Moore, Pace discuss realizing municipal focus in Paradise Valley

A major item coming up in the Town of Paradise Valley is going to be the potential for a new trash and recycling program that steps away from the free-market system already in place there. (File Photo)

Paradise Valley Town Council returns from its summer slumber Thursday, Sept. 4 as elected leaders expect to hear and render decisions on variable items ranging from quality-of-life pursuits to major policy decisions.

Town council meets at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

Top officials there say local residents can expect an initial focus of attention on the possible end to the town’s free-market trash and recycling system while longterm concerns continue to revolve around public safety pension costs.

Paradise Valley is paying 62 percent of a police officer’s salary toward their state pension plan, carrying an estimated annual total financial obligation of about $1.5 million.

Local leaders say the underlying push to make a change to the General Fund reserve fund policy is to pay that $18 million in unfunded liability to PSPRS, which manages the pension plans for Paradise Valley, eliminating the 8 percent assessment.

Short- and longterm impacts of an overhaul of the town’s established alarm system, the adoption of new storm water retention guidelines and better controls for short-term vacation rentals are all items top of mind in the epicenter of Paradise Valley.

Trash and recycle proposals have been submitted for local trash haulers to bid on the service of approximately 5,600 homes within town limits.

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, Republic Services and Waste Management.

A similar action is taking place where town leaders are seeking requests for proposals for a third-party operator to handle its established townwide alarm system.

Since October 2015 Paradise Valley Town Council has been searching for a way to create a cost-neutral alarm system in order to maintain a service offered since 1984.

A potential for new rules regarding short-term vacation rentals in the Town of Paradise Valley may emerge is a local ordinance coined “unruly party protocol.”

Senate Bill 1350 restricts local cities and towns from being able to regulate or restrict the use of vacation rentals or short-term rentals within municipal boundaries.

Paradise Valley Town Manager Kevin Burke outlined a series of items coming residents will likely hear local chatter about including the finalization of the storm drainage manual, a Hillside Code update and development items surrounding Area C of the proposed Ritz-Carlton project.

The curious case of rising public safety pension costs continues to be a moving target, Mr. Burke contends.

The Town of Paradise Valley Independent reached out to two elected officials — Scott Moore and Julie Pace — to better understand what residents can expect from their local government as the fall town council session looms.

Scott Moore

•As a councilman and resident what municipal business has your attention as summer is winding down?

Scott Moore

It’s exciting to see the Five Star, Ritz-Carlton resort property continue to development over the summer. The final pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together with the resort on track to open by the end of 2018. Five Star Development is working with staff and the Planning Commission to fine-tune the final design for the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton property. Traffic will be a major concern once the entire resort property in Paradise Valley is open and the retail portion in Scottsdale opens. Five Star and town staff continue to work together with Scottsdale on portions of Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale Road and the intersection at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road and are making good progress. Council has seen some initial ideas in study session on ways to mitigate traffic calming on Indian Bend Road and have directed staff to develop additional alternatives for consideration. I’m looking forward to seeing those ideas for enhancement that protect our residential neighborhoods from unnecessary traffic and inconveniences and for ways to see a smoother flow of traffic.

•What do you expect for council to tackle when council comes back together this September?

We still have many council goals to work on from our council retreat from last February and many Quality of Life Initiatives under way from the last term. The council scheduled a special meeting during summer break to enact an ordinance regarding small cell wireless facilities in rights-of-way and amending the master fee schedule. Paradise Valley was the first to act prior to A.R.S. § 9-592 taking effect. We will continue to work toward legislation that keeps with our town’s values. On the September agenda we will be discussing possible amendments to council operating policies and procedures, additional training for boards and commissions and other items pertaining to governance.

•What are you most looking forward to tackle this coming council session?

I look forward to working with the mayor and council along with staff on many issues that are evolving on a state level that affect our local government. Short-term rentals, sober-living facilities and small-cell sites in municipal rights-of-way to name a few. On a more local level, we’re working on issues such as storm water management that includes adopting updates to the storm water drainage manual, continued discussions around the creation of a single-hauler trash and recycle system and the potential for a third-party operator and a cost neutral plan for the town’s alarm monitoring system. We will continue working on solutions for rising costs to our public safety personal retirement system and monitor legislators as they continue to put forth bills that affect us in these areas.

•What has you worried or maybe what is coming down the pike that is likely to garner local opinions?

I wouldn’t say I’m worried because our residents really do work together as a community, but the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan; specifically the bicycle portion has garnered a lot of differing points of view from both sides. The process has been a long one that started way back in 2011 as part of the update to the General Plan. Since then, several work study sessions both at the council level and also at the planning commission level have taken place. This process has provided an excellent platform to gather a very comprehensive amount of information from our residents, staff and the consultants. I look forward to finalizing a plan that finds support throughout the town.

•What’s your No. 1 priority right now serving on town council?

My No. 1 priority has always been public safety and working with all the council members to preserve and protect Paradise Valley’s exceptional quality of life and its unique large lot residential character and world class resorts. Great work has gone into so many new resort developments in our town including many updates and expansions to existing resort properties. With only the most challenging lots left to develop on hillside, I will continue to support responsible hillside preservation and development and for putting safety first for all surrounding hillside residents.

•What do you think our readers need to know about the Town of Paradise Valley right now?

With so much legislation happening at the federal and state levels that affects our way of governing, this council and our town staff must continue to push back on regulation that endangers the unique quality of life we all cherish. While I understand the free-market goals of our state legislators, it’s unfortunate they continue to take away local control. We have seen recent resident disapproval of several proposed intensified uses in our local residential neighborhoods, such as sober-living houses, short-term rentals and “party houses.” Each time we have stepped in with more control and regulation we’ve been constricted in our efforts by federal and state laws. Although I see this as a constant challenge, we certainly will work on ways to improve and tighten up local regulation that is consistent with law and at the same time prevent as much abuse as possible. It is a goal of the council and town staff to stay constantly in front of our state legislators and educating them on what makes Paradise Valley unique over most other municipalities.

•What do residents talk to you most about?

I hear from our residents all the time and that message is always consistent with our town’s values that have been in place for generations. Our residents always speak out on keeping with the tradition that has made our community so unique, but at the same time they are looking at the challenges we face today and want fair and balanced solutions. Many of the issues residents talk to me about are already part of our quality of life initiatives. One example would be to find ways to improve cell phone coverage without adversely affecting our scenic beauty and mountains. Our town took on an enormous task of taking down poles and undergrounding most every power line within Town limits. This should not be undervalued when looking at ways to mitigate cellular coverage. The desire to erect very tall poles as an easy solution to enhance performance is not something that is desired. Stealth solutions such as the ones that already exist today with faux cacti or possibly placing stealth solutions in higher locations such as water tank sites are much more desired solutions.

Julie Pace

•As a councilwoman and resident what municipal business has your attention as summer is winding down?

Julie Pace

I have been focusing efforts during summer on Hillside preservation, new cell tower regulations, and ACOPS goals including education outreach on proper drone use especially when emergency vehicles, helicopters and emergency response personnel are working, pedestrian and bike safety, construction security, and best approach to address false alarms so our officers can be focused on potential criminal related activities.

 

•What do you expect for council to tackle when council comes back together this September?

We will look at identifying challenging and unbuilt hillside lots throughout our community and then identify potential solutions regarding those lots to preserve the quality of life in our community. We will address governance issues and adopt and tweak policies and procedures so that this council and future councils can continue to make decisions in best interests of town with transparency and integrity.

•What are you most looking forward to tackle this coming council session?

I am looking forward to working with my peers and Tower residents to identify and adopt long term hillside preservation strategies that can truly make a difference in the quality of life for our Town and can have a lasting impact for many generations to come. We will continue the work that Sen. Barry Goldwater accomplished regarding hillside preservation. I believe that our Council works very well together and we all have a very healthy respect for one another and are a very business-minded group, which will lead to good governance decisions and policies that will help carry our Town forward in an efficient and effective manner.

•What has you worried or maybe what is coming down the pike that is likely to garner local opinions?

Obviously our town residents have stood up over and over again regarding Hillside preservation and their concerns about some of the challenging lots that are left to potentially build upon and legitimate concerns about the impact on safety to residents from drainage issues from disturbing land, run off changing and flooding residents, boulders falling or being moved, visual landmarks being adversely impacted, and more. We need to address solutions for hillside preservation and the challenging unbuilt lots.

Town residents are concerned and want to support the Board of Adjustment and encourage them to not make exceptions from the Hillside Ordinance especially in significant ways that are being sought by investors. And, the town needs to incorporate more safety analysis into its review and recommendations to protect its residents.

Other topics residents are very concerned about are sober homes, pedestrian and bike safety and recent conflicts that have arisen, traffic and road design to manage traffic and pedestrian and bicyclists, and proposed legislation at the state level.

We want to keep reminding people about home security to reduce thefts. Please consider getting a home security scheduled with our wonderful police department and they can come out and walk your house and yard to give you ideas to make it more secure. Please remember to lock doors, shut garage doors, and set alarms when you leave your house.

Finally, a major issue that can adversely impact our town is the Arizona Legislature. Our current legislative 28 team is doing a great job looking out for Paradise Valley. Our town is a shining example of what many at the Legislature state they support since we are a limited government, no property tax town, but then we see proposed bills that could harm our town and cause consideration of a property tax or other drastic option.

We have to be engaged in the legislative process to ensure the town is not harmed by legislation that has unintended consequences that devastate our community and financial stability. Let your voice be heard to all legislators.

•What’s your No. 1 priority right now serving on town council?

My focus is on quality of life issues particularly Hillside Preservation and safety of residents and fostering security to avoid thefts at homes and construction sites.

•What do you think our readers need to know about the Town of Paradise Valley right now?

Paradise Valley is a unique gem that we all need to work together to maintain and enhance the quality of life. We need to protect our mountains for residents and visitors to our fabulous resorts. Paradise Valley has a sense of community and we want to continue to engage residents to be involved and watch out for each other. Paradise Valley is a low-density town of residents and resorts with no property tax. We have a strong and proactive police department that provides exceptional service to our residents. The cactus eyes have done an amazing job in real time to catch criminals driving stolen cars. They are a wonderful tool with great benefits. And, we are a town of volunteers with immense experience and skills to share to make our Town thrive. We are all so lucky to live in our own national park surrounded by such gorgeous mountains and native desert.

•What do residents talk to you most about?

Residents talk to me about hillside preservation, the mountains and maintaining vistas, security, sober group homes, pedestrian and bike safety and conflicts, avoiding visual pollution and preserving undergrounding of utilities, traffic and concerns re future traffic congestion, and stormwater and drainage issues.

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

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