Resident focus & new capitol maneuvers shape attention as new session looms
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
When Town Council reconvenes this Thursday, Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Anna Thomasson is eager to get back to work focused on key items at the state level that could impact local municipal control.
“Each year we build a legislative strategy to focus on our priorities and work as a team with our legislators to make sure your voices are heard,” she told the Arizona Digital Free Press. “With four years of experience behind me, I feel well-qualified to make sure resident voices are heard at Town Hall and also at the legislature.”
Paradise Valley Town Manger Jill Keimach reports elected leaders are primed to continue upon the municipal pathway of short-term regulation explorations and potential new solutions to legacy cell phone reception challenges.
Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive in the heart of the Town of Paradise Valley.
“This fall, I’m looking forward to getting back to work focusing on the new resort special use permit applications, town code changes and upcoming legislative session at the Arizona capitol,” she pointed out. “At the state level, there will likely be continuing threats to our ability to control our zoning, traffic enforcement and the peace and quiet of our neighborhoods.”
Found a part of the Sept. 8 Town Council agenda are several discussion items including the impact of capitol legislative maneuvers as well as Andaz Resort — with properties at 160 N. Scottsdale Road and 6041 N. Quail Run Road — seeking an intermediate change to its established commercial footprint embolden in Paradise Valley as a special-use permit.
“Locally, I am looking forward to working with staff to implement changes to our website to make information easier to access,” Vice Mayor Thomasson said. “Staff has been working for a while now to find the right approach so it is easier for residents to get information about our town codes as well as specific information about their own plans and permits. As a communications professional, I’m passionate about making sure people have the information they need, when they need it, in a format that is intuitive and easy to access.”
Something Vice Mayor Thomasson is working toward? Better communication with the town residents using established, new and emerging ways to get residents involved.
“I wish we had the resources and staffing of Amazon to make resident information that [is] easy to access, but we are working hard to create an improved user experience across our multiple systems,” she said.
1ON1 with Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Anna Thomasson:
To understand better how Vice Mayor Thomasson is viewing the upcoming local legislative session, Free Press Paradise Valley reached out to the elected leader. This is what she had to say:
•What does it mean to you to become vice mayor and what role do you hope to play at the local dais?
I’ve enjoyed being vice mayor so far this year and look forward to continuing to support the mayor and my council colleagues through the rest of my term. As vice mayor, I attend all agenda setting meetings and Planning Commission meetings and I also attend meetings the mayor is not able to attend. I also jump in to lead council meetings if he is not able to attend or has to step out of the meeting.
•How can residents get involved online at Town Hall when items of interest arise?
We love resident involvement! Two great ways to know what is going on: Residents can sign up for Alert PV and choose how to be notified of upcoming Town Council or Planning Commission meetings. With a just a few clicks residents can access the agenda and get all the materials available to council members. Additionally, the town manager’s weekly newsletter highlights issues around town, updates on projects impacting residents, and useful homeowner tips. I encourage all residents to sign up.
And I encourage people to tell us what they think! It is easy to send an email, attend a council meeting or watch the recording. Residents can get informed by listening to the public dialog and then jumping in with an opinion or suggestion.
•What goals do you have as you head into your next term?
My main goal is to stay vigilant and focused on keeping Paradise Valley special. That means making sure our resort developments are in keeping with the low-density, quiet, semi-rural character of our town and that changes are acceptable to resort neighbors. That also means working to manage our short-term rentals and other home-sharing options to make sure we keep our neighborhood quality. I also want to make sure our staff has the resources they need to keep serving our residents. Our police, public works and planning staff work every day to serve residents and they need the resources to do their jobs.
•Do your goals align with the residents of the town?
Absolutely! When I bought my home 28 years ago, I fell in love with this peaceful, semi-rural town and my passion has only grown. Then, four years ago, I walked every mile of the town and I haven’t stopped walking since. Every day I am talking with someone in town whether it be gathering signatures, attending a ladies lunch, a men’s breakfast or a random stop walking my dog in the neighborhood. And I have learned that preserving our single-family, one-acre zoning and keeping our town safe are residents’ top priorities. People are passionate – as they have a right to be.
They want to keep Paradise Valley — Paradise Valley.