Secret developer group rehearsing public comments to stop legal dispensary in Scottsdale


(Editor’s note: News releases are published as submitted unless there are errors of fact.)

Email shows developer group is rehearsing public comments ahead of November 12th Scottsdale City Council hearing.

The public is learning about a new developer group, which includes out-of-state interests, that wants to stop a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Scottsdale so they can build a high-rise project. We’ve also learned that group doesn’t appear genuine with its motivations.

Now, another secretive email shows the same group is choreographing and rehearsing its lines for comments during the November 12 Scottsdale City Council hearing for a state licensed dispensary. The rehearsed testimonies are part of concerted effort by a fledgling developer group to trick and misguide the Scottsdale City Council into opposing a new dispensary. The developer group will hold a “rehearsal” meeting this Saturday, according to an email circulating among real estate development and other business interests who have formed the Scottsdale Old Town Alliance LLC. They also curiously note “progress” with city councilmembers and “messaging aids” to be provided.

The group wants to stop a planned Sunday Goods medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Scottsdale so it can build a high-rise project on the site. The dispensary would be the only one offering health care options and access to patients in southern Scottsdale.

The Sunday Goods dispensary would be an upscale project that would replace a tattoo parlor. It was designed by a renowned New York City firm that has also designed projects for Whole Foods, Warby Parker, and Peloton. 

 It would enhance the neighborhood despite the bogus claims of the developer’s group that property values and the character of the neighborhood are at stake. Indeed, one of the members of that group owns a bar in the area that has generated a notable number of police calls. And while police calls in the area tend to go up at night, Sunday Goods would be closed during evening hours.

“I’m sorry. I don’t need to rehearse my lines or coordinate with a real estate developer’s secret plan. We need access to health care options in southern Scottsdale. The Sunday Goods location fits with state rules, city zoning and offers important medical access to patients suffering from cancer, chronic pain and other conditions,” said Paula Sturgeon, co-chair of H.I.G.H.H. (Halting Inappropriate Growth, Height and Hypocrisy), which announced it was forming earlier this week.

A previous email from the developer-backed opposition group compared medical marijuana patients to vagrants and criminals. 

“That is offensive. Patients who would use the dispensary are moms and dads, teachers, first responders and seniors like me. They are our neighbors and coworkers. They are not criminals or vagrants. I also find it ironic that Scottsdale residents are being lectured to by a group who has links to southern Scottsdale strip clubs and a Scottsdale property owner who has opposed new arts in downtown by fighting a mural to commemorate the service of late U.S. Senator John McCain,” Sturgeon said.

There are no medical marijuana dispensaries to serve patients south of Via de Ventura in Scottsdale. The Sunday Goods dispensary in downtown Scottsdale is approved by the state and won overwhelming support from the Scottsdale Planning Commission. Public opinion polls also show strong support for the upscale, one-story Sunday Goods plan. The proposed location is the only one identified as acceptable by the City of Scottsdale planning staff after multiple years of research.

“The opposition to health care access for cancer and chronic pain sufferers is about developers wanting to build a new high-rise. I’m sure that is not part of their rehearsals,” Sturgeon said.

Here is the email from the developer group showing their intentions to rehearse their public comments.

From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: November 5, 2019 at 8:31:31 AM MST

To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, xxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxx” xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: Invitation – Alliance Final Meeting prior to Nov. 12th Council Vote


On November 12th at 5 pm the City Council will meet to vote on the marijuana dispensary zoning and conditional use permit applications. There is a lot at stake, from property value depreciation to the future character of our neighborhood. The vote is a week for today. Your presence and comments at this Council hearing are critical. 

This coming Saturday at 2:30 pm we will have our final meeting before the Council vote. The meeting will be held at CodaKid Academy located on 4254 No. Brown Ave. The meeting agenda will include:

1. An update on progress made with several Council members.

2. A rehearsal of comments to be made by members to the City Council with group’s feedback.

3. Volunteers members will be asked to go out and engage the community with one last push before City Council vote. Messaging aids will be provided at the meeting.

I look forward to seeing you there.  Daniel Spiro

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November 2019