Congratulations, City Council. Let's have a public cup of coffee. Scottsdale's deficit is the perfect political excuse to lay aside politics and debate policy based on facts, merit and the best interests of the city, to make progress - not win arguments.
I know how hard it is to oppose those who support you, but if Scottsdale's best financial interests are served, we all win. Your responsibility, after public health and safety, is to maintain revenue because quality of life suffers when services are cut, jobs lost and stores close; our economic house should not be so precariously constructed.
Revenue and costs are a part of every issue to maintain core services (fire, police, utilities), salaries, street improvements, the preserve, special events, the arts and community services that include parks and libraries.
Revitalization of south Scottsdale depends on new and redeveloped housing, and yes, added density, resulting in more young consumers supporting new, small commercial projects such as medical buildings, office and retail projects with mom-and-pop-owned restaurants and businesses. New, large open-air malls on the Loop 202, such as Riverview Center and Tempe Marketplace, and our own downtown will forever dominate retail.
Downtown Scottsdale will continue to be successful due to the variety of use and architecture. It is not a shopping center, it is a place of cars and people, a true city atmosphere with energy, sidewalks, unexpected discovery, busy streets and storefront windows. Traffic and parking concerns are overrated, but high rents are a concern.
Real estate site plans, design and density can be brought into the 21st century without destroying our unique character or our Western history. Know that buildings serve to attract tenants and good ones help them prosper. New projects such as Solis Waterfront, Scottsdale Crossing next to SkySong and the Hanover Apartments can be improved with wider view corridors and deeper setbacks, and height makes it work. We can accept taller buildings along the freeway, and then we can demand reduced height close to neighborhoods. We can't have it both ways.
Road improvements reduce congestion and lead to mass transportation that's flexible and efficient.
People deserve an opportunity to live in the north, where 9,000 acres of developable land remains, if they choose. Where low-low density is appropriate, keep it - but one house per five acres is outdated and one house per acre covers the landscape and causes flooding. Shouldn't the goal be more open space? "Cluster" zoning makes more sense, similar to the Finistere development in Paradise Valley.
Accept limitations on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Sure, we'd all like 36,000 acres, and at an average price of $23,000 per acre it worked; but at current values, we won't have the money.
Tourism and small business produce sales taxes, rent taxes, bed taxes and property taxes - 50 percent of all tax revenue. Supporting it with General Fund money for additional marketing brings more small business opportunity, fills hotels and restaurants and is the key to our prosperity; it's a no-brainer.
Joel Bramoweth is a resident of Scottsdale.