Controversial Church Wins OK Council |

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St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church will get its controversial assisted living facility near the intersection of E. Cholla Street and 88th Square.

The Scottsdale City Council voted Aug. 5-2, 23 to improve the area of ​​the property and approve a conditional use permit for the facility.

Councilors Betty Janik and Solange Whitehead voted against the project.

“I think it’s admirable that you want to do this project,” Janik said. “I know it’s a need. I know you compromised or complied with every request. I also have a mother who passed away a few months ago at the age of 97.

“She was in an independent facility and graduated in the type of facility you are asking for, but for me it is just too compact. We are talking about 96 beds (48 specialist care beds and 48 care units minimum) in less than five acres.

“I think there are way too many people,” Janik continued. “I don’t think it’s great that it’s next to the highway because the air quality isn’t particularly good there either. For these reasons, I oppose this development. If it came back and it was less dense, I would say fine.

For Whitehead, it all depended on the size of the three-story building.

“All the issues that have come up (would be solved with) a simple solution, that’s the right sizing of the solution and that’s the right sizing of the project,” Whitehead said.

“The issue for me is height,” Whitehead continued. “This neighborhood is one to two stories and a one to two story facility would have fit perfectly into this community.”

Ed Bull, a church attorney, listed some of the changes the church has made to accommodate area residents. They understand:

• To distance the settlement from homes, the church will create an “H” shaped building with a large portion removed from the east and moved from the west property line.

• Put garbage and receive it in the basement to block noise and move the entrance to the west side of the building.

• Increase open space and increase the size of trees.

• Eliminate some windows on the east side of the building and use opaque glass in the remaining windows of the east buildings so that no one can see someone’s backyard.

• Staircase to the top floor on the east side so that the building looks like it has only two floors from this point of view.

Church leader Mark Roman Mach called the assisted living facility “a very important mission, a mission for the people of God to serve the people of God.

“We are not building a single facility for the Armenian Church,” he said. “It will be a facility for the community…we love the United States of America. We are dedicated to the United States of America and as much as we love our culture and heritage, we also love our neighbors. We take care of them and will continue to do so.

But the neighbors spoke out against the project.

Gary Peruzzini said adding the facility — along with things like short-term rental homes and treatment facilities already there — leads to the commercialization of the community.

“We are inserting businesses into these residential neighborhoods,” he said. “And the impact of this business coin on top of all these other (companies) completely changes the ecosystem.”

But Councilor Kathy Littlefield said: ‘I love this project.

“I think it’s good,” she told church officials. “This will cause problems during the construction phase. I hope that during this phase, … everything in your power to reduce noise and traffic to a minimum of inconvenience for the neighbors (will be done).

In other cases, the Council decided to make the salary of sworn police officers in Scottsdale more comparable to that of surrounding departments by creating a tiered system for their payment and granting them a 5% annual salary increase.

The new compensation system will come into effect on September 11.

“The majority of people should get a percentage increase,” Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther said.

The Board also voted to allow Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) officers to extend their membership for an additional two years.

The program allows officers who are eligible to retire to continue working and earn interest on their retirement fund investments.

“The goal is to help us overcome this wave where few people want to be cops,” Walther said.

These measures are intended to make the SPD compatible with other local police forces.

When full, there are 408 sworn officers in the SPD but the department has 34 posts. Part of this is due to agents traveling to neighboring departments that offer signing bonuses and/or may be closer to the agent’s home.

The Council also approved a measure that makes officers who graduate from the police academy but do not stay with the department for three years responsible for reimbursing a portion of training and supply costs.

“Having a competitive pay structure, grade classification assessment, performance criteria and predictable pay for years of service has not been reassessed in over 15 years,” the mayor said. David Ortega.

“The necessary salary increases are essential to retain and recruit our police force. »

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