of those neighborhoods.
The 92 Ironwood project fills a clear and compelling need; housing for our healthcare workers, considering the large Honor Health office right nearby. This is why local stakeholders such as the Arizona Nurse’s Association came out in support, as have local businesses that would be positively affected by this. Additionally The Miller project (and Toll Brothers more overarchingly) have helped build a robust model of public support, by getting full-throated buy-in from local police and fire as well as the denizens of the shopping center adjacent to the site.
That said, there will always be noise, not the noise of construction but the noise of activism. There are plenty of people who only seem to feel alive if they are protesting something; people who don’t even live in the neighborhood but feel compelled to try to badger their city council to reject a project even if it won’t impact them in the slightest. The noise is unavoidable, but ignorable. NIMBYs are well known, but the force of NIYBYE’s (Not In Your Back Yard Either) must be acknowledged before being ignored.
We applaud the Planning Commissioners who ignored the chatter from the NIYBYE, and beseech them to continue to do so for the sake of our entire city. And in a City Council whose makeup is partially composed of councilors who got there by protesting poor growth, we ask them to take a moment to judge a project on the value they provide to actual neighborhood stakeholders. Projects like The Miller and 92 Ironwood are the template which more developers should follow going forward. They exemplify there is such a thing as good growth too.