A group of Paradise Valley residents is launching a petition drive to oppose what they call high-density development on resort properties.
The problem, according to town officials and developers, is that such drives could mean the end of Paradise Valley resorts, which provide a large amount of the town’s income and prevent it from imposing a municipal property tax.
“I think the concept of releasing (California killer Charles) Manson from prison would be a more popular proposition than letting Paradise Valley resorts die and imposing a property tax,” said Jason Rose, spokesman for Crown Realty and Development, which is working on two resort properties.
The Citizens Forum, a nonprofit organization made up of concerned residents, will circulate petitions in neighborhoods. They also will be outside of AJ’s Fine Foods at Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and May 5.
The petition outlines the group’s opposition to residential units being built on resort properties and is directed at such projects as Mountain Shadows, Montelucia and Ritz Carlton. Each of the projects includes residential units.
The group claims the residences destroy the rural character of the town and violate the town code, which stipulates that single-family homes be built on lots of no less than one acre.
“The developers are getting a pass on high-density housing,” said Citizens Forum president Jim Otto. “They’re dressed up to look like a resort.”
While the town does have a rule regarding areas zoned residential, resorts have different zoning that allows for four units on one lot, said Mayor Ed Winkler. There are at least three subdivisions at resorts that fall under that description and have been in the town for years, Winkler said.
“That is very dangerous water,” he said of the outcry against resort homes.
Most resorts today have some sort of residential component and if they were outlawed in Paradise Valley, the town could lose a viable source of income.
“If they are successful in taking this to its full execution, we will have a property tax in Paradise Valley,” he said.
Winkler said the town collects about 40 percent of its income from bed and sales taxes, which come from the resorts. The Town Council also plans to be more conservative when considering redevelopment plans for resorts in the future, he added.
Otto said he moved to Paradise Valley for the lifestyle. He worries higher density homes would bring traffic, noise and constant rebuilding.
“Some people would just as soon have a property tax,” he said. “Why do we have to give this up?”