A controversial proposed mixed-use development project near the intersection of Hayden and Osborn roads took another step toward becoming a realty Wednesday.
The Scottsdale Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend that City Council approve the rezone of the seven-acre site earmarked for the Greenbelt 88 project.
Commission Chair Renee Higgs, Vice Chair Joe Young, and commissioners William Scarbrough and George Ertel voted to recommend approval.
“This is going to be a great project that I think is going to improve property values in the area,” Young said.
Commissioners Christian Serena, Barry Graham and Barney Gonzales voted against the rezone.
“I don’t think it fits the personality of the area,” Gonzales said.
Council will have the ultimate say on rezoning the property from a Planned Neighborhood Center Planned Community District designation to Planned Unit Development.
If successful, the project would put 278 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space where the aging Lucky Plaza shopping center currently stands.
The rezone would allow the developer to build up to a maximum of height of 48 feet (four stories) with allowances up to 54 feet on up to 30 percent of the building to allow for rooftop mechanical systems. Under current zoning, the maximum allowable base height is 36 feet.
It would also allow the density of apartments on the property to jump from four units per acre to 39.71 units per acre.
The project has split the community, pitting neighbor against neighbor.
“This is not the Scottsdale I have loved for the last 60 years,” said Paula Sturgeon, an area resident who spoke in favor of the project, admitting it has triggered a “civil war” in the neighborhood.
Jan Vuicich and her Safeguard Scottsdale group raised over 630 petition signatures against the rezoning.
They say building is too high and contains too many apartments that will generate too much traffic.
“The commissioners who voted for it, if they think 278 units at 787 square feet per unit – more than doubling the density (of apartments allowed on the property) – is the future of Scottsdale, that’s pretty darn scary,” Vuicich said Thursday.
Sturgeon told the commission, though, “I’m sick and tired of south Scottsdale being used car lots and bars.”
Jason Morris, an attorney representing property owner Todd Silver, said his group has had over 25 communications with Vuicich’s group and has changed the plan five times in an attempt to accommodate them.
“We disagree, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t listened,” Morris said.
Cars would access to the development via the existing two driveways on E. Osborn Road and existing three driveways on N. Hayden Road. Hayden would also get a deceleration lane. There is also an existing exit-only driveway directly north of the Starbuck’s building that will remain.
The land to the south and east of the property is zoned commercial, to the north it’s zoned for commercial and multifamily use, and Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt is to the west with an open space designation.
Vuicich said she and her group will continue to fight the project at the city council level.
“We started this journey back in 2020 with a full heart of wanting to work with the developer and I don’t see us coming this far to stop now,” she said.
With her online petition getting over 500 signatures in one week, Vuicich predicts she can raise 1,000 more signatures before the issue gets to the council.
“It’s about listening to the community and I hope the council members do that,” she said.