Sanctuary SUP amendment takes next step toward approval

A look at how interstitial innovation can create new keys at Sanctuary on Camelback Resort & Spa. (Submitted graphic)

The architect and owner of the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa appear to be one step closer to gaining zoning entitlements that will lead to new hotel rooms, a new pool and ballroom expansions.

Paradise Valley Town Council Thursday, May 25 hosted a work session discussion at Town Hall regarding the local resort’s pursuit of amending its established special use permit.

The Sanctuary, 5700 E. McDonald Drive, is a resort in the Town of Paradise Valley embedded within the landscape of Camelback Mountain on a 17-acre site at the corner of McDonald Drive and Superstition Lane.

The submitted request for an intermediate amendment to the existing SUP outlines the creation of additions to its 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.

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

In addition, the resort is pursuing modifying its parking layout to accommodate the planned improvements and the addition of five storage units, according to the May 25 work session discussion.

Nicholas Loope, president and founder of HL Design Build, is the architect tapped to carry out the proposed development while Paradise Valley resident Scott Lyon owns the property.

The resort earlier this year unveiled $2 million worth of renovations to its spa casitas and spa suites as part of a two-year capital investment. The three-stage campaign also saw the 2016 introduction of spa house, a mountain enclave for small groups, and a complete redesign of the resort’s mountain casita accommodations in 2015.

The existing lot coverage of the resort is 137,474 square feet or 18.5 percent, but with the proposed improvements total lot coverage will increase by 15,745 square feet or to 20.6 percent, according to town staff.

Paradise Valley Senior Planner George Burton outlined the pending SUP amendment application pointing out the Planning Commission unanimously approved the application May 2 pending certain stipulations adopted by the commission through Ordinance 2017-02.

“They do deviate from the SUP requirements specific to setbacks,” Mr. Burton told town council during the May 25 work session. “There are two deviations specific to setbacks.”

Those two deviations are:

  • Casita setbacks along Starlight Way are proposed at 25 feet instead of the 45-foot requirement;
  • The proposed storage units are proposed at 14 feet instead of the 65-foot requirement.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins says now may be a good time to address landscaping requirements town leader are eying.

“I think now is a time to ask the commission to address their front landscaping,” he said during the work session discussion as staff pointed out that provision can come to the council when final adoption occurs.

“I think leaving it up for oleanders may be a little light in screening. I would be more than open to whatever that process would be left to require certain landscaping requirements but I am not trying to slow down the schedule.”

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to render a final vote on the SUP application Thursday June 8 at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

An overview of the site plan at Sanctuary on Camelback. (Submitted graphic)

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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