Burke: Paradise Valley Town Council set for busy fall

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, in the Town of Paradise Valley. (File photo)

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, in the Town of Paradise Valley. (File photo)

Paradise Valley Town Council will begin its next legislative session Thursday, Sept. 8 at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, with an eye to overhauling the allowed trash service, mitigation to cell phone coverage problems and an update to how the municipality will handle SB 1350 impacts to local neighborhoods.

“We have four months to complete the goals of this term,” said Paradise Valley Town Manager Kevin Burke in an Aug. 24 statement.  “Many have already been accomplished or are underway but we have some heavy lifting yet to do. The focus remains the action items associated with the Quality of Life Initiatives.”

Mr. Burke says the top issue at the onset of the new council session will be possible changes to trash and recycling services.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

“Staff has prepared a two-tiered action plan to mitigate the negative impacts of trash hauling in our neighborhoods,” he pointed out. “The first tier is purely legislative. The mayor and council will review an amendment to the existing ordinance regulating trash hauling to accomplish several things.”

The Town of Paradise Valley has a free-market system offering residents the ability to choose their own trash hauler. Trash outfits providing service include Area Disposal, Right Away Disposal, Scott Waste Services, Republic Services and Waste Management. All trash haulers are required to obtain and maintain an annual license agreement with the municipality at a cost of $500.

Collection containers may be placed at the curb the night before collection day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and must be removed from the street and stored in a screened area by the end of the collection day, according to the town’s website.

Paradise Valley trash haulers are required to pick-up trash two times a week while recyclables have to be removed at least twice a month, according to town code.

Proposed changes would include:

  • A limit of pick-ups to Tuesday and Fridays;
  • Trucks 2010 or newer would now be a requirement to participate;
  • Trash entities will be provided the ability to seek a county waiver to offer trash pick-up only once a week.

Mr. Burke says those proposed changes will be flushed out on the local dais in early September.

“The second tier is consideration of licensing a single hauler to pick up residential trash in Paradise Valley,” he explained of a major change. “Staff has been drafting a request for proposal for such a system but we need to see if the mayor and council are interested.”

Cell phone reception

Mr. Burke points to cell phone reception issues as a major endeavor town council is looking to tackle this session.

“The mayor and I have learned a bunch about what is causing the poor cell service in Paradise Valley,” he said.

“We have worked with carriers, consultants and cell tower companies. We plan to convey that new knowledge during a work session on Sept. 22 and outline how the town might help; however, much of this is in the hands of private parties.”

Because of the community’s geography and land-use patterns, traditional macro cell sites are limited within town limits. Sloping hillsides and mountains create challenges to the quality of cell phone coverage and how that service can be improved, town officials say.

In 2011 the Town attempted to rectify the issues through new technology known as a distributed antenna system, which consists of a fiber-optic backbone that includes a series of six-foot antenna nodes installed throughout a community improving coverage, voice quality and internet access of cell phones, according to Independent records.

As a solution, 42 antenna nodes had been installed throughout Paradise Valley embedded within faux cacti.

Zoning and land issues abound

Local leaders say SB 1350 has gut the ability for local municipalities to regulate short-term vacation rentals outside of commercially zoned resort or hotel establishments within city and town limits.

Senate Bill 1350, sponsored by Arizona Senate Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R), goes into effect at the end of calendar year 2016 and restricts local cities and towns from being able to regulate or restrict the use of vacation rentals or short-term rentals within municipal boundaries.

Municipal leaders say the proposed legislation is meant to help fuel the idea of a “shared economy” championed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, but the unintended consequences of allowing residential homes to act as boutique hotels could be devastating to local neighborhoods, they contend.

“We will give an update on the short-term rentals and the work the town is doing to bring rentals into compliance with town laws that are consistent with the new state statute,” he said.

“We have a whole host of ordinance changes coming from the Planning Commission including amendments to address noise, lighting, fences, hillside, and property maintenance. We will review concepts associated with a visually significant corridor design guideline.”

Town council is expected to assess a number of critical planning items like resort development and longterm zoning plans.

“The mayor and council will be reviewing a number of significant planning items including the town triangle general plan amendment and zoning change, reviewing plats from the Ritz-Carlton properties, and a considering a series of lot splits,” he said.

“Not to mention reviewing the outcomes of the Cheney Watershed study associated with improving storm water drainage.”

A councilman’s focus

Paradise Valley Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner says while town council has been on break members have still been kept in the loop of municipal happenings.

Jerry Bien-Willner

Jerry Bien-Willner

“First and foremost we will continue to engage in the work that we left behind before our summer break,” he said in an Aug. 23 phone interview. “I am looking to have a focus of maintaining the town’s overall direction, its personnel and improvements project throughout town. We are going to continue to move forward with making the town the best place to live in the Valley.”

While quality of life issues will remain paramount for Paradise Valley Town Council, Councilman Bien-Willner says he is looking for ways to address national issues on a local level.

“As regional and national things take place, how can the town can stay informed?” he said of his focus to bring a new level of communication to local residents. “I think it is important we stay engaged with regional and national resources so we can help keep residents informed as much as possible.”

Councilman Bien-Willner say she believes in the notion local government’s No. 1 job is public safety — and he wants to keep the department moving in a positive direction.

“We have got to stay vigilant about public safety, there’s no question about that, but while that includes our police force, fire, it also includes making sure our roadways are safe and storm water drains properly,” he said.

“Any issues that can impact health and safety, I think that this government’s No. 1 responsibility.”

The Town of Paradise Valley is something that needs to be protected on various levels of civic engagement, Councilman Bien-Willner contends.

“I hope people know what I am about and that is protecting our quality of life,” he said. “I will keep working toward that. We work well as a team — both as a council and the town staff — that has been my approach and that will continue to be my approach.”

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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