Like many people, I follow the social media site Next Door as it can often keep me informed on what’s going on in my immediate neighborhood.
The problem is, like many social media sites (such as Facebook) Next Door is often used as a bully pulpit for the haters in the neighborhood. A recent cause célèbre on the site has been strong opposition to building more multifamily projects in Scottsdale.
Anyone who reads the paper knows that Scottsdale, like many other cities in the Valley, is the home of a strong, minority, anti-housing coalition which has become so vocal that it is, in part, responsible for the election of city council members who share their anti-housing bias.
These folks usually blame higher traffic counts and lowered property values as well as diminished quality of life as the main reasons for their anti multi-family position. This position is taken by them, in spite of the fact, that there is usually no supporting data or research to back up their position.
I for one, believe that the real and unspoken reason for their stance is the desire to keep “those people” out of their neighborhood. “Those people” often being defined as lower income people of mixed race. This belief comes in spite of the fact, that they themselves, most likely once in their lives resided in an apartment.
Most recently, the anti-apartment argument has been about the perceived water issue (shortages) and other negative environmental impacts of large apartment projects. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. All one needs do is to just take a look at the studies on the subject.
For instance, a 2018 study by the Water Management Association found that specifically in Phoenix the average single-family home used on average, 331 gallons of water per day while the average apartment used 182 gallons per day or 46% less.
Another topic has been discussion about the “heat island” effect that Phoenix is experiencing and how apartments only increase the problem. According to the site “Macro Trends” Scottsdale adds approximately 4,000 new households each year.
That means 4,000 dwelling units are needed to house this group of new residents. If you put them in a single-family home with the average Scottsdale single family lot taking up about 7,000 square feet, it works out to 642 acres of land needed versus probably less that 40 acres required to build the multifamily units to house those 4,000 households.
If you take into account other multi-family advantages such as shorter commute times; fewer swimming pools; more modern energy and water systems that are found in modern apartment projects, it becomes easy to see why the anti-apartment crowd needs to spend more time on the actual facts and less time inventing unsubstantiated fear tactics.