Despite the staunch opposition of the city’s southwestern councilmember and her one-thousand-signature-strong constituency, StoneHaven will bring substantial social and economic benefits to the Yucca District, as well as the City of Glendale at large. And while it is always about the money, profit margins of a commercial enterprise are typically determined by the market and not the myopic opinion of a single city council representative.
Even with approval of the proposed general plan amendment and its accompanying zoning request, the prevailing numbers forecasted for StoneHaven remain exceptionally positive and will most certainly strengthen the city’s fiscal wellbeing while providing new residential and commercial opportunities for future residents and businesses alike.
While it is admirable and fitting for Councilmember Joyce Clark to advocate in the interests of her constituents, it doesn’t mean her position is right and just for the city as a whole. Further, it seems odd that the councilmember’s claims, facts and statements are held beyond reproach, while all other sources of information are summarily dismissed as covert deception, driven solely by self-serving “special moneyed interest.”
Speaking as Yucca’s one and only voice via her blog, JoyceClarkunfiltered.com, Clark escalates the emotions of her audience with dramatic characterizations of StoneHaven, destined to “destroy the quality of life, increase traffic and overcrowd schools.”
While development of any kind will obviously add to traffic counts, the construction of Bethany Home Road and other neighborhood outlets will bring significant relief to the immediate area. As to school overcrowding, both Pendergast and Tolleson school districts have stated otherwise, but what do they know? Destruction of the quality of life, really?
By contrast, Mayor Jerry Weiers, also a Yucca District resident and in close proximity to the project, actively supports StoneHaven’s development based on the benefits and value it will bring to the neighborhood and all of Glendale’s citizens.
But in her blog, Clark counters the mayor’s perspective with leading questions of campaign contributions by the developer to his re-election campaign, his so-called abandonment of district residents who helped return him to office and even his margin of victory in a blatant attempt to diminish his credibility and undermine his position.
It seems strange that a councilmember who regained her previous seat by just 40 votes would choose the mayor’s 400-vote margin as a platform to force her point.
Further, to question the mayor’s vision is one thing, but to contest his integrity is offensive and inexcusable. One can’t help but wonder, could it have been Mayor Weiers’ support of her campaign that helped Clark return to office? That’s for you to decide.
Though Clark contends this is not a NIMBY (not in my back yard) issue, there has been little opposition other than from Yucca. Council positions regarding the amendment and zoning changes seem to suggest otherwise.
While councilmembers are elected to represent their districts, they are also sworn to preserve and protect the interests of all citizens to whom they are collectively accountable. Either way, this decision will come with a relative cost to Glendale residents. The only question is to whom and how much?
Dubbed as an infill project by its opponents, StoneHaven is, in fact, Glendale’s first master-planned community proposed in more than three decades. Clark cites national studies conclude neighboring residents typically bear all the costs of infill developments. Not a share or half, but all, while summarily dismissing the tax benefits extended to the entire community.
At worst, existing residents would bear no more than an even share of these perceived costs their new neighbors may supposedly create.
With 1,365 homes planned on nearly 400 acres, StoneHaven is hardly an infill project that “cannibalizes” the neighborhood with its “draconian” changes. These changes will add 204 lots, increasing the proposed number of homes to 1,365 from the 1,161 originally approved. And with the choice of five lot sizes, ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 square feet, the overall density of this project will increase by less than 20 percent. Ironically, while Clark calls the additional density unacceptable and a slight to the Yucca District, this planned area development is likely to become Glendale’s Arrowhead Ranch of the south.
It’s hard to imagine why a relatively small increase in density would suddenly supersede the overwhelming benefits and opportunities previously acknowledged and unanimously approved by city council more than a year ago. It simply doesn’t add up nor warrant any change in course or vision. And while we commend Councilmember Clark for her commitment to constituents and dedication to her district, she owes the vast majority of Glendale residents a balanced and equal consideration of their collective concerns and inclusive interests.
With the ultimate decision to be made in just over a week at the June 27 city council meeting, it is time to get real, be honest, tell the truth, and consider the greater good of the entire city.
Though allegations will be leveled, numbers will be skewed and contradictions will continue, the bottom line is StoneHaven will be Glendale’s newest point of pride, a sustainable source of economic development and the obvious next step in the city’s ascent to fiscal prosperity.