[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


"Sponsor Assurance # 21: Compatible Land Use - Scottsdale council removes airport commissioner over letter to FAA"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where's the Enforcement?
Scottsdale council ousts airport commissioner over FAA letter
By Edward Gately
The Arizona Republic

A divided Scottsdale City Council Tuesday voted to remove a city
advisory-panel member from his position because he lodged a complaint with
federal officials over the council's vote to allow an apartment complex near
Scottsdale Airport.
At Mayor Jim Lane's request, the council agreed to consider removing John
Washington from the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission. Lane was joined
by Vice Mayor Linda Milhaven and council members Suzanne Klapp and Ron
McCullagh in voting for his removal. Council members Lisa Borowsky, Bob
Littlefield and Dennis Robbins voted against the move.
"After a 6-1 council vote, (Washington) chose to usurp or undermine, and go
back to the Federal Aviation Administration ... with a request to
administratively interfere and potentially overturn this council's vote,"
Lane said, referencing the council's vote on the apartment complex. "It's
just not an appropriate way to go. There's nothing personal here."
Borowsky said Lane took an "autocratic approach" by seeking to have
Washington removed as commissioner.
"I read (Washington's) letter (to the FAA) and it was not a complaint," she
said. "It was an inquiry, stating facts and ... asking for clarification. I
appreciated his concerns."
Lane first asked Washington to resign after he filed his objection with the
FAA, which responded by raising concerns about the apartment plans.
Washington refused to step down.
"For me, it's not an issue of whether I'm fit to serve," Washington said
after the vote. "It's the airport, I care about the airport and I care about
the city. I did what I felt like I needed to do."
On Oct. 18, the council voted 6-1 to approve a non-major, General Plan
amendment, rezoning and amended development standards for the Residences at
Zocallo Place, a four-building, 240-unit apartment complex about 3,600 feet
northwest of the airport runway. It could attract an estimated 543
Washington sent his complaint to Anthony Garcia, compliance specialist with
the FAA's Airports Division for the Western-Pacific Region.
In his response, Garcia said with residents moving in nearby, the airport
likely would have to introduce noise mitigation measures at some point, and
"these measures can have a negative impact on the airport's utility, its
economic viability and its status as a community asset."
The letter, however, did not suggest the FAA planned any intervention in the
The airport commission recommended the council deny this proposal and two
others for apartment complexes near the airport because they would lead to
problems with residents complaining about airport noise. The city Planning
Commission recommended approval of all three.
The council has since approved a second apartment proposal near the airport,
and on Tuesday voted to delay consideration of the third.
Of the four airport commissioners who recommended denial, Washington was the
only one who was "exceptionally disrespectful" to the council, Klapp said.
He then "thumbed his nose" at the council by going to the FAA and trying to
get the council's decision overturned, she said.
Littlefield said Washington's removal tells all commissioners "don't even
think about having a dissenting opinion because we might dump you."
"We've always before respected dissent in people who have differing
opinions," he said. "We just punished him for having a dissenting opinion,
and that's un-American. This is an outrage. Jim has really, totally gone off
the deep end on this. This is insane."
Numerous residents spoke in support of Washington. Deanna Shaffner said the
council should be thanking Washington instead of seeking his removal. Jim
Haxby, a Scottsdale resident and pilot, said Lane's mayoral platform was
promoting "openness," but when someone does speak up "he does just the
Also at the meeting, the council voted 5-2 to postpone until Dec. 6
consideration of a proposal for a 605-unit apartment complex south of Hayden
Road and west of Northsight Boulevard in the airpark. Borowsky and
Littlefield voted against postponement.
Michael Curley, an attorney representing property owner Joe Cardinale, said
his client would like to get more information from the FAA. Gary Mascaro,
the airport's aviation director, said he is not expecting any further
correspondence with the FAA.
Littlefield said it's clear that there is not enough support on the council
for this proposal, so the applicant hopes to convince another council member
to support the plan.


Current CAA news channel:

Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at stepheni@cwnet.com