(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are posted for discussion purposes only.)
Arizona Progress & Gazette
One of the worst city managers in Scottsdale history was Jan Dolan. She intimidated staff and fought so much with Barrett-Jackson she almost forced them away. Space, even online, does not permit her laundry list of errors. But we would like to focus on one, for Scottsdale history may be repeating itself at great consequence to taxpayers.
Following the landmark McDowell Mountain preservation vote a “Gateway” was long contemplated. There would be the front door to Sonoran majesty. There today just off Thompson Peak and north of Bell exists a parking lot, terrific trailheads and low-impact structures, as envisioned.
But that wasn’t always the case. The land was once owned by Toll Brothers, a national homebuilder. It wanted to build what became known as Windgate Ranch but was also agreeable to selling land the city wanted for its gateway at a reasonable price. But Dolan The Dictator didn’t want compromise and rejected the company’s offer to sell the land for $124,000 per acre. Toll Brothers was left with little choice but to sue and argue for the highest price possible for its land. The result? The Municipal Mussolini lost in court, badly. The city was forced to pay nearly three times what nearly all had considered a reasonable purchase price. The consequence to city taxpayers was enormous. And to the preserve. For the city had tens of millions fewer dollars to purchase preserve lands elsewhere thanks to Dolan’s folly.
Fast forward to today.
We have already written about the merits of a proposed BASIS school at 128th and Shea. BASIS is the highest ranked public school in Arizona and one of the top performing schools in the United States. Scottsdale likes to be best in class. This is another opportunity. We have already likened the case to that of the Ice Den in north Scottsdale. Once opposed due to inane concerns it is now an area point of pride. See our previous post here.