PV Medical Plaza receives council approval following local dialogue

Paradise Valley Medical Plaza, 5410 N. Scottsdale Road, received a unanimous approval for its special use permit amendment. (Submitted photo)

After many concessions were made by both the Paradise Valley Medical Plaza applicants and an abutting residential neighborhood, the special use permit amendment application was unanimously approved by local officials.

On Thursday, May 9, Paradise Valley Town Council voted 6-0 to approve the SUP amendment with slight amendments. Councilmember Mark Stanton was absent.

In the days leading up to the vote, alterations were made by the Paradise Valley Medical Plaza application to address some concerns voiced by abutting neighbors, officials there say.

The hired hands of the medical plaza ownership — the site sits at 5410 N. Scottsdale Road — for several months has been working through the Town of Paradise Valley approval process to gain a special use permit amendment to allow for a new medical building, new parking area, two new parking canopies and new signage.

During the May 9 meeting, residents in attendance did not speak publicly but a handful of comment cards were submitted and read into the record.

The cards reflected opposition of the application, which is consistent with the public opinion at past meetings.

Paradise Valley Medical Plaza is on a 10-acre parcel of land at the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jackrabbit roads.

The Paradise Valley Medical Plaza is owned by Bayport PV Associates, LP; and represented by zoning attorney Doug Jorden of Jorden Hiser & Joy, PLC.

In March, the plaza was scheduled for a public hearing prior to a vote by Paradise Valley Town Council, but Mr. Jorden requested a continuance of the issue, citing a desire to work out concerns with neighbors.

Jason Rose of Scottsdale-based Rose Moser Allyn Public Relations, who represents the project, says the application seeks an addition of 17% more square footage than the existing facility, and no new height is being sought.

In 2003, the town approved a major amendment to the special use permit increasing the overall square footage of the medical and surgical facilities to 50,000 square feet.

As reported by the Paradise Valley Independent, residents of the adjacent neighborhood voiced public concern over some of the proposed changes, and cited concerns with the town’s communication process as the project progressed.

Since March, meetings with the neighbors have proven fruitful, as a list of several concessions — including relocating medical waste and reducing the building size — have been made.

“We are thrilled to have arrived at this point with neighbors and think it is the proverbial and a profound win-win,” Mr. Rose said. “This case should and hopefully will be remembered as the model for how all sides can work together and work towards a superb result.”

Changes to the application since March include:

  • A new delivery zone, and the installation of “no delivery” signs;
  • Relocation of medical waste;
  • Relocation of trash;
  • Reduced building size from 10,000 square feet to 8,521 square feet.
  • Increased setbacks from 68 feet to 96 feet;
  • Relocation of pick-up area;
  • The medical plaza will pay up to $10,000 for a speed bump along Vista Drive;
  • Expanded staff parking;
  • Eliminate parking near neighbors;
  • Enhanced landscaping;
  • Medical plaza to plant up to four 24-foot box trees in yards of three adjacent neighbors; and
  • Installation of a new 8-foot wall.

Paradise Valley resident Sarah Kiburz says the progression of conversation between the homeowners and the commercial property has been positive.

“Over the past few weeks, there has been a much more concerted effort on the part of the applicant to list to concerns and look for solutions,” Ms. Kiburz said.

Sarah Kiburz

“Recent conversations have taken place in our respective ‘backyards’ to incorporate the vantage point from each side of the wall in to the discussion.”

The concessions offered by the applicant will address some of the issues of expansion, Ms. Kiburz says, while pointing out to be a good neighbor there are changes that should happen regardless of the council’s vote.

“If the applicant is committed to being a better neighbor, several concessions should be implemented regardless of outcome,” she said. “If the town approves the applicant’s request for an increase in medical/surgical room density, then the applicant’s commitment to being a good neighbor must manifest in responsive communication and action as new issues may arise.”

Town resident Marty Applebaum says some of the changes agreed upon will be a “win” for both sides.

“I think in terms of scope and design changes, there is some degree of ‘win’ on both sides: the negative issues (garbage, noise, exposure, etc.) of the immediate/adjacent neighbors are obviated, the developer/owner gets most of their desired increased usage/value, and hopefully a speed bump can help with traffic concerns on Vista.”

Although issues in this neighborhood appear to be quelled, both Mr. Applebaum and Ms. Kiburz point to the revelation of a larger issue in town.

“I believe this and other recent/proposed projects in the town have revealed a need for a serious review of how ‘neighborhood impact’ is assessed and weighed against commercial/developer interests,” Mr. Applebaum said.

Likewise, Ms. Kiburz called for an immediate and deliberate audit of the process in matters with commercial or developer interests.

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Fruitful dialogue

During the Town Council meeting, elected leaders made some slight adjustments to the ordinance.

Overall, councilmembers applauded the compromise made by both sides of the issue.

Stipulation No. 18, requesting the new medical plaza shall notify the property owners adjacent to the west if the property is sold within 60 days of such sale, was stricken. Councilmembers cited concerns over being able to enforce such a stipulation.

Additionally, stipulation No. 14, the medical plaza owner shall pay up to $10,000 for a speed bump on Vista Drive at a location to be determined by the town, was altered. Language was added to state any additional speed bump or traffic calming measure must be supported by town staff after a typical traffic safety measures are considered if needed.

“I just want to thank all the residents and the applicant for working on this. I look at this and I see where this process began; the room was full of residents outspoken about this project,” Vice Mayor Scott Moore said during the council meeting.

Scott Moore

“I see this process, where it’s at today, and I see a better project. These stipulations that have been put in place and these concessions, working with the residents to find these solutions have actually made it a better condition than what it is existing today.”

Councilwoman Julie Pace helped to facilitate a meeting between both parties earlier this spring, and says she thinks the process worked.

“If we recall back, there were notices up in the beginning. The process was that there were postings on the property, so people had plenty of early notice about the property prior to it going to planning and zoning; so that part of the process I think worked,” she said. “The problem was getting everyone to talk. It really, I think, did open up that night to help people communicate. There was a lot of issues the applicant thought about, brought to that meeting and were disclosed for the first time.

“You’ve seen a lot of compromise by the applicant, they already had a 6-0 vote by Planning before they even started this process of even going to the residents.”

Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner thanked his colleagues and the residents for putting in effort to work through concerns.

“I appreciate the council spending so much time on this to really consider it, review it and hear from all the residents. I think usually when things are really going in the wrong direction, you see a lot more people here who felt like they haven’t been heard,” Mr. Bien-Willner said.

“We have heard — I don’t mean to dismiss the comments we heard as far as concerns, and we understand those — but on the whole, I think it’s been a fruitful dialogue that’s produced a lot of benefits for this project all the way around.”

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at mrosequist@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Mrosequist_

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