Developers put the brakes on Paradise Valley Medical Plaza overhaul

A graphic illustrating the location of the newly proposed medical building at Paradise Valley Medical Plaza (Submitted graphic)

The crew behind a redevelopment of Paradise Valley Medical Plaza has requested a continuance on the project’s public hearing to iron-out neighbor concerns.

The Paradise Valley Medical Plaza, 5410 N. Scottsdale Road, is seeking a special use permit amendment to allow for a new medical building, new parking area, two new parking canopies and new signage.

The applicant, represented by Doug Jorden of Jorden Hiser & Joy, requested the March 14 public hearing be continued to May 9, to address issues raised by certain neighbors, a letter issued to town officials say.

A meeting has been scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in the Community Room of Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, for neighbors to attend and discuss the project.

Paradise Valley Medical Plaza is on a 10-acre parcel of land at the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jackrabbit roads.

The proposal would add one single-story, 10,000-square-foot building on the west side of the campus. The new space is proposed to be used for additional medical offices and/or surgical facilities. Additionally, new covered parking spaces will be added in the central area of the site, since eight covered parking spaces will be eliminated by the new building.

In 2003, the town approved a major amendment to the special use permit increasing the overall square footage of the medical and surgical facilities to 50,000 square feet.

Community concerns emerge

A few Paradise Valley residents submitted comments or spoke during the March 14 Paradise Valley Town Council meeting, requesting the municipality deny the project or strongly consider certain aspects, such as parking.

Resident Patrick Ford, a resident since 1991, expressed his concern of traffic nearby the residential neighborhood.

“This is a neighborhood of families, and the kids growing up — the kids have been outside,” Mr. Ford said.

“Any traffic that leaves both the medical plaza, around Jackrabbit, down Scottsdale Road, anything that’s been diverted down Vista, is right by my house. I hear every car — if it’s not a neighbor, they’re going fast by the time they’re going by my house.”

Mr. Ford says the speed bumps in the neighborhood often signalize who doesn’t live in the area, as they can be heard slamming on their brakes.

“I hear all the cars constantly. If I’m out front, I’ve turned into the person who yells at the cars going by — I don’t like being that person, but someone has to be the grouchy old guy on the corner. I’ll yell at the cars, ‘slow down, watch the kids,’” Mr. Ford said.

“Just pay attention to the traffic is what I’m asking for.”

Scott Kiburz, another longtime resident, encouraged town officials to “move away” from the project and described the applicant’s efforts as disingenuous.

“I want to tell the council, it’s very disingenuous by the people proposing this — I’ve said it before the last time I spoke — unclear is unkind. There’s not been clarity, there’s not been good working together with us as residents in that neighborhood for the best solution. We rolled up our sleeves in 2003 with the town, with the previous owners and did a good job,” Mr. Kiburz said.

“These people care about their property, and their preservation and quality of life. We’ve now moved this to the May date, that’s all the time when our families take vacation with our kids. Again, being very disingenuous of wanting to have a roll-up-your-sleeves-solution done.”

Mr. Jorden also spoke at the meeting, saying the client does want to have that type of collaborative experience the neighbors described.

“We want to sit down and roll up our sleeves. We’re going to give it the old college try, and try and have that dialogue that you’re talking about,” Mr. Jorden said.

Doug Jorden

“We had one community meeting, two people showed up — we’re going to have another one. We want to give ourselves plenty of time, we want to give neighbors plenty of time to work through these things and see where we can get.”

Councilwoman Julie Pace chimed in on the conversation, saying she’s volunteered her efforts to facilitate the conversations between the applicant and the neighbors.

“I think it’s important to figure out the balance, so I have volunteered to the neighbors and the applicant to meet on April 4, and to help facilitate and roll up the sleeves together,” Ms. Pace said. “We have three owners of the medical complex — they’re Paradise Valley residents — we have neighbors that are there. I think it’s good to think of things constructively before that date.”

Ms. Pace encouraged people to bring their ideas to the meeting, noting that she thinks the applicant is making a good faith effort by pushing the public hearing to a later date.

“I think it takes an open mind in figuring out what everyone can do that’s constructive given the constraints. I’m there for both sides,” she said. “Please don’t give up in participating. I think part of the process as you saw from other neighbors is participating. If there’s other ways to solve things we have to let people think creatively, identify the issue and see what we can put together that can work.”

The written public comments submitted to the town over the past several months include letters mostly raising concerns with the project. Concerns include traffic, noise, biohazard, setbacks and the overall impact to what many describe in their letters as a family neighborhood.

Jason Rose of Rose Moser Allyn Public Relations says his clients are optimistic about finding a path forward that has not yet been discussed.

“What’s being contemplated as a very small addition — it’s 10,000 square feet or less — some neighbors have expressed concern about it. It’s appreciated that Councilwoman Julie Pace is going to step in to moderate a discussion,” Mr. Rose said. “Some neighbors support it, other neighbors have concerns. We are extremely optimistic about a path forward that has not been discussed to date. She’s got a lot of integrity on this issue having lived there for a long period of time.”

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at mrosequist@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Mrosequist_

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