Horizon of visually significant corridor plan lacks significant Paradise Valley support

The cover of the Visually Significant Corridors Master Plan, which shows a decorated intersection. (image by Town of Paradise Valley)

It appears the most visual parts of the Visually Significant Corridor Master Plan are not favored by Paradise Valley Town Council.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, the Town Council took its first look at the master plan, which has been worked on by the town’s Planning Commission since last summer.

While ideas of decorated streetscapes and two landscaped street corners is included in the Visually Significant Corridors Master Plan, Paradise Valley officials say they’re not sure it’s the right look for the municipality.

“I have a concern when I look at this picture, I’m just going to be honest, I’m not really sure, honestly, that this fits for PV,” Councilwoman Julie Pace said, describing her reaction as “freaking out” when she sees it.

“I don’t mean any offense to people who have worked on this, and Daran’s team, I love everything about this except the big design. I’ve been thinking about it all summer, visually, when I drive through those intersections what makes me think I’m in PV? It’s the beautiful open space, the cactus part, and some of these design elements you’ve codified very nicely in here, but I’m not sure I’m a big fan of putting a marker on the cement when I’d probably like it more rural.”

The colorful design that’s been the cover of the Visually Significant Corridors plan since its inception is more well suited for a big-city entryway, Ms. Pace notes.

Mayor Michael Collins says he agrees with all of Ms. Pace’s sentiments, including concern over homeless persons who find solace on their newly developed park benches.

A view of an entryway into the Town of Paradise Valley along Tatum Boulevard. (File photo)

“I agree with everything you just said; both in terms of that specific design and also about trying not to create unintended consequences resulting from some of that infrastructure,” Mr. Collins said.

Councilman Paul Dembow voiced question over mandating residential landscaping designs.

“Mandating landscaping in private property is something that if somebody has a beautiful, eastern style home with a lawn and they want to spend $2,000 a month on watering it, and I have a temporary house and I want desert landscape it’s OK,” he said.

“But the cost and maintenance ongoing is something that really concerns me — it’s not just the initial, it’s the ongoing.”

Councilman David Sherf says he agrees with Mr. Dembow, questioning how to get private residents to buy into the plan.

According to Councilman Scott Moore, he says Paradise Valley residents he’s spoken with aren’t keen on the idea.

“The painted lizards and the medallion in the middle of the street, I’m not sure that’s gotten a very warm welcome from anyone so far,” Mr. Moore said.

Vice Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner voiced concern over a safety issue for motorists with the proposed design.

“Apart from the aesthetics, I had some concerns about, that large circle drew my attention too because in a town that’s moving more toward roundabouts, I think there’s potential visual confusion there when people drive through an intersection and see a big circle,” Mr. Bien-Willner said. “People may really not know what to do about that — I don’t mean to pick on any demographic, but people from other places, senior citizens — it could be confusing (and) that concerned me.”

The Town of Paradise Valley Visioning Committee in 2011 identified opportunities existing along Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard that could serve as “showcase corridors,” according to town officials.

Since 2016 the Planning Commission, town staff and hired consultants Environmental Planning Group and Michael Baker International have been developing the plan.

The 2012 General Plan identifies visually significant corridors a “designated highly visible, prominent streets, including Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard.”

The master plan outlines a bevy of design elements to be implemented within the town as new projects arise — from which plants to implement to site furnishings and screen walls — as well as proposes iconic design elements to make the intersection of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard standout.

At 4.9 miles from 32nd Street to near Scottsdale Road, Lincoln Drive is the only street spanning the full west-east width of town. Likewise, Tatum Boulevard from McDonald Drive/45th Street to Shea Boulevard is the only street spanning the full south-north length of town at 3.5 miles long.

Community Development Director Jeremey Knapp says the Visually Significant Corridor Master Plan isn’t a one-time project, but is a guideline to be implemented over the next several years.

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to revisit the master plan at their next meeting.

News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be reached by e-mail at mfittro@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MelissaFittro

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