Jan Vuicich likes her neighborhood near the intersection of Hayden and Osborn roads the way it is: with a nice homey feel to it.
But she says that feel is under attack by the developers of what is known as the Greenbelt 88 project.
She isn’t alone.
Vuicich has obtained more than 500 signatures on a petition opposing the development that would replace the Lucky Plaza shopping center with a mixed-use complex that would include a four-story, 278-unit apartment building and 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space.
The apartment building is too high and, with too many units, that will cause too much traffic, Vuicich said.
“At first, we tried to work with the developer to try and step things down but at this last (open house) meeting they just said ‘No, we’re just not going to (change) it.’”
Now, Vuicich and her grass roots organization, Safeguard Scottsdale, are requesting the aging shopping center simply be replaced with a newer version of itself.
“We would love to have it developed into a better retail center,” Vuicich said. “You can tell it needs some love and I think we deserve that in our community.”
Jason Withey, an attorney representing the property owner Todd Silver, says a community with a homey feel is exactly what’s being proposed.
“The architect of the project (Jeff Brand) lives in the neighborhood,” he said.
He says he’s had over 25 communications with Vuicich trying to accommodate her and her group’s requests, changing the site plan five different times, but a certain density of living spaces is necessary to support the retail properties proposed in the project.
For instance, the latest version of the planning application has reduced the number of apartments from 288 to 278.
“This is high quality construction, elevator serviced with a parking garage,” Withey said. “We could build a three-story walk-up and throw up some car ports in there but that’s not what this property deserves. We could lower the density but we would use more land and not have as nice a product.”
But before the proposed development can go up, the city must first rezone the site from a Planned Neighborhood Center Planned Community District designation to Planned Unit Development.
The Scottsdale Planning Commission will consider its recommendation to City Council on the controversial property 5 p.m., Wednesday at City Hall.
The rezoning would allow the developer to build up to a maximum of height of 48 feet 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.
The rezone would also allow the density of apartments on the seven-acre property to jump from four units per acre to 39.71 units per acre.
The average apartment size would be approximately 787 square feet, Vuicich said.
“You’re not looking for families, you’re not looking for people interested in investing in this area,” she 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 driveway directly north of the Starbuck’s building that is exit only 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; the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt is to the west with an open space designation.