I attended the Mayor’s Forum last Tuesday at Town Hall and I am always comforted by the quality of candidates that chose to serve our town.
However, several of candidate Pace’s comments left me feeling uncomfortable.
She repeatedly mentioned that “six resorts are coming, the likes of which we’ve never seen before!” And, she mentioned that state legislators were coming after our one-home-per-acre zoning. She made theses statements without offering any supporting details. This is pure fear-mongering and has no place in our campaigns.
I have no idea what six resorts are coming, but our town currently has nine world-class resorts that often need renovations, remodeling or a complete redo. This is not new and town standards encourage continued reinvestment while protecting adjacent homes and neighborhoods.
There is a thoroughly vetted process that ensures an open and transparent review of all applications to an existing SUP (Special Use Permit, the land-use designation for resorts).
If candidate Pace is suggesting that a new resort would come to town and convert existing zoned residential to a SUP, she is obviously not as well versed in land use as she claims. This would require a new, major SUP and, it would also require a major general plan amendment.
Each step would face intense public scrutiny and votes. As an experienced council member, I would think that candidate Pace would have better understanding of the town’s processes.
As for the legislators coming for our one-acre zoning, it is true that the council and staff have to be aware every year of crazy bills. However, the bill she referred to resulted in a study group being formed to study affordable housing across Arizona, not just Paradise Valley.
Campaigns can bring out the best and worst in candidates. We need leadership, not fear mongering. Please join me in supporting Jerry Bien-Willner for mayor.
Paradise Valley resident and former Town Council member