Paradise Valley offers consensus on roadway improvements leading to, shaping resort development

A graphic rendering providing an overview of the area in question regarding improvements along Indian Bend Road providing entry into the pending Palmeraie development found within the municipality of Scottsdale. (Submitted graphic)

Following years of deliberations, it appears Paradise Valley Town Council has closed upon a consensus of how Indian Bend Road and Lincoln Drive improvements will unfold in coming months.

Despite its anticipated summer slumber, the local governing body descended upon Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, in a special meeting July 1 to decide upon marching orders for the pending roadway improvements.

The two roadway projects, elected leaders contend, are intended to maintain resident safety and a motorists ability to travel east and westbound within and through town limits.

Meanwhile pending resort development and redevelopment — specifically, the interests of the Smoke Tree Resort and Ritz-Carlton projects — fuels discussions around roadway design guidelines.

Furthermore, the Indian Bend portion, which will connect to an unnamed street leading into the Palemraie development, has joint jurisdictional bounds within the municipalities of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

But one thing is now known for certain: A traditional roundabout will greet motorists allowing entrance to the Palmeraie development, which is attached to the pending Ritz-Carlton project, about an arrow’s shot west of Scottsdale and Indian Bend roads.

The Palmeraie is a retail component to accompany the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley Resort Community, being built along Lincoln Drive. The entire campus of both projects spans the border of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, with the Palmeraie being under Scottsdale’s jurisdiction while the Ritz-Carlton portion is under Paradise Valley’s jurisdiction.

The Palmeraie will, in part, encompass 20 acres of land adjacent to the forthcoming resort community.

Scottsdale-based Five Star Development, which was founded by prominent developer Jerry Ayoub, is the entity that is bringing the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton development proposal forward and is represented by Jason Morris of Withey Morris PLC.

The Ritz-Carlton development, proponents say, will ultimately mature into a more than 100-acre luxury development landmark.

An artist’s rendering of a proposed ‘swoopabout’ on Indian Bend Road in hopes of easing the traffic flow.. (submitted photo)

Traditional, swoop, and the ‘swoopabout’

Paradise Valley Town Manager Jill Keimach outlined the history of the Indian Bend Road improvement deliberations, which spans back to fall of 2017, Independent archives show.

Last March, Dawn Cartier, president and senior traffic engineer of CivTech, presented to council installing a “swoop” along Indian Bend Road — which is a soft elbow in the road that would provide a direct access into the property — but that concept was further modified to a swoop and roundabout combination known within Town Hall as the “swoopabout.”

Jill Keimach

“What is referred to as the ‘swoopabout,’ which is not a technical term,” quipped Ms. Keimach at the July study session. “The ‘swoopabout’ exceeded their parameters and Scottsdale would not approve that design.”

However, Ms. Keimach explained to Town Council municipal staff have been working together on finding a consensus for Indian Bend Road.

“There is some relation between the Town of Paradise Valley and the City of Scottsdale,” she said pointing out the presence of Scottsdale Transportation Director Paul Basha — and Scottsdale’s willingness to agree to a standard roundabout along Indian Bend Road leading into the Palmeraie development.

“This will come back to council only for approval of this option,” Ms. Keimach said.

Ms. Cartier explained to council much attention has been given to both Indian Bend calming and prospective roundabout installation.

“There was a group of us, who were meeting here regularly at Town Hall. Myself, and Paul Basha of the Scottsdale Transportation Department,” she said. “What was approved originally [the ‘swoopabout’] but then we were asked to find another solution. The developer really continues to support the ‘swoopabout.’”

But Ms. Cartier explains a traditional roundabout seems to be an emerging multi-jurisdictional compromise.

“A traditional roundabout, gets us far enough along and while this option is not preferred by the developer,” she pointed out. “But to my understanding this is an acceptable options for Paradise Valley and what I am hearing also the City of Scottsdale.”

— Dawn Cartier of CivTech

Following discussion, the majority of council voiced support for the traditional roundabout along Indian Bend Road.

Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner voiced strong support for the traditional roundabout option.

“I do think it is important to have some finality. I would not want to see us revert back to a swoop design no matter the comment we receive from the Plaza Resort. I hate to see us come back from this meeting feeling like we didn’t we move forward. We need to make sure they (the Plaza Resort) have a seat at the table and I think we should have brought them to the table.”

The median along Lincoln

Paradise Valley Town Attorney Andrew Miller alerted council to an updated recommendation regarding Lincoln Drive improvements.

“We would recommend doing the full median at this time,” he said of the area within Paradise Valley town limits along Lincoln Drive at about AJ’s Fine Foods, 7141 E. Lincoln Drive. “We could not get together on an IGA between the two property owners so the staff recommendation is a full-median.”

Andrew Miller

Along with private home owners, the Smoke Tree Resort is under efforts to be revitalized.

Smoke Tree Resort was originally built in 1966 at 7101 E. Lincoln Drive, adjacent to the municipality’s border. In 2018, the legacy resort property changed hands for a reported $10 million, and new ownership is eying a new chapter for the boutique resort.

The original resort, which had been maintained in perpetuity, is now under the guise of Phoenix-based Geneva Holdings. The property is on approximately 5.3 acres, and plans call for a complete rebuild comprised of up to three-story buildings with both rental and residential units.

However, Town Council only took formal action to re-allocate $260,000 from the existing capital improvement project budget — a piece of the General Fund, which is used for the day-to-day expenses of running the municipality — to cover costs of Lincoln Drive sidewalk improvements.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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