On Tuesday night, the Scottsdale City Council met up and approved rezoning amendments for new developments at Fashion Square Mall.
The rezoning is necessary as the new plans for the mall include towers as high as 150 feet tall. In Scottsdale, buildings over 60 feet tall require special approval from the council.
In early planning, the changes that are to occur at Fashion Square Mall appear to be extensive. The plans include residences, a hotel, office space, and more restaurants. Such renovations could turn the mall into very nearly a small city center more than a mall.
The owner of Fashion Square Mall, Macerich, had announced plans to renovate the mall in December 2016. In the same month, the city’s Development Review Board had recommended their approval on the project.
Such extensive changes, of course, are not without their impacts on the surrounding area. These additions to the mall have been met with opposition by neighboring homeowners of the mall. A group of residents calling themselves the SFS Mall Oversight Group began protesting the expansion in July via petition.
Interestingly, the Arizona State Legislature revised rezoning protests with HB 2116 in May. Among the new laws is an upping of the number of neighbors required to lodge a legal protest against rezoning.
Bob, Griffith, a member of the SFS Mall Oversight Group, spoke during the public comments section of the meeting expressing the disapproval of the neighborhood to the board. He claimed the project “discouraged downtown dwellers” and was “smothering overdevelopment.”
Others present at the meeting spoke more positively about the renovation plans. Betty Brake, a former Scottsdale City Council member, spoke on their behalf, saying “When an opportunity for Fashion Square comes along, they need to be able to say ‘yes’ right now. Not ‘yes’ after we go through a two-year process of amending the entitlements.”