Bloch: Bigger is not better in Scottsdale

Today's metropolis is not the city I moved to 27 years ago

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Having lived in Scottsdale for 27 years, (my son graduated from Chaparral --- first ever to be newspaper editor for 2 consecutive years) I know Scottsdale, both then and now.

And I was attracted to the then-Scottsdale for many reasons, some of which were its old time feeling of a cowboy town, the downtown was truly an arts district, plenty of open space throughout the city, a feeling of small town America, yet a sophistication that was absent in other Valley cities, including Tempe, who’s tall buildings are the envy of a majority of our City Council.

Today’s Scottsdale is not the one I moved to 27 years ago. There is no longer a feeling of a cowboy town of years gone by. Downtown is no longer an arts district, rather a western version of Manhattan with developers falling all over one another to get their up-zoning approved to build the next skyscraper, which will be approved by a more than accommodating City Council.

Open space is becoming scarce with all of the approved building permits and zoning variances granted by the build-now-crazy-City Council. Just look away from downtown at north Hayden Road, with the now-in-the-ground construction beginning on Mark Taylor’s several hundred apartment units --- not what north Scottsdale needs.

Just north of this project is the now-under-construction new regional office complex of Nationwide Insurance, which was given the most humongous sweetheart deal that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

A third party consultant hired by the city calculated the project could generate an estimated $24 million in sales over the next 20 years --- and for this the

City of Scottsdale is paying for $21.9 million of public infrastructure. OUCH!!

And a new firehouse now needed due to this very large complex (Nationwide offices, apartments, condos, commercial) is to be constructed in the vicinity which is a part of the bond issue, so more payout/subsidy from the taxpayers.

So many folks in Scottsdale do not believe that more is better, that bigger is better, that taller is better --- contrary to that majority on the City Council that does believe that.

So many folks in Scottsdale moved here because, the city was different when they did, from the city we now know.

And so, when the election comes up in a mere 13 months, and the two candidates that have indicated interest in being the next mayor, Ms. Korte and Ms. Klapp, we as the electorate need to know and understand their visions for the future of Scottsdale, and their City Council voting records of the past.

Unfortunately, for the slow responsible growth folks, the folks that love open spaces and the desert, both of these candidates are all-in on more and bigger and taller is better.

We will not be better off nor moving in a different direction if we elect a clone of the present mayor.

We need to do better!

Editor’s Note: Jim Bloch is a resident of Scottsdale.

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