Town Council

Minor changes in review for Town Code regarding hillside section

Posted 4/20/20

Paradise Valley Town Code may be getting a minor face lift.

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Town Council

Minor changes in review for Town Code regarding hillside section


Paradise Valley Town Code may be getting a minor face lift.

The Town Council is considering an amendment that incorporates the Hillside Safety Improvement Measures and Process Manual directly into the Town Code. The Town Council will make a final determination on the ordinance at its April 23 meeting.

Previously, the manual, which council adopted in 2018, provided new regulations designed to ensure construction plans and activities on properties within the Hillside Development Area proceeded safely. The Town Council set forth the manual as if it was part of the Town Code.

In section 5-10-9 of the Town Code, there was a previous prompt for readers to utilize the manual. The amendment replaces that prompt with the contents of the manual as part of an expanded section.

The Town Council reviewed the incorporation at its April 9 meeting, deciding to forego an additional review of the amendment. Instead, council directed staff to promote textual clarity ahead of the April 23 meeting.

All textual clarity included additional comments clarifying terms. Vice Mayor Julie Pace and councilmember Scott Moore, both of whom were part of the original drafting of the manual, reviewed those changes.

Along with textual clarity, town staff made other changes to the section.

The first regarded definition, adding all explanations into the definitions section in alphabetical order. Staff also put some of the definitions into the operative sections of the code as appropriate.

Staff also made a change in insurance requirements. Previously, Town Code required a $5 million aggregate based on anticipated impacts but since projects can be diverse, staff recommended the flexibility of adjusting that set amount.

The proposed ordinance also requires insurance for demolitions of hillside homes and structures, not just new constructions because of potential dangers of doing such projects.

The Town of Paradise Valley sees Camelback and Mummy mountains as well as the Phoenix Mountains as “valuable scenic resources” that should “provide a permanent visual presence that exemplifies what is unique about Paradise Valley,” according to Article XXII of the zoning ordinance.

Because of this mindset, the town has implemented additional requirements and standards for development on these lands. This deems all lands within the Hillside Development Area as well as all lands where the natural terrain has a slope of 10% or greater, except when a natural wash creates such a slope.