Daily Archives: December 15, 2010

Myths associated with applications covering the Camel Square Site on northwest corner of 44th St. & Camelback

DVC (by unanimous vote with one vote abstaining) voted December 13, 2010 to issue a statement supporting the Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix position below, stating that this removal of stipulations will set a precedent for going against the wishes of a specific neighborhood, but goes against the goals inherent in ANY neighborhood, i.e. property values, quality of life, view corridor. Mediation and transparency is the key to successful development.



[Source: Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix]

Please read these myths prior to attending the 12/15/10 5:00 pm City Council Meeting.

Myth: The abutting neighbors are NIMBYs who are opposed to all redevelopment of the corner.

    Fact: The abutting neighbors are not opposed to redevelopment with height and density that exceeds those currently existing. Several times they have made requests for legitimate mediation, but these requests have been rebuked by out of State owners.

    Myth: The 44th Street and Camelback Road Study Group put together by the District 6 Councilman is the best body to mediate redevelopment parameters between the abutting neighbors and the owners.

      Fact: This 19-member study group, including the councilman, was hand-picked to insure a satisfactory result for the owners/developer.  It is not representative of the abutting residents.

      Myth: Per the Planning Hearing Officer, “The proposed project will be developed in conformance with the current C-O/M-O development standards.”

        Fact: There is no proposed project.  Throughout the study group discussions and other venues, the owners made it clear that they wanted the present stipulations removed so that before they go through rezoning at some point in time that they would at least have a developable commercial office site.  At the second meeting of the Camelback Road Study Group, the applicant mentioned possible future heights of 75’ and 84’ as opposed to the C-O/M-O height of 56’.  One of the Planning Commissioners called the applications to remove the stipulations a “rope-a-dope”.  The applications are gross speculation.  They achieve a substantial increase in entitlements for the owners by decreasing the quality of life for the abutting neighbors.

        Myth: The proposed project will provide opportunities for employment.

          Fact: There is NO proposed project. No project/development; therefore, no employment. It should be noted that the Planning Commission added a period of 5 years from approval to remove current stipulations before any building permits need to be pulled.

          Myth: Development of the corner in accordance with current C-O/M-O development standards would not be out of character with the surrounding zoning as indicated by the London Building.

            Fact: The London Center is located at the SW corner of 44th Street and Camelback.  At time of construction it was called Camel Point.  It is zoned C-2.  It was built prior to the C-2 District design specifications in June 1988 limiting height to 30’ unless changed by the City Council.  Paragraph 3.9.2 on page 28 of the January 1991 44th Street Corridor Specific Plan states as follows regarding the London building:

            “The intersection of 44th Street and Camelback Road is a major east/west traffic intersection.  It has a strong regional identity with exceptional views of Camelback Mountain.  The commercial and retail uses are a compatible transition to the adjacent neighborhoods with the exception of Camel Point, the office building on the southwest corner, which does not transition well in scale with the development around it.”

            Myth: Owners need 56’ in height on the C-O site at the 44th Street and Camelback Road intersection to compete with the other C-O properties along Camelback Road

              Fact: A study was made of the 20 C-O properties along Camelback Road.  None of them are 56’ in height.  Most of them are 2 and 3 stories.  The highest is at 3900 East Camelback.  This is a new building limited in height to 40’ at the peak.  Tables from this study were previously provided to the Mayor and each of the City Council members.

              Myth: That after the stipulations have been removed, the required conceptual site plan review by a Planning Hearing Officer will protect the abutting neighbors and give them the right of appeal.

                Fact: Once the present stipulations have been removed as being sought by the out of state owners, the abutting neighbors are stuck with the 56’ height, setbacks and density reflected in the proposed replacement stipulations.  Furthermore, the PHO review is only of a conceptual site plan.  This is a poor substitute for the specific site plans that currently define the subject site.  Furthermore, the pertinent stipulation goes on to state “specific development standards and requirements will be determined by the Planning and Development Services Department.”  This part of the stipulation concerns specific site plan approval and review from which the abutting neighbors have no right of appeal.  Only the owners do.  It is at this stage of the process where the “Rubber Really Meets The Road.”

                Myth: The abutting neighbors have rejected 36 different plans submitted for redevelopment of the site by the owners.

                  Fact:    This assertion has been made at the PHO and Planning Commission hearings by flashing “plans” in a video with the word “rejected” written across the front.  Most were of the same “plan” from different views.  They were of overheight structures.  The pretty “plans” were used primarily for the benefit of the Media and the Real Estate industry.  Many were never presented to anyone in the public.  As previously stated, the abutting neighbors want to see the subject site redeveloped.  They should not be maligned for not accepting redevelopment that while maximizing the profits for the owners would result in a serious negative impact on their quality of life.

                  Myth: Building at the subject site to the C-O/M-O standards once the present stipulations are removed, gives greater protection to abutting neighbors than building to the 1986 C-O standards would.

                    Fact:    This argument is a SWITCHEROO advanced to gloss over the real issue.  The Site plans approved by Phoenix to which the buildings on the subject site are currently constructed show a setback on the west side of the site of 160’ before a 16’ building is established.  The reduction of this setback to 20’ as proposed by the owners will totally obliterate the views of Camelback Mountain for the abutting neighbors and transfer them to the owners and their new buildings.  This is simply not equitable.  The abutting neighbors are willing to see the 160’ setback reduced.  Fixing the setback is one of the items that should be resolved in the mediation requested by the abutting neighbors.

                    B.   Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix

                    WHAT YOU CAN DO

                    • Attend the Wednesday, 12/15/10 City Council meeting at 5:00 pm.  For those not catching a bus, parking is available in the City garage across the street from the Chambers.  Please try and get to the City Council Chambers at 200 W. Jefferson at 4:30 pm to sign in and insure seating.  We have asked the Mayor to put our item first on the agenda, so it won’t be a long evening.
                    • Pass this post on to all of your friends and ask them to attend the 12/15/10 City Council hearing, as well as take the action per the next bullet point.
                    • Send emails and/or make phone calls to the Mayor and City Councilmembers asking them to vote NO on removal of the present stipulations from the Camel Square site on NWC of 44th Street and Camelback on 12/15/10.  Addresses and telephone numbers areas follows:

                    Phil Gordon Mayor.gordon@phoenix.gov – 602-262-7111

                    Thelda Williams council.district.1@phoenix.gov 262-7444

                    Peggy Neely council.district.2@phoenix.gov 262-7445

                    Bill Gates council.district.3@phoenix.gov 262-7441

                    Tom Simplot council.district.4@phoenix.gov 262-7447

                    Claude Mattox council.district.5@phoenix.gov 262-7446

                    Sal DiCiccio council.district.6@phoenix.gov 262-7491

                    Michael Nowakowski council.district.7@phoenix.gov 262-7492

                    Michael Johnson council.district.7@phoenix.gov 262-7493



                    Viewpoint: Convenience over safety: reverse lanes on the 7s

                    The following is a letter by Vice-Mayor and district 7  Councilman, Michael Nowakowski, written after yesterday’s City council recommendation to maintain the reverse lanes with minor changes.

                    Dear friends and neighbors,

                    Nowakowski Convenience Over Safety: Reverse Lanes on the 7sToday, my colleagues and I at City Council considered the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Task Force that studied the issue of the reverse lanes on 7th Avenue and 7th Street.

                    For many years as a private citizen, I disliked the effect that the reverse lanes had on traffic and neighborhoods, and for the past few years I’ve had the privilege of fighting the reverse lanes as your councilman. My staff and I know intimately the problems with speeding, the confusion, the cut-through traffic and the accidents and near-misses that threaten people along these roads. I’ve received thousands of calls, emails, and letters about the negative effect of reverse lanes on our community.

                    At today’s meeting, however, convenience was chosen over safety and quality of life. While it’s promising that the City will pursue enforcement and education along the reverse lanes, my hope has always been to eliminate the reverse lanes and put safety first. I’d like to thank Councilman Tom Simplot for his long-time efforts to eliminate the reverse lanes, and my colleagues Councilwoman Thelda Williams and Mayor Phil Gordon for their willingness to consider the well-being of our neighborhoods.

                    I would also like to extend a big thanks to all of the members of the task force we seated for their service, and the hundreds of Phoenicians who participated in the public hearing process regardless of how they feel about the reverse lanes. A city is only as great as its people, and we have the best people.

                    Your friend,

                    Michael Nowakowski

                    Vice Mayor and District 7 resident

                    Phoenix City Council keeps ‘suicide lanes’ with minor changes

                    [Source: Tim Vetscher ABC15, YouTube]

                    Angry residents walk away empty handed after Phoenix City Council decides to put off any final decision on downtown reverse lanes.


                    City council adopts reverse lane changes

                    [Source: Tim Vetscher, ABC15.com]

                    Changes are coming to the reverse lanes along 7th Street and 7th Avenue in Phoenix, but not until next summer at the earliest.

                    Council members voted 5-1 to adopt recommendations put forth by an ad hoc committee established to examine the so-called ‘suicide lanes’.

                    However, the council sent the matter back to the City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department to determine the costs of the changes and exactly how the recommendations will be implemented.

                    The lanes on both 7th Avenue and 7th Street alternate directions depending on the time of day to accommodate traffic.

                    From 6 to 9 a.m. the lanes allow for cars to travel southbound. From 4 to 6 p.m. the lanes switch to handle northbound traffic.

                    The ad hoc committee recommended to allow drivers to turn left at certain intersections along 7th Street and 7th Avenue.

                    The committee also suggested adding bus bays as well as photo enforcement to cut down on speed and illegal turns in the area.