BY HOWARD MEYERS | MAY 28, 2014
Greasewood Flats relocation plan needs your attention
SCOTTSDALE – A plan to move Greasewood Flats MAY allow us to keep Greasewood, but will have a huge impact on Troon, all properties east of Troon, and on the Preserve. Please read more below and look at the attached map to learn why.
There will be an open house, held on May 29 from 5 – 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale. No RSVP is necessary. Please attend if you can and voice your concerns.
What is being proposed is to relocate Greasewood Flats to part of a large 120 acre site, owned by the Cavilliere family, adjacent to the Preserve, south east of the 128th street and Ranch Gate intersection. This property abuts the Preserve on two sides and is very close to the Tom’s Thumb trail head in the Preserve.
Locating Greasewood will bring all its traffic through the heart of Troon, via Happy Valley to Ranch Gate or Alma School to 108th to Ranch Gate, during both the day and night. We aren’t talking about just cars, but loud motorcycles too. This is also exactly the same route all the Sereno Canyon resort traffic must take as well. You will recall that Sereno Canyon was recently rezoned from 108 units on 350 acres to allow over 1,100 units on that 350 acres.
The plan requires rezoning 472 acres, all of it but the 7 to 10 acres for Greasewood to high density housing, changing the number of units from 154, as allowed by the current zoning, to over 1,100 that will be allowed with the new zoning. This represents an increase in housing density of over 7 times what is currently allowed on the site. That is adding a lot more traffic to this same route. They may say all this traffic is going to take Dynamite to 128th street, but we all know that route takes them way out of their way, so they are going to go through Troon instead. There are no other alternate routes, either currently available or planned.
While we would all like to see Greasewood remain active and in Scottsdale, there are a host of issues with this particular proposal.
See the above map that shows the location of the Cavilliere property, Sereno Canyon, the Eco Resort, and Reata Ranch (red outlined all rezoned for high density), the Preserve (light blue outlines), and the routes people will take to these places (Yellow and Green roads). Note that the Cavilliere property is only 120 acres of the 472 acres they want to rezone with this application, only about ¼ of the total impact.
Can Greasewood survive even if this is approved? For those of you who would live with the other downsides to keep Greasewood, you should know that many people, including the ones crafting this deal for the Cavilliere family, do not believe it is even possible to move Greasewood to any site, especially one in Scottsdale, due to the condition of the buildings and the necessity to meet newer regulations wherever it is reconstructed. Therefore we could very well wind up with a commercially zoned site adjacent to the Preserve, a lot of high density housing in a very sensitive area, also adjacent to the Preserve, and no Greasewood.
If Greasewood is actually moved to this site
Locating Greasewood adjacent to the Preserve violates all the General Plan guidelines for minimizing human encroachment adjacent to the Preserve. Uses are supposed to be limited to low density residential as a transitional use, which is what the current zoning requires.
This use will bring noise, light, sound amplification, and lots of human activity to a most sensitive part of the Preserve, the migration bridge between the mountains and the northern part of the Preserve to the Tonto National Forest. Use of the Preserve has to end at sundown because early evening to morning is the PRIME animal foraging and movement time, just when Greasewood really cranks up.
It will bring lots of noisy traffic THROUGH the Preserve, both day and night, in fact right through the only migration path between the mountains and the Tonto National Forest if 128th street is used for access.
The noise and light will travel far and wide because the site is higher than surrounding land, particularly to the east down to Rio Verde, but also to the west and Troon. It will no longer be located in a bowl that contains much of the noise and light.
This proposal actually creates EXACTLY what the family said they were moving to avoid, high density residential adjacent to Greasewood.
With or without Greasewood. The change in zoning will bring a lot more traffic through Troon via Happy Valley and Ranch Gate or via Alma School and Jomax. Either of these routes will also produce a major conflict with the traffic for Sereno Canyon whose ONLY access is via Ranch Gate. This will happen even if Greasewood never makes it to that site, if that 462 acres is rezoned for high density housing, but will certainly be worse if it does. With Greasewood active at that site, it will bring a lot of NOISY traffic through Troon, at all hours.
The bottom line: There is little to no benefit to the City of Scottsdale
While it certainly is true that if Greasewood can be kept, it will help the city’s western image, however the city is doing so much more to kill that image. Greasewood doesn’t have nearly the positive impact on the city that Rawhide had, so the question is will any marginal benefit make up for all the negatives?
Rezoning in excess of 460 acres to higher density residential makes absolutely no sense as it will put residential very close to the noise and light produced by Greasewood. It also violates the whole intent of the Dynamite Character area which was to preserve low residential density and allow horse use in the area to be compatible with adjacent Rio Verde and the Preserve. It will also produce a higher cost to the city than will be compensated by whatever revenues it may produce making current budget issues worse.
The entire site is quite rugged with boulder outcrops and lots of washes so it will be virtually impossible to accommodate even 1 house/acre much less the higher density that will be allowed (up to 3 houses/acre) if passed.
Sewer, water, and especially roads were not sized for all the density increases that have been allowed, including the 3 high density resorts in the area that have already been approved and the potential of 1,100 more units if this is approved.
There is an alternative
It has been suggested to the family that they sell their property to the city for inclusion into the Preserve and use that money to buy land along Dynamite Blvd. to locate Greasewood, and possibly the family residences, in a more suitable location. This would put the Greasewood access off a major road, Dynamite, making it much easier to get to and forcing people to use Dynamite to get there instead of cutting through Troon. The suggested location is just east of the ridge line to protect existing residential uses in Troon. The golf course and the old planned Eco Resort are across the street, much more compatible uses. This site is lower so the impacts won’t carry as far in any direction.
This solution does not involve up-zoning large parcels of land, and all the impacts that will result if the allowed number of houses are actually built, but rather just rezoning the small lot needed for Greasewood. All the impacts to the city are virtually eliminated with this approach.