A reflection of two years on Scottsdale City Council
By Betty Janik | Point of View
This is the midpoint of my term in office as a Scottsdale councilwoman.
It is an appropriate time to reflect on the past two years and set goals for the next two. I was elected in 2020 on a platform of listening to the citizens and responding to their concerns. The citizens wanted a change in direction.
For the previous 12 years and following the Great Recession, Scottsdale City Council worked to spur economic recovery.
Developments were fast-tracked and regulations relaxed. However, as these developments came to fruition, so did all of the unwelcome side effects – lost views, heavy traffic, heat sink. The majority of voters were displeased with the evolution of their city and voted for change.
I advocated for and continue to support thoughtful growth.
Thoughtful growth recognizes that some projects enhance the city and are innovative. For example, we now ask all developers to include affordable housing in their projects and not allow short term rentals. There are other projects that do nothing to improve quality of life. I look at each project as it is presented, and vote based on its merits.
The most challenging aspect of project approval is understanding the requested zoning changes. The zoning ordinances are extremely complex with numerous overlays requiring special consideration. Staff is a huge help in explaining all the details and nuances of the request. The most welcome aspect of thoughtful growth is listening to citizen input. Most of the input is helpful, but the “always yes to growth” and conversely, the “no growth advocates” should be more respectful in their responses. We need to improve civility and lessen heated confrontation.
My campaign pledge was to pass a new, long overdue General Plan that reflected the will of citizens. To ensure the plan spoke for the people, council voted to be actively involved in its messaging. With several of my colleagues and dozens of dedicated citizens, we accepted citizens edits, approving most of them. The last-ditch effort to derail the General Plan was unsuccessful and self-serving. This group had every opportunity to improve the plan but chose instead to block its approval. They were unsuccessful, but this was a rude awakening to political gamesmanship. General Plan 2035 is not perfect, but it is an improvement on the previous one.
Looking ahead, we have several programs working to enhance our city.
The Scottsdale Downtown Recycle and Alley Refresh Campaign is cleaning up downtown alleys by removing debris, refurbishing dumpsters and engaging businesses in recycling. We just passed the 2021 construction codes (IECC and IGCC) that will make it mandatory for new builds to be responsive to sustainability in energy and water.
We are on the right track.
Editor’s note: Ms. Janik is a member of Scottsdale City Council.