Paradise Valley Planning Commission continues Sanctuary SUP talks

A graphic rendering of the proposed new pool area. (Submitted graphic)

The Paradise Valley Planning Commission Tuesday, April 18 continued its evaluation of the details and characteristics proposed in an intermediate special use permit amendment for the Sanctuary on Camelback Resort & Spa.

The study session, held at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, took a closer look at submitted plans to create additions to existing casitas, the creation of two new casitas that will bring an additional 45 new keys to the property, a new pool and snack bar, and ballroom expansions.

The Sanctuary on Camelback Resort & Spa, 5700 E. McDonald Drive, was annexed into the town in 1961, and was issued its original special use permit in September 1967, which has been amended several times. The most recent amendment was approved in 2014.

The site is embedded within the landscape of Camelback Mountain on a 17-acre site at the corner of McDonald Drive and Superstition Lane.

Following a Feb. 23 town council meeting where a statement of direction was given, the planning commission has been examining plans to update the local resort.

On April 4, the commission requested more information regarding: ADA parking spaces, retention areas on the site plan, details of new light fixtures, and noise from the new pool area, in addition to other requests.

While the applicant did address most of the requested items, according to a town staff report, the applicant is still working on:

  • Existing storage structures at the northwest part of the campus that did not receive SUP approval;
  • Three parking/traffic reports that have been submitted, but are asked to be consolidated into one document, and;
  • A new stipulation requiring a civil engineer to provide on-site water retention plans and documents for review.

George Burton, town planner, presented the Planning Commission with the newest additions.

According to a parking and traffic study, the Sanctuary will now offer 391 parking spaces — 20 more than required — with eight ADA parking spaces. A traffic study shows that local thoroughfares can support additional traffic created by the improvements, Mr. Burton said.

The 45 casita additions will include 13 new keys in infill areas, 32 additional keys built onto the ends of the buildings, and two new casita buildings, ranging from one- to two-story buildings, Mr. Burton said. The setbacks for these casitas vary from 25 to 560 feet.

Additions are to match existing architecture, painted “Thatch Brown,” while existing casitas are a white-color known as “Whirlpool.”

The infill keys will range from 550 square feet to 850 square feet whereas other keys average 410 square feet.

The snackbar and pool area, which the Planning Commission questioned noise concerns at a previous meeting, will have a 5-foot wood fence on the west; and a 5-foot iron view fence on the remainder of the triangular pool barrier. The snackbar is to operate during daylight hours, Mr. Burton said.

The application is scheduled for a public hearing on May 2.

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

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