Town Council begins deliberations on Sanctuary resort SUP amendment

Paradise Valley leaders gathered at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, on May 23 to begin deliberations on projects near Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

A first-blush conversation regarding proposed updates to a single portion of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa sent the Paradise Valley Town Council down a long road of discussion.

On Jan. 24, Town Council took the beginning steps in ironing out a statement of direction to the Planning Commission regarding an intermediate Special Use Permit from Sanctuary resort.

The council deliberated for about 90 minutes, providing ideas to Community Development Director Jeremy Knapp on what to include in an upcoming draft.

Mr. Knapp presented the first draft for the statement at the council’s study session at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The proposed amendment centers on the Sanctuary resort’s Gallery House, also known as “Casa 3,” on the east side of the resort near where Solano Drive and San Miguel Avenue meet south of McDonald Drive.

The proposal includes a desire to remodel and expand the existing home and match it with existing architecture within the Sanctuary Resort. The resort also hopes to move the pool from the northeast side of the property to north of it and make landscape and hardscape improvements.

All in all, the applicant hopes to add three new hotel keys to the house with one lock off with patios.

A statement of direction acts as marching orders to the Planning Commission on where its focus should be but is not a final decision from the council.

It is still early in the process regarding this item as council will hear the next draft of the SOD at a Feb. 14 study session.

“Think of it as a white board and we’re putting up the issues that everyone is concerned about,” Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner said. “This is the start of the white board that staff has populated for us.”

Mr. Knapp pointed out there were no previous commercial uses of the house, meaning it had an R-43 single-family residential zoning designation, though it was never zoned as such. He explained the Special Use Permit stipulated buildings with non-commercial use follow the specified zoning requirements.

This was a point Mr. Bien-Willner wanted to reinforce and clarify in the upcoming draft of the statement of direction.

In the statement Mr. Knapp brought to council, existing points included an examination of the intensity of the proposed use; setback of the upgrades; location and setbacks of the house on the south-end of the property; and potential noise and visibility from the terrace and living area in regards to adjacent properties outside of the SUP.

In total, there were 10 bullet points in the statement of direction.

The council discussed the bullet points as Mr. Knapp expounded on them. Some concerns and thoughts brought forth from council included the request for a noise study; an examination of the gates between the property and those outside of the SUP; and other specific points such as lighting and where kitchen areas would sit.

Several councilmembers, including Vice Mayor Scott Moore, requested more information so they could better understand what to include in the next draft of the statement of direction.

“I want some real clarity as it goes to the Planning Commission as we go through this,” he said. “As we go through our statement of direction, (I want that) we’re real clear on this, that we understand what we’re looking at.”

In particular, the council wanted to see what the existing SUP designated for the area with Councilmember Paul Dembow saying he believes that would clear up several questions.

Some other statement of direction consideration points Mr. Knapp included were anticipated time for completion; when and if drafts would be referred back to council; expectations for public participation; process for new policy considerations; policy preferences, undesired outcomes or areas where no further review is necessary.

In regards to the SUP, Mr. Knapp listed uses, lot coverage/density, massing/scale, perimeter setbacks, maximum heights, view corridors, circulation and known issues as other points of consideration.

Overall, Mr. Bien-Willner said he was appreciative of all of Mr. Knapp’s efforts.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Nobody is criticizing this,” he said referring to the SOD draft.

“This just gets into deeper policy discussions and that’s what we’re trying to start here. My goal will be to continue to narrow issues and hopefully drive us to decision points that the group will weigh in on as we issue the statement of direction.”

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