[VIEWPOINT] Henninger: A new Scottsdale development puts an eye toward affordable units

By Don Henninger | Your Valley

There is a lot of concern about the lack of attainable housing in Scottsdale.

Vital workers – firefighters, police officers, teachers, health care workers – simply can’t afford to live in the city.
Long term, the consequences are not good. High housing prices stifle the ability of young families to live in the city, and that dominoes into all kinds of negative effects from dwindling school attendance (and reduced funding) to a city that could start to lose the vibrancy and diversity that has sustained its outstanding reputation.

Government – City Hall – alone is not the solution. But private businesses when motivated can start making a difference. And a project quietly working its way through the city approval process is a good example.

It’s called The Miller, a multi-family residential project being proposed at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Miller Road.

The builder, Toll Brothers, has incorporated an attainable housing element in its planning. It’s not a huge addition but it’s a step in the right direction. Of its proposed 148-unit complex, Toll Brothers is holding five units open for those who can’t afford the typical rental price.

It works like this. Since standards generally say that housing costs should account for 30% of a families’ income, that’s how rent will be established for those units. Potential renters will share their income statements with Toll, and their rent will be set at 30% of what they make. Toll’s rental rates for the project have not yet been established.
While five units doesn’t solve the problem it does take a step in the right direction. It’s voluntary, doesn’t rely on incentives or taxpayer dollars and is not a city mandate.

The development is to the south of the Camelback Miller Plaza in a parcel of land that includes a vacant restaurant building. The project will bring needed foot traffic to those businesses. And it’s close to the center of downtown Scottsdale where access will be convenient for health care workers, police and firefighters and others who can’t afford to live there at market rates.

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