Scottsdale Vista, Arizona Park Place, and Marlboro Court Single-Family Residential Neighborhood Preservation Initiative
- Scottsdale City Council; Western Diocese of the Armenian Church; BURCH AND CRACCHIOLO
- United States of America
This preamble discusses the background and issues with the proposed facility in detail—if you already are familiar with the project and issues, feel free to scroll down to the petition itself, which is rather short in comparison.
The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America is proposing the construction of the Megerdichian Senior Center on their property located at 8849 East Cholla Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260, between the surrounding communities comprised of single family homes, Scottsdale Vista, Arizona Park Place, and Marlboro Court. This uncharacteristically large facility for the community would be located between the existing small senior residence and the Church already existing on the property. Based on plans presented by the attorney representing the project, Edwin C. Bull, at the community meeting on August 6th, 2020, the facility will be: three stories with a basement, forty feet tall, hold a maximum of over 140 residents, have an unspecified number of staff, and have capacity for 251 cars in the surrounding parking on the property.
On December 18th, 2018, Ricki Horowitz of BURCH and CRACCHIOLO filed Use Permit 19-UP-2018 and Rezoning Proposal 25-ZN-2018 for the construction of the Meshrop & Mariam Megerdichian Residential Health Care Facility, aka the Megerdichian Senior Center, on the Saint Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church at 8849 East Cholla Street. While several community meetings have been hosted by the project members and legal representation, community members have voiced concerns, only to find the plans have grown to become a larger facility with greater population density, to the point where the existing planning cases submitted no longer reflect the scale of the project.
Concerns and Issues
As a result of this incursion of this high density residential project into this single-family house community, residents have banded together in opposition due to the following concerns:
1. Property Values
The issues and concerns identified in this list will primarily distill down to one certain impact: property values.
The surrounding community will suddenly see a visual anomaly appear within view of their houses: a large three story facility, surrounded by lights, parking spaces, and traffic. There is a large dumpster right along the wall of neighboring properties, with the foul smell of rotten food wafting into their back yards. The trash compactor kicks on and the whining of the hydraulics kills the conversation nearby.
How much would that impact the value of that property?
How much would the devaluation of that house impact its neighboring houses, when its sale is used as a comp for appraising their properties?
Everybody bordering the property of the site will have to deal with all the issues listed here. Other homes further back from the property may only deal with some of the issues. Nonetheless, all community homes can expect loss in value to some degree.
Dropping home values means less money when you go to upgrade your house, less revenue if you rent out your property, less borrowing capacity if you refinance or obtain a home equity loan, less money when you sell it.
Yes, the Diocese will earn money from this facility—but it will come at the cost of devaluating properties in the surrounding communities—at your expense!
2. Zoning Carries Significant Risk of Further Undesirable Use if the Senior Center Project Fails
A facility of this magnitude requires rezoning of the existing property from the existing R1-35 single-family home zoning consistent with the surrounding community, to an R-5 high density residential zoning, which also permits facilities allowable in C-1 Neighborhood Commercial zoned areas, including: a wide variety of “smaller shops and services” such as banks, bakery, auto parts and supplies, drugstores, gas stations, and liquor stores.
3. There is No Need for this Facility in this Location
A quick search on Apple Maps for “assisted living” shows twenty facilities within seven miles of the site. Two major facilities, Desert Flower Senior Living, and Westminster Village, are within one mile.
With such a variety and number of similar services within a short distance, this demonstrates that this service is not geographically constrained to this specific location, and could be provided from a variety of areas within the City of Scottsdale, particularly in locations where it could fit better into the existing community, and not impact surrounding neighborhoods by a significant population density increase, or clash with community standards.
4. The Facility Is Inconsistent with the Character of the Surrounding Community
While the benefit of the services provided by the facility, and the jobs created would be of benefit to the community, this facility is a significant departure from the character of the surrounding single-family home neighborhoods. The problem does not lie in the facility itself—it lies in the location in the midst of a single-family housing area, and does not fit with the character of this neighborhood.
No buildings in the surrounding area are three stories, have this level of population density, or support this much parking space.
The facility is out of place with the surrounding neighborhoods. As a result, the appearance of the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity, and the views of the facility from nearby properties will experience a degradation in their view.
6. A Significant Density Increase Would Take Place In the Community
Six single-family homes built with current zoning would result in a population of seventeen additional residents based on the average number of household members in the City of Scottsdale; as opposed to a large senior center which, in conjunction with the pre-existing facility already in place, would result in a population of over 150 residents, plus an undetermined number of staff employed within the facility. This represents a difference in the population density by a factor of ten counting the number of employees likely to be on the site.
Higher population density carries with it more undesirable factors with greater impact as density increases. The other concerns cited within this document list those issues.
Trash from over one hundred fifty residents, not including the staff, would be considerable. This is the type of facility where the residents eat three times a day, resulting in significant food waste. The volume and nature of this waste will result in storage on site, with associated smells, insects, and vermin.
A very large trash bin and trash compactor are planned to be placed immediately behind the Arizona Park Place properties at 11128 and 11148 North 88th Place. The sound, sight, and smell will certainly impact the value of those properties, and any other homes near by (as well as others in the neighborhood as discussed under the issue regarding property values).
The existing property already has an issue with vermin, which is evident from the number of rat traps placed across the existing property, and needing to be deployed by homeowners on Mescal. The efforts in place thus far have yet to bring the issue under control.
With two hundred fifty parking places, over one hundred fifty residents, and an unknown number of staff, traffic can expect to increase considerably on Cholla, 89th, and Gary.
While a traffic study was submitted for the original design of the facility when it had a lower density, the growth of the scope now exceeds the original traffic study which estimated an additional 280 cars transiting Cholla every day.
Discussions with congregation members uncovered reports of the clergy requesting people attending mass or other church activities were requested to avoid driving on Cholla while the traffic study was taking place, invalidating the study.
Existing homeowners on Cholla already have complained about speeds used by vehicles on that road, and increased traffic will only compound those problems.
With increased traffic, and a gated parking access to the proposed facility, expectations of additional on-street parking are realistic.
Traffic “looking for” the facility will drive through the neighboring single-family communities, thereby increasing traffic there.
Cholla is a very narrow street, particularly towards the end where it approaches the church property. Cars parked on opposite sides of the road would likely prevent large vehicles (garbage trucks, fire trucks, emergency medical vehicles, etc.) from passing through, as well as creating safety concerns for general traffic on a busy road that is reduced to essentially one lane at these choke points.
Increased traffic implies increased risk for pedestrians, neighborhood children, and pets—all of which do make regular use of the sidewalks and walkways conveniently placed in these neighborhoods.
Higher population density brings additional noise with it. Increased use of emergency vehicles for an elderly population will result in sirens, lights, fast emergency vehicles, and horns when cars are parked in a manner that other vehicles cannot effectively pass.
The area will result in people waiting in cars in the parking lot and listening to loud music, employees on break by neighboring properties while talking to each other, trash compactor making noise day or night, trucks making deliveries and honking to announce their presence at the loading dock, and car horns sounding every time they are locked or unlocked via remote.
Lighting from all the windows, exterior building lights, and parking lot lights will be visible from the surrounding areas. In addition, the community will experience headlights of cars driving on roads to transit to or from the facility, as well as when they drive around the parking lots at night.
Brightness of the area will be directly viewable from a considerable distance into the surrounding communities, due to the increased height.
In spite of only having downward facing lights, the resulting ambient light and reflection off of surfaces will cause some degree of further light pollution to the area, that would not be experienced with lower density residential zoning.
Due to the increased height of the facility, it will overlook the housing adjacent to the facility, enabling staff and residents to see into windows, and into back yards.
People in the parking areas or common grounds will be able to look over walls into the yards. There are concerns that this could be an an opportunity for crime. People that have semi-valuables in their back yards may look like attractive victims.
13. General Nuisances for Neighbors
Employees that smoke will need to move away from the building. This may very well start taking place along neighboring properties, resulting in employees throwing cigarette butts over the wall, and causing smell problems with cigarette smoke.
Likewise, garbage from cars may be thrown over walls or onto the parking lot, then scattered into the surrounding community by wind. Currently, the church takes no ownership of cleaning up the existing debris, resulting in a trash strewn and unkempt appearance.
The plans for landscaping are extensive, resulting in many trees adjacent to neighboring properties. This only exacerbates the current issue of trees on church property never being maintained, resulting in branches encroaching into neighboring properties, and plant debris falling into neighbors’ yards and pools.
14. Drainage Issues
Water has prescribed flow patterns to ensure that it drains away from houses and parks. Recently, the Arizona Park Place community park was flooding more than usual during rain due to these drainage channels blocked by debris on church property. There are concerns that construction will disrupt the drainage, and continued lack of maintenance may cause more issues, particularly with the effects of increased population density.
15. Senior Center Use is Contradictory to the Intended Gifted Use of the Property
Per the Gift Deed on file that granted the property to the Diocese, “This Deed is being recorded from the Grantor to Grantee for the purposes of the Grantee erecting a church or church connected buildings on this land for its congregation. Any other use or purposes whatsoever without the written approval of the Grantors herein shall be deemed a violation of this Deed Restriction.”
While this is not a primary concern due to the effects being temporary in nature, the construction of the facility will result in further issues with: noise, dust, smells, and traffic from trucks and heavy equipment.
The Megerdichian Senior Center may be of benefit to the City of Scottsdale, but the location selected by the Diocese is not an appropriate fit. The area is exclusively used for single-family homes on all four sides. As a result, the community members find this project inconsistent with community standards, and strongly believe that the adverse effects would impact the neighborhood, causing frustrations with use incompatibilities of the different property use types, and causing loss of property values.
We, the undersigned, stand for the preservation of the Scottsdale Vista, Arizona Park Place, Marlboro Court, and other surrounding North Scottsdale single-family residential communities, and hereby oppose Use Permit 19-UP-2018 and Rezoning Proposal 25-ZN-2018, and any subsequent modifications or derivative requests thereof, for the construction of the Meshrop & Mariam Megerdichian Residential Health Care Facility, aka the Megerdichian Senior Center, on the Saint Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church at 8849 East Cholla Street.
We respectfully but strongly request that these requests be cancelled or disapproved, thereby keeping the nature of our communities intact.
We find that the project is inconsistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhoods, and strongly believe that this improperly located project in conjunction with the multiple adverse effects it would bring as documented in the preamble will degrade the community aesthetics, adversely impact property values, and erode our standards of daily living.
The Scottsdale Vista, Arizona Park Place, and Marlboro Court Single-Family Residential Neighborhood Preservation Initiative petition to Scottsdale City Council; Western Diocese of the Armenian Church; BURCH AND CRACCHIOLO was written by Mark Mach and is in the category Neighborhood Living at GoPetition.