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Paradise Valley Town Council expects SmokeTree decision at Nov. 9 hearing

Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Scott Moore presided over the Oct. 12 meeting at Town Hall where elected leaders evaluated the recent proposal for revitalization of the SmokeTree Resort property. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Paradise Valley Town Council to dissect SmokeTree plan at Oct. 26 work session
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected Thursday, Nov. 9, to render a final vote on the proposed revitalization of the commercial property where SmokeTree Resort & Bungalows once thrived an arrow’s shot from Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive.

“If you do want to move forward for the ninth, we have to place an ad in the newspaper this Friday,” said Paul Michaud, Paradise Valley senior planner, pointing out legal print advertisement requirements that must be carried out prior to certain public hearings in the state of Arizona.

Last night Paradise Valley Town Council agreed to continue deliberations of the pending zoning case until Thursday, Oct. 26; meanwhile, elected leaders expect to render a final vote on the matter Thursday, Nov. 9, at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

Prior to Town Council deliberations, Mr. Michaud eloquently brought the local governing body through tenets of the proposed project and feedback from the Paradise Valley Planning Commission who examined the project this past summer.

Withey Morris Baugh, PLC on behalf of ST HOLDCO, is formally pursuing the major SUP amendment as proposed plans include the development of an 82-guest unit resort. The ‘Arrival’ building will include 77 guest units, back-of-house functions, lobby, meeting event space, a grab-and-go market bistro element and spa/fitness facility.

The casita building, as proposed, will include five single-story guest unit casitas with private patios and small plunge pools. The redevelopment will also include a detached fine dining restaurant with outdoor patios/cellar bar, surface and underground parking, signage, perimeter walls, landscaping, lighting and utility improvements.

The resort borders two public roads —- Lincoln Drive, a major arterial, and Quail Run Road, a local road.

Of Note: Use of the property as a resort began prior to its annexation into the Town of Paradise Valley in 1961.

photo of Smoketree resort
Paradise Valley Town Council will again evaluate the SmokeTree Resort proposal Thursday, Oct. 26, at Town Hall with a final vote on the matter expected Nov. 9. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Paradise Valley Town Council moves SmokeTree Resort project along

Paradise Valley Town Council spent about 90 minutes last evening discussing the ins and outs of the project, commending the applicant for efforts and lauded town staff for their dedication to detail.

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Anna Thomasson, who says she is encouraged by the proposal, asked for clarifications on floor-area ratio along with clear definitions of overall density proposed.

“I am concerned about the floor-area ratio,” she said of the proposal asking for an FAR at 53% of the overall site. “Floor-area ratio, that is essentially a proxy for the building mass — the SmokeTree is asking to be 50% bigger in cubic mass than the most dense resort in town.”

Mr. Michaud pointed out FAR is not part of town code.

“When we look at density, we are just looking at the number of dwelling units per acre,” Mr. Michaud said of the development computation. “We don’t have any formal criteria for floor-area ratio. We usually look at lot coverage in commercial, which is the inverse of floor area ratio.”

Ms. Thomasson says she likes what she sees but is cognizant of density in the Town of Paradise Valley.

“I like the look of the project, I like the look of the French cowboy —- I like it all,” she said. “I know the applicant has been very active with community events like happy hours and has been 100% compliant with legal notifications being sent out to residents. But I wonder if they applicant would be willing to expand that radius to a 2,500-foot mailing? I am just concerned that only 36 Paradise Valley residents were noticed.”

Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Scott Moore, who presided over the work session and regular meeting Thursday, Oct. 12, pointed out he too likes what he sees but agrees the applicant is asking a lot of a small space.

“I think it is a really nice project because it has really been thoughtfully planned out,” he said. “They have done a lot of good work. This is a very dense project, and while staff and CivTech have done an excellent job on the parking study — I mean it’s like 200 pages, a pretty thick study — I do have concerns as does Councilman Stanton. What are the logistics how that will really work?

When it comes to parking and traffic, Paradise Valley Councilman Mark Stanton would like to get a bit better clarification of how both motorist and parking congestion will be handled.

“I have concerns about the stacking that can happen on Lincoln Drive,” Councilman Stanton pointed out. “I applaud the idea of the underground parking as I think that creates a lot of opportunities — they are making a strong commitment to make underground parking; it is a significant investment.”

Paradise Valley Town Council will again evaluate the SmokeTree Resort proposal Thursday, Oct. 26, at Town Hall with a final vote on the matter expected Nov. 9.

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