As Scottsdale leaders grapple with growth, the mayor is pledging to preserve the city’s suburban lifestyle.
During his State of the City address, Mayor Dave Ortega said barely 1% of existing land use is designated commercial — for things like retail, entertainment, office and services.
“Recent massive projects, which claim to be mixed use, consume commercial land entirely for residential use,” he said. “Converting commercial land to 100% residential erodes our economic viability and is contrary to our general plan.”
Ortega mixed-use projects across the city to maintain 20% for commercial use. Last year, he rebutted a lobbyist for the Arizona multifamily housing association who said policy makers should be reducing barriers to construction and cited a 2019 study that said Scottsdale needed to add 50,600 housing units to meet demand.
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega at Scottsdale Stadium
Ortega said the council would evaluate each multifamily housing project individually, based on its merits. Between 2010 and 2020, Scottsdale’s population grew by 11.6%.
He criticized House Bill 2674 introduced at the Legislature that would override most city zoning requirements and pave the way for developers to build more apartment complexes and single-family homes. Supporters say it will address the state’s housing shortage while critics say it wipes out local control.
The mayor said he expects pushback from the short-term and vacation rental industry this year. That’s because the council recently updated city ordinances to address nuisance complaints and party houses.
“I will continue to ask the Arizona Legislature to remand to Arizona cities local control and compliance,” Ortega said.
AUTHOR: Christina Estes