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As 68th Street sidewalk safety is ensured, Scottsdale City Council OKs 10-foot abandonment of right-of-way

Scottsdale Councilwoman Solange Whitehead looks on during a recent public hearing at Scottsdale City Hall. (Photo by Arianna Grainey/
By Terrance Thornton
Digital Free Press

The adoption of resolution No. 12441 at Scottsdale City Hall equates to the abandonment of a 10-foot portion of existing public right-of-way along the eastern planning boundary of north 68th Street at 6750 E. Exeter Blvd.

But for one Scottsdale family the parcel identified as 173-44-014c is a ‘true generational home’ whereas proprietors of Augusta Emerita Partners use the acreage as an organic citrus farm in the shadow of the single-family residence.

Intertwined in the request included debated public safety impacts of narrowing 68th Street, the details of sidewalk design and how a kitchen remodel became the focus of City Council deliberations.

Omar Abdallah of the Rose Law Group represented Augusta Emerita Partners at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

“We know people are dying on our roads. There are children being hit,” said Scottsdale Councilwoman Solange Whitehead during the public hearing on the abandonment request. “Why would we be sacrificing public safety for a kitchen?”

A municipal project running in tandem with this request, Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega pointed out, is where the municipality intends to continue sidewalk construction along 68th Street.

“The city is looking to continue paved sidewalks,” he pointed out. “For me this is all about the space, 40, 40, 40, and 40 … if it would have been able be within guidelines. We do have a motion to continue.”

That motion, made by Councilwoman Whitehead, failed but as deliberations continued the details of sidewalk safety and engineering unfolded.

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega at the May 17 public hearing at Scottsdale City Hall. (Photo by Arianna Grainey/

Councilwoman Whitehead’s safety concerns revolved around the idea a street narrows when a sidewalk is built. In this case, the municipality gave away 10-feet of public right-of-way, which records show, results in a retaining wall moving from a public right-of-way to private property.

Another project running on parallel timelines: The expansion of the kitchen of a family home, which according to architectural designs calls for 10 more feet at the eastern boundary of the private property.

“Nobody is saying they do not want you to have your kitchen. I want you to have your kitchen, but we have guidelines,” Councilwoman Whitehead said of the black-and-white applicant request.

Dan Worth, Scottsdale Public Works director, provided input on this project regarding the available spacing for contemplated sidewalk expansion along 68th Street. He confirmed to City Council the available space is adequate for a safe sidewalk, and within municipal guidelines.

The final vote on the matter was 5 to 2 with Councilmember Whitehead and Betty Janik, Scottsdale councilwoman, dissenting. Scottsdale Councilwoman Linda Milhaven made the motion to approve the measure.

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