Paradise Valley puts hold on GP change for Jarvis housing stock

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley. (File photo)

The Paradise Valley Planning Commission has put the brakes on a series of zoning amendment requests meant to allow eight homes on a 4.4-acre site that abuts the Camelback Country Club Golf Course.

The 4.4-acre parcel, owned by Town Triangle, LLC, is at the northwest corner of the alignment of Northern Avenue and Scottsdale Road. The property is adjacent to the Indian Bend Wash and Cheney Estates.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 6 voted unanimously — 4-0 — to recommend denial of the major General Plan amendment that would change the parcel from low density residential to medium density residential.

“This recommendation was made to allow for the applicant to consider other alternatives, allow this matter to be presented at a public hearing to the town council within the calendar year of 2016, and provide an opportunity for the Planning Commission to discuss and make a recommendation on this application should the town council continue the request,” said Town Planner Paul Michaud in a Dec. 9 statement.

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to hear and possibly render an opinion on the major General Plan amendment at its Thursday, Dec. 15 meeting at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

Paradise Valley residents and respected real estate professionals Geoffrey Edmunds and Rod Cullum intend to build an eight-lot, single-story residential subdivision coined “The Villas at Camelback Country Club” on the 4.4-acre lot in question.

In order for that development to move forward, the prospective developers have myriad zoning regulations to overcome embodied in the following pending applications at the Town of Paradise Valley:

  • A major General Plan amendment to change the land-use designation from low density residential (0 to 1 home per acre) to medium density residential (up to 4 to 5 homes per acre);
  • A text amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance that would allow a more dense housing product within local zoning ordinance;
  • A subsequent rezoning approval allowing the more dense housing project through R-10 zoning;
  • A conditional use permit approval allowing the creation of private roads within the subdivision;
  • A special use permit approval for a private roadway gate off Scottsdale Road;
  • Preliminary plat approval for eight 12,000- to 35,000-square-foot lots.

Despite recommending denial of the General Plan Amendment, the Planning Commission agreed to continue considering the other five requests to allow the applicant to work through planning hurdles, officials say.

“This will be a value judgment by the Planning Commission and town council if they choose to amend the General Plan,” Mr. Michaud said during the Dec. 6 commission meeting.

‘A slippery slope’

Paradise Valley resident Carol Adams says she remembers when Cheney Estates was provided a zoning variance for its smaller-than-one-acre lots in the northern portion of the town.

“That is a slippery slope I am trying to avoid here,” she said of her fears this project could set a new precedent for the Town of Paradise Valley.

“I really hope you deny this motion. I don’t understand why the town is wasting so much time on something the General Plans says we don’t want.”

Paradise Valley Planning Commission Chairman Dolf Strom, following comment from the public, pointed out some of the parcel is within a flood plain that would require Federal Emergency Management Agency approval for construction to commence.

“I personally think we are doing this in the wrong sequence,” Mr. Strom said at the commission meeting. “I would like to put contingency on it that if FEMA approval is not granted (then) this goes away again.”

That contingency was not added to any motion made the Planning Commission.

“The FEMA issue is going to have to be resolved for anything to happen for this property,” said Zoning Attorney Doug Jorden in a Dec. 8 phone interview.

“We know this will take a few months. What Mr. Edmonds and Mr. Cullum need is to accomplish two things: FEMA and town approval. We would like for the town process (to be decided first), with the expressed understanding nothing happens without FEMA approval. They would like to know they have zoning in hand as they sift through the FEMA issues.”

A view from the top

Mayor Michael Collins says Paradise Valley Town Council is ready for the major General Plan amendment application.

Michael Collins

“The town council will open a public hearing on the original General Plan amendment that is expected to be continued until after the New Year,” he said in a Dec. 9 statement.

“During which time, we are expecting the applicants to revise and resubmit their plan so that it better complies with the existing General Plan, making a land use map change no longer necessary. I applaud the applicant for going the extra mile to seek alternatives for the site that avoid changing the General Plan land use map and avoid setting a dangerous rezoning precedent in our town.”

Mayor Collins says he is encouraged that a better plan — one that adheres to the community’s one-home per one-acre standard — is on the horizon.

“We’re expecting the applicant to return to the Planning Commission with a revised residential plan that better meets the requirements of the 2012 General Plan and is more appropriate for the neighborhood and community,” he explained.

“The Planning Commission would then review the revised proposal and offer its recommendation back to town council.”

If the commitment to compromise is sincere, Mayor Collins says a happy medium is likely to be struck.

“In the end, I hope the applicants maintains their commitment to finding an appropriate low-density residential plan for the site that maintains our town’s important one-acre per house residential standard and avoids changing our General Plan land use map,” he said.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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