Pace: Rebuttal to LeMarr

Do not reduce open space, setbacks


A critical issue is the split in votes to reduce setbacks from 20 feet to 10 feet for view and combo fences along 14 miles of our roads, which will reduce visual open space and create a tunneling effect.

As one PV resident said, this will forever change the character of our town from Paradise Valley to “Paradise Alley” if open space is reduced along 14 miles of our roads. Cynthia and Randy Buness, PV Independent, Dec. 8, 2021.

Our town’s Planning Commission unanimously voted 7 to 0 against the reduction in setbacks, which the town staff had recommended. Planning Commission meeting minutes, Oct. 5, 2021.

Planning Commissioners said “if the change were made it would be impossible to undo” and that “the original goal of the existing ordinance is to create openness as well as attractive safe streetscapes.”

Our mayor and some councilmembers did not agree with our Planning Commission and want to reduce the setbacks. PV Town Council meeting, Nov. 4, 2021.

Narrowing the streets creates Scottsdale and Phoenix style subdivision neighborhoods and less open space for our town’s streets and views.

Our residents oppose the setback reduction, but the mayor does not agree with the residents and instead wants to vote on it after the August election.

Your vote matters in this election. This is just one example of slippage of our town’s unique character and openness.

Scott LeMarr’s recent opinion mistakenly states that the reduction in setbacks will impact only busy streets like Tatum and Lincoln.

The setback reductions would be on Chaparral, Jackrabbit, Stanford, Palo Christi Road, 36th Street, Mountain View, 56th Street, 52nd Street, McDonald, Doubletree Ranch Road, Mockingbird, and Invergordon. Table Prepared by Town Community Development Director Lisa Collins.

Do not be fooled by misinformation. This proposed change will reduce the feeling of open space. This is why residents, including those who live on these streets, oppose it.

The mayor wrote that these are “not local or neighborhood streets” so he supports changing the town’s character by reducing setbacks on them. Mayor’s email to resident dated Dec. 3, 2021. For the mayor to cavalierly move people’s property into a new category without asking them has caused residents to become rightfully upset over this issue.

I did let residents know in November that the town was considering a reduction in setbacks and solicited their input. The mayor was very angry that I alerted residents, and he launched personal attacks against me when residents started to voice their opinions opposing the setback reductions.

I advocated for a community conversation and notices to be sent to affected residents for input, but the mayor declined to do so.

What is driving this material change? The mayor says it would be safer if the fences were 10 feet closer to the street. That does not make sense. It would be easier to hop a fence that is closer to the street.

PV is one of the safest towns in Arizona. Our police department is not advocating for this town code change.

One resident wrote “allowing setbacks 10 feet closer to the street doesn’t improve security. Changes in some streets will lead to demand for change in more streets” and “It would allow developers to build a larger home on the lot. Is this desirable and who benefits?” Email to mayor from resident, Dec. 6, 2021.

Once the town changes the code to allow more land for development instead of retaining what has for decades been open space, it is gone. Municipalities can keep setback requirements, but cannot increase them.

The mayor recently wrote a resident who was upset about the reduction in setbacks and claimed that he has never tried to reduce any building setbacks in the town. He is misleading residents to pretend the issue was about building setbacks, but he knows building setbacks were not and never have been the issue.

The mayor introduced a red herring to confuse voters. I welcome a merits discussion anytime on policy issues that we as elected officials must decide, but deliberately deceiving residents is shameful.

After I communicated with Scott LeMarr about the bad idea to reduce setbacks on our streets, LeMarr wrote “I’m incensed that this topic is even coming up? Whose idea was this? Corner lots can be dealt with another way.” Email from Scott LeMarr, Nov. 12, 2021.

One resident writing on this issue said it well: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Agreed.

This is but one example of why some of us, as 100% volunteers, are fighting hard to protect our quality of life. The only political agenda I have is to serve the town, including preserving the iconic mountain views and prevent slippage and over-development.

I truly believe in our community and our residents. I do not mislead them, and I let them know about issues so all residents can be heard. We have to stand together to preserve the town we love.

Please vote for Julie Pace for mayor to preserve our town. And, I am glad my peers for council, Ellen Andeen and Christine Labelle, both oppose a reduction in setbacks.

We need people to run for office who know their compass and can be trusted to stand up for our community and lead the town in a positive and team-oriented manner. Learn more at www.paceforpv.com.