Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Guest View: Greene and Solomon overlooked citizen input prior to recent Town Council vote


Councilmembers Greene and Solomon made some questionable comments during the January 6th council discussions regarding the Kai property General Plan Amendment (GPA) at First and Tangerine.

Councilmember Solomon’s Comments
“In all the years I’ve been in Oro Valley and involved in land use issues, that’s well over 25 years, I’ve never seen a project that was so unanimously supported by all parties through the entire process.”

For the record, that “process” would include neighborhood meetings, Planning and Zoning public hearings, Town Council public hearings, and all the emails submitted by residents stating whether they were in favor of or opposed to this GPA.

Councilmember Solomon insisted that the citizens were in favor of the amendment, when, in fact, the opposite was true. (You can read many of the citizens’ comments HERE). Those in favor were the adjacent business owners and Chamber of Commerce President, Dave Perry.

Councilmember Greene’s Comments
“I haven’t been over the land use, but what I have done is listen to the careful presentations by people who are much smarter in land use and the needs of Oro Valley than I am. I think [leaving] the land vacant and hoping that some commercial person is going to suddenly come there is really neglecting what is going on with Amazon and online shopping. Even the merchants that live there and have businesses there have supported this idea. So I like to listen to the people who live there, who live around there, and let them give their voices to what we should do.”

Mr. Greene, listening to the business owners and the merchants who live in the area is not enough. As a responsible elected official, you also need to get off the golf course, read, study, learn, ask questions, verify, visit the site in question, and listen to the citizens whose lives will be impacted by YOUR decisions. Adjacent businesses owners are not necessarily Oro Valley citizens.

Greene’s statement reveals that he has no idea what his job is as a councilmember. He is an elected official and should be expected to understand land use issues. The presentations by the applicant and the Town staff are biased, and it is up to the councilmembers to separate the wheat from the chaff, know the appropriate codes, and know the relevant parts of the General Plan.

If a resident approaches you when you are out and about and asks you to explain your vote, responding that you approved it because the staff was in favor of it, or business owners were in favor of it, is not acceptable. You need to be able to explain your vote in terms of your research and how you came to your conclusion. Staff just provides a source of input, but their input should carry no more weight than a citizen.

- - -
Mike Zinkin and Diane Peters both contributed to this Guest View.