Opinion

Graham: Listening to residents isn’t enough

Posted 6/14/22

Every candidate running for City Council says that if elected, they will “listen” to residents. We have heard that before, only to be disappointed after they were elected.

I …

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Opinion

Graham: Listening to residents isn’t enough

Posted

Every candidate running for City Council says that if elected, they will “listen” to residents. We have heard that before, only to be disappointed after they were elected.

I don’t believe listening is enough.

Since I began my “Put Residents First” campaign for council, I’ve communicated with thousands of residents. Several themes have emerged: The overwhelming majority of residents say they are worried that there is little regard given to their opinions about how “runaway development” is impacting their quality of life.

They tell me they want our city’s economy to grow and prosper. They also say it’s important to make sure the city enforces standards for “quality development.”

I agree with residents — Protecting our city’s character is paramount to preserving our quality of life, expanding our economy, and attracting visitors.

Quality standards aren’t just about design, aesthetics, building materials or even height and density. They include ensuring resident input about a project’s appropriateness for an area. That’s why I support doubling the minimum-radius of community outreach for projects from 750-feet (less than three football fields) to at least 1,500-feet.

Another way to assure better development is asking developers to submit construction mitigation plans with projects, especially in higher-density areas like Old Town. Unregulated construction activities can reduce parking availabilities and increase traffic congestion that hurt existing businesses.

A third way to pursue quality development is more water-consumption transparency. Given the challenges of the current drought conditions, why not require developers to disclose the amount of water their projects, particularly multi-family ones, are projected to consume?

Residents support sustainable growth and quality development. Of the thousands of contacts I’ve had with citizens, not once have I heard someone say they were “anti-growth” or “against development.” Those are counter-productive terms used to polarize the discussion.

As a member of the city’s Planning Commission, I wasn’t influenced by political hyperbole. I carefully scrutinized projects and focused intensely on residents’ feedback. I never went along to get along, nor did I hesitate to reject projects like Greenbelt 88 or the Shea Corridor apartment projects that a majority of residents opposed.

While it’s important for councilmembers to listen — listening isn’t enough.

If elected to the City Council, I will respond to citizen feedback by ensuring Scottsdale’s development is sustainable, high quality, and supported by residents.

Learn more at BarryGrahamResidentsFirst.com.

Comments

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  • xway.mike.norton

    Graham's backing away from Betty Janik's "Call For Moratorium" as fast as he can. But why? Janik simply said in blunt terms what Graham, Littlefield and Whitehead have been saying in code words for two years.

    When in the face of a critical housing shortage you say that you're going to make it even harder to get a project approved than it already is, why bother? Seriously. There are already so many nails in that coffin, you're just wasting nails.

    But back to the water issue . . . . never mind that every City in the nation that has put water consumption standards in place for new multi-family housing has actually REDUCED water consumption. If we're serious about reducing water consumption per capita, multi-family is the answer - not the problem.

    Tuesday, June 14 Report this

  • jason.alexander

    Graham's article is a compilation of topics that have already been rejected, showing that he really has no platform other than pandering to populism.

    1. Outreach at 750 vs 1500ft. We already are a leader in the valley in the radius of outreach. This would make us by far the Valley leader. This has been proposed, discussed, and rejected already by Council. Graham's suggestion would place an additional cost and burden on investment in our city, exponentially more than it is already. He would burden us with bureaucracy and red tape. On the one hand, Graham is a hard-right Trump-style Republican, but on the other, he is a big-government bureaucrat.

    2. Mitigation plan - council heard this on May 3 and decided we have enough already. The existing mitigation plan is 3 inches thick. Did Graham pay attention to the May 3 Council meeting?

    3. Water - our water department has this data already. According to Scottsdale's water department, they serve 83,000 single family homes, that make up 88% of accounts, and use 50% of Scottsdale's water. The 53,000 multifamily homes in Scottsdale make up 5% of their accounts, and use only 16% of our water. Multifamily homes use, on average half, the water of a single family home.based on over 125,000 existing households. MF uses 1/2 the water on average. Graham is, again, proposing more bureaucratic hurdles to block investment.

    4. Graham claims to not know anyone who is anti-growth. He was endorsed by Councilor Betty Janik, who just last week called for a halt to all new multifamily development. Perhaps he should re-think if he wishes to have Janik's endore*****t.

    5. Graham claims to not have been influenced by political hyperbole for Greenbelt 88 and Ironwood 92. These were the most heavily scrutinized projects in recent memory. Each project were victimized by hyperbolic social media campaigns on Nextdoor, let by a Graham donor Susan Wood, and Graham's running-mate Bob Littlefield. Both projects had overwhelming support from local businesses, residents speaking in favor. Barry completely gave in to political hyperbole from a small group of angry, uncompromising people. Barry listens to residents who agree with him, not the 240,000 other voters who love the direction our city is going.

    This article is nothing but populist pandering, that reveal Graham to be a big-government bureaucrat, a blocker to investment, and not even all that aware of what our Council has actually done recently.

    Tuesday, June 14 Report this

  • jason.alexander

    Barry Graham lies. In tonight's candidate forum, Graham said that 100,000 apartments added to our existing housing supply of 130,000 units would not affect prices. Graham said he has degrees in economics and accounting, which makes his denial of supply and demand even more shameful. Graham claimed the the approval of Greenbelt 88 was causing Uncle Sal's restaurant to close, which is completely untrue as per the owner of the plaza. Graham claimed that there are 10,000 apartments about to be built in Scottsdale despite a report this week from the Planning department showing only 3300 were under construction, 3000 granted zoning but not yet approved, and 1500 proposed but not having even been granted zoning. Barry Graham has denied the results of the 2020 election, absent any facts whatsoever. Barry Graham can not be trusted.

    Wednesday, June 15 Report this