Paul Barnes, longtime Phoenix neighborhood advocate, retires

After 20 years of advocating for the preservation of established neighborhoods and responsible development, Paul Barnes of the Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix is retiring.  His goal: to spend more quality time with his wife and family… and maybe do a little fishing.

In his July 10, 2009 letter announcing his retirement, Barnes didn’t shy away from expressing his opinion on City of Phoenix personalities and policies.  Barnes wrote it was regrettable that “during recent years both some elected officials and the leadership of the Planning Department frequently have taken the position that any development is responsible development.”  He further noted that “planning for preservation of established neighborhoods has largely given way to supporting rezonings that can be harmful to them, while existing area plans are ignored and the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance are made more permissive through text amendments and special overlays.”

His advice to friends and associates: “Continue to step up to the plate to wage the good fight by encouraging your neighborhoods to stay organized and engaged.  Hold your elected officials’ feet to the fire.  Developers and other special interests may supply campaign funds but you supply the votes.  If you do these things, sometimes you will still lose, but if you don’t, you will never win.”

He closed his letter by stating the good times far outnumbered the bad and that he’s met a great many wonderful people inside and outside of City Hall.  While his retirement is effective immediately, Barnes will complete his remaining July commitments.  After that, it’s off for some well-deserved fishing.

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