Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Scottsdale City Council approves new firestation over NIMBY objections

Tuesday night, as part of a fairly mundane agenda, the Scottsdale City Council approved the acquisition of a parcel of land at 96th St. and Cactus Road for a new fire station. (2 acres, $1.26 million?!?!? - ouch!)

As predicted in an AZ Rep Plugged In blog entry from Jim McAllister, the opponents to the location cited 'noise' and 'reduced property values' (a north Scottsdale NIMBY favorite there) as the reasons for their opposition to locating the station on Cactus.

Stephen Oser (and I could have the spelling wrong there; my apologies to Mr. Oser if that's the case) objected to situating the station in a residential area was wrong and suggested that a commercial site at 100th and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. would have been more appropriate; another, Susan Madison, a neighbor of the site, stated that even though she was directly contacted about the project, she didn't think that there was enough community notice and involvement.

Oh, and she thought that the firehouse would lower property values in the area.

To be fair to the denizens of north Scottsdale, not all of them are Nimby-ites. Susan Wheeler, also a neighbor of the site, spoke in support of the location, citing assurances from the fire chief Willie McDonald and the history of the FD of being a good neighbor.

In addition, Mr. McAllister, a north Scottsdale resident himself, took the Nimby-ites to task in his post.

In the end, the item for the fire station was on the consent agenda portion of the meeting agenda, and was passed as part of that without much objection from the Council.

The rest of the meeting was actually fairly uneventful, addressing a petition submitted by a neighborhood asking for assistance doing maintenance in public rights-of-way (solution: recommend that the neighborhood apply for a Neighborhood Enhancement Program grant to help) and initiating a text amendment to City Code changing the Development Review Board process (solution: after a truly 'stimulating' discussion of the current process, the Council decided that no change was necessary at this point, though it could come up again in the next few months).

Overall, this was one of the quietest meetings that I've attended over the last year+; in fact the only thing really notable was the behavior of Vice-Mayor Tony Nelssen.

Nothing inappropriate, just very, well, 'cranky.' He was picking nits to the point that if he had actually brought up something significant, he would have had no credibility; after a while, people in the audience were rolling their eyes when he started to speak.

He was so ornery, I almost named this post "Well, Nelssen had a hair across his a__ tonight", but since the Council actually did the right thing with the fire station matter, I decided to cut them, and him, some slack. :))

Note: under normal circumstances, Vice Mayor Nelssen is *not* like this; he can be a bit of a thorn in the side of some of the other Council members and some of the City staff (and is a card-carrying member of the 'bring back the good old days' crowd in Scottsdale), but the points he brings up are usually pertinent and insightful. Not sure what was up Tuesday night though.

Note2: On Wednesday night, a Transportation Master Plan Open House and Panel Discussion will be held at the Granite Reef Senior Center from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. It's a boring but important topic - stop in if you are able.


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