Monday, July 2, 2012

Developers praise Paradise Valley's eased project-application process

Developers interested in bringing new resort projects or improving existing ones in Paradise Valley now face a less onerous town application process.

Officials involved in several resort projects have experienced the new process and sing its praises, including representatives of the shuttered Mountain Shadow's resort, which recently had its permit reactivated.

All three have long done business with the town.

Councilman Michael Collins said town officials have been revising the permitting process for a number of years and the result has been projects moving quicker to completion.

Resort projects are vetted by the town through a special-use permit process.

Revising the process began in 2008 when the Planning Commission and Town Council changed the SUP ordinance to make it easier for applicants to come to the town for small or midsize projects by cutting the red tape associated with the approval process, Collins said.

"Since then, the council has passed several measures to refine the process into a timely application review," he said.

"The goal was to stimulate resort redevelopment in PV that is compatible with our residential lifestyle."

Nicholas J. Wood, a lawyer representing the JW Marriott Camelback Inn, said the permit to redesign the resort's Indian Bend golf course was one of the first under the town's revised SUP process.

The new design will include alternate tee-box locations, restructuring of individual holes, new and reconfigured golf cart paths, new sand traps and berms, as well as reconfigured water obstacles.

It will be completed in 16 months.

The application for the new golf course design was filed March 28 and approved by the Town Council June 7.

Wood said a typical zoning case takes four to six months to complete.

"That is incredibly fast," he said. "It was a great process and a tremendous experience."

Within two weeks, the golf course will shut down for construction, he said.

Collins said the town has had a long history of being very hard on SUP applicants, which morphed into a very cumbersome and, some say, obstructionist process.

"I think it was originally meant to protect the unique residential lifestyle that PV residents enjoy," he said.

Collins cited the Ritz-Carlton proposal and the previous Mountain Shadows applications as taking more than a year to review.

Both developers ended up spending millions of dollars and never got their resorts built, he said.

by Philip Haldiman - Jun. 18, 2012 08:11 AM The Republic |

Developers praise Paradise Valley's eased project-application process

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