Residents of Scottsdale, AZ are hoping its just a desert mirage. That 47 acre strip development being planned for the scenic Sonoran Desert of Arizona — it must be a chimera. But Koll Development Company is apparently seriously at work to put a Target bullseye right in the middle of a large residential area. The 325,000 retail complex, known as “The Summit”, is not viewed as the highest use of the land by neighboring residents, who are themselves busy trying to keep Target off the desert. The Coalition of Pinnacle Peak (COPP) are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. “It s ludicrous,” one neighbor told The Arizona Tribune. “It would ruin a stretch of our scenic corridor. This is not the place for a shopping center.” But the real estate company handling the transaction says “we want to respect the desert”. Residents are having a hard time understanding how an enoromous windowless box, with a huge asphalt parking lot could possibly respect the desert. “There are great concerns that it will just be a big box,” said Bob Vairo, a vice president of COPP. Over 1,000 people attended three public hearings on the Target proposal. Although the land Target wants is zoned commercial, in the Scottsdale General Plan that parcel is listed as “Special Usse: Cultural, Insitutional”. Any change in the Land Use Plan requires an amendment. Because the project is locked in on 3 sides by residential property, Scottsdale residents want the Target parcel to be “downzoned” to residential, to protect residential property from being devalued by strip retail. A group calling itself Big Box Busters is gathering signatures to require a General Plan Amendment, which would give area residents a shot to vote against amending the Plan. A second petition is circulating to downzone the land in question to residential. “For thousands of nearby residents,” writes resident Sunnie Empie, “the quiet of the desert and the pleasure of the night sky will be forever replaced by the semi trucks and trailers who deliver goods to a Target store, cars, and deliveries that enter and leave the strip mall 12 hours or more a day.” A regional mall is already located 10 minutes from the proposed Summit project.
Maybe if Target hangs some velvet paintings on the inside of the store they can get away with calling themselves a “cultural” institution. Residents who say the only way to respect the desert is to kill this Target project, could use some help. Sprawl-busters everywhere can email Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana at [email protected] Make referend to The Summit at Scottsdale project #309PA99. Urge the Mayor to keep the Sonora Desert a Target-free zone for the rest of America to enjoy. For more information about Big Box Busters in Scottsdale, and the email addresses of City Council members. send a fax to: 480-488-9530.