I have been following the SmokeTree’s special use permit (SUP) application’s process through the Town of Paradise Valley’s Planning Commission with a great deal of interest and concern.
While it would be great to have the old SmokeTree refreshed, this property is located on Lincoln Drive, across from the new Ritz-Carlton. Once the Ritz opens, there will be a significant increase in the amount of traffic, congestion, and pollution at the intersection of Lincoln/Scottsdale Road.
The new owner of the SmokeTree resort is requesting approval for a new build on a 4.6 acre parcel. In doing so, the applicant is asking to build a boutique hotel with 115 rooms. This density goes directly against the town’s SUP guidelines, which state a maximum of 11 units per acre (vs the density of 25.0 owner has requested).
The argument for this centers around economic viability. However, this does not hold water in that other resorts in our town have continued to be economically sound while staying within the town’s guidelines.
A prime example of this is the Hermosa Inn, which has a total of 49 guest suites on a 6.4 acre property, giving it a density of 7.7.
I was pleased to learn at the Nov. 17 Planning Commission meeting that the Commission voted against this high density proposal. The application will now go to the Town Council for their consideration.
I am encouraged by the Planning Commission’s ability to stand up to runaway development. The resort to the south of SmokeTree, the Andaz, recently remodeled and were made to be compliant to heights and density as spelled out in the SUP guidelines. The result is a charming, reasonable density resort the town can be proud of.
I applaud the commission for following low density guidelines.
The developer’s architectural plans, while elegant, appear to be trying to incorporate too many facets into too small a parcel.
I would like to encourage residents to reach out to the Town Council, in recognizing the importance of maintaining Paradise Valley’s way of life.
Editor’s Note: Patti McCaleb is a resident of Paradise Valley and member of Camelback North HOA.