100 Year Old North Central Home Slated for Demolition

The William F. McElroy House

The William F. McElroy House

As many of you may be aware, the beautiful home at 7019 N. Central Avenue is at risk of demolition. The owners of the William F. McElroy home, have a pending offer for the purchase of their home from a developer, contingent upon approval for demolition. A demolition permit has been requested and the mandatory 30 day hold that began on 4-26-19.

The William F. McElroy house was built in 1926 and is a significant example of the development of North Central Phoenix in the early years of statehood. The home is characteristic of the estate parcels on Central Avenue with over an acre of land with substantial front yard set backs of 150’. The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation has this home listed as “historically significant” and is pursuing a historic overlay that will protect the home for future generations.

The NCPHA’s volunteer board of directors strongly support private property rights. However, as stewards of this great neighborhood for over forty years, we take the responsibility of protecting it from inappropriate development very seriously. This development, be it approved, will greatly change the unique character of North Central and have a negative impact on home values surrounding the parcel.

The NCPHA Board of Directors unanimously supports the initiation of a historic overlay and opposes demolition of this home. Here are a few facts that have led to this decision.

15 Plus Acres Lost to Development

In recent years, North Central Phoenix has lost roughly 15 acres of property to development. Examples, similar to this home, that held historical significance, but were not protected by a historic overlay. Developments include:

  • 130 E. Missouri Avenue - eight homes of no architectural significance built on a three acre property filled with trees and a red brick Tudor style home that included a pool, tennis courts and guest house.

  • 4 West Frier Drive - four new architecturally insignificant homes on 2 1/4 acres. The original home had nearly a 200’ set back from Central Avenue. That will be replaced by a wall.

  • 2 West Marlette - four homes now occupy a 1.2 acre lot that once had single significant adobe home with over 150’ set back.

  • 301 W. Frier Drive - The Kaler-Stephenson House was listed on the National and Arizona Register of Historic Homes.

These are just a few recent examples that are changing the character of North Central.

Environmental and Ecosystem Impact

North Central Phoenix has one of the highest percentage of shade canopy coverage -17%-in the city. In 2010, the City of Phoenix adopted the Tree and Shade Master Plan, that maps progress toward a 25% shade canopy coverage by 2030. .As you can see by the aerial photo below*, there are in excess of 50 mature trees on this property. If development is approved, these trees will be removed to make way for construction.

In addition to pollution and temperature control, what is the impact to the bird and wildlife population?

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Sense of Community and Preserving History

The proposed demolition and envisioned development violates the intent, purpose, policy and spirit of the North Central Phoenix Special Planning District Overlay. The SPD was created by residents in 2004, to encourage preservation of the large lot, single family residential character. If you are not familiar with the SPD, follow this link to view it.

Currently, the out-of-state owners, who were gifted the house in 1996, are "claiming" an economic hardship. The home has been on and off the market several times with double market value asking prices. Numerous people have wanted to purchase and restore this home. However, the absentee owners have been seeking a developer (and developer prices) over the last 20 years.  We believe this "economic hardship" and major state of disrepair are self-imposed by the property owners.

Please join us in supporting the Historic overlay and opposing the demolition of this neighborhood gem. Here’s how you can help:

How You Can Help

Email or write your comments to Historic Preservation, Mayor Kate Gallego, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Councilwoman Debra Stark and the addresses below. Reference The William F. McElroy home at 7019 N. Central Avenue. Clearly state you are in SUPPORT of a historic overlay and OPPOSE the demolition of this home. Tell your story, what is important to you about North Central, why did you move here or did you grow up in the neighborhood.

Historic Preservation                historic@phoenix.gov Mayor Kate Gallego                           mayor.gallego@phoenix.gov Councilman Sal DiCiccio                   council.district.6@phoenix.gov Councilwoman Debra Stark              council.district.3@phoenix.gov

Plan to attend the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Monday, May 20th at 4:30pm at City Council Chambers at 200 W. Jefferson. Upon arrival please fill out a yellow card in SUPPORT of the historic overlay.

On behalf of the NCPHA and the many residents of this verdant oasis, thank you for your support.




Mayoral Candidates Q & A with Kate Gallego

As one of the City's strongest voting block, North Central residents have been very involved in selecting our public servants. The NCPHA's goal is to provide fair and balanced information on our candidates in an effort to help you make an informed decision. We have asked both candidates to weigh in on five questions regarding issues that affect North Central.

Please read on for responses from candidate Kate Gallego.


NCPHA: Our City is blessed with having mature, established neighborhoods integrated near our commercial areas.  What is your position on developers pushing inappropriate new development in those neighborhoods? Where do you see new development occurring once you are in office?

KG: Our neighborhoods are impressive because they are all so unique. Protecting the character of our neighborhoods is important not only for the beauty of our homes, but for the growth of our economy. 

When businesses are considering moving to or expanding in Phoenix, one of the things I pitch to them is how diverse our neighborhoods are. They quickly realize that if their employees want to live in a skyrise downtown, they can, or if they want to live in a historic home just a 15-minute drive from the airport or downtown, they can.  It is a real strength we have over other communities in the nation that we are competing with for economic development and investment.

For this reason, I do not oppose dense projects completely, but I do believe they need to be in appropriate locations. The character of the area surrounding a proposal and neighborhood input are both key to my decision-making process. 

For example, I met with residents from your area and responded to the overwhelming opposition neighbors had to the Alta Marlette project.   Reasonable people can disagree on projects like this, and my opponent and I did disagree on this one. I supported the community and voted against the project.  He voted for it.

I believe developers are best served when they view the people who live around proposed projects as stakeholders and as partners, not as an obstacle to overcome. Many of the most controversial projects could have been less contentious if feedback was collected earlier in the planning process.

As for where dense development should go, I believe we should support height and development in the downtown area where we are seeing an increased number of people wanting to live, and we need to support that demand.  We also need to be looking along the proposed light rail lines so we are building and developing areas where the light rail currently runs as well as future lines.

NCPHA: Corruption and back room deals have infiltrated our public process.  What will you do as mayor to ensure unethical behavior in our City (both paid and volunteer positions) is eliminated?

KG: This is something I saw during my time on the council and motivated me to take steps to change it in whatever way possible.

First, I supported our ethics policy to ensure that our mayor and council can’t accept gifts from lobbyists. Those policies must be enforced, all the way down to the volunteer level. If you are appointed to a commission or a board you must be above reproach.

Second, I was proud to lead on the “ban dark money” voter initiative that passed this last November with 80% of the vote. This initiative shines a light on who is donating to dark money organizations.  These organizations are able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence our elections and we don’t know where that money is coming from. This initiative aims to change that, and I’m proud that Phoenix voters supported it.

That voter-approved law is not in effect yet, and over the last few months, the issue of money in Phoenix government has become even more personal. In this race, the voters of Phoenix have been subjected to nearly a half a million dollars in dark money attack ads designed to help my opponent win -- ads that the Arizona Republic fact checkers labeled as totally misleading -- zero stars.  When the Arizona Republic endorsed our campaign, they specifically called out my independence as one of the main reasons to support me. I will work for all of Phoenix, not special interests.

NCPHA: How will you reduce the homeless problem in our City?

KG: Homelessness is the biggest social service issue facing our community and we need to respond with an appropriate level of urgency. While there are a number of issues contributing to our homeless problem, the most critical elements in ending homelessness are mental health services and affordable housing. 

I want to see more money invested in crisis intervention teams that are trained to respond to specific populations, for example homeless individuals who are struggling with mental health issues or living with dementia, so as a community we can connect those who want help with the services and support they need, eventually getting them into housing and off the streets. I also support creating an Opioid Treatment Court for individuals who experiencing addiction, which would complement the city’s existing specialty court for individuals who are struggling with homelessness. 

We must also continue to strengthen the participation of business and non-profit leaders as we all work to end homelessness. The greatest strides we’ve made over the last few years has been through cross-sector partnerships (public, private, non-profit). I’ve asked our business leaders to create a housing and homelessness taskforce to really tackle this problem head-on.

Government must play a role in our community’s efforts to end homelessness, we can’t leave it all to businesses, neighborhood leaders, and hope. We must be creative in how we can increase funding for services that are proven to get people off the streets and into housing.

I have proposed shifting revenue from tourism taxes to properly fund efforts to address the problem. This has been successfully modeled in Portland, Oregon where they make the compelling argument that these investments to reduce homelessness in the community will actually bring in more tourists and revenue over time, making it a more impactful use of those tax dollars than other alternatives.

NCPHA: Traffic, in some areas, is at an all-time high. The City of Phoenix has turned a blind eye to this. What will you do as Mayor to address the traffic and vehicular safety problems?

KG: Traffic and vehicle safety is a major problem in Phoenix. The rate of traffic-related deaths in our community is shocking, and we need to take action to reverse it. 

If elected mayor, I will push for the adoption of the Vision Zero initiative to work toward no fatalities or serious injuries on our roads. This initiative has been adopted in nearly 50 cities across the country, and it is time Phoenix joins their ranks. We all deserve to feel safe when we’re walking near, biking, or driving on city streets. That means studying our street designs, taking a hard look at speed limits, and increasing enforcement so that everyone can move through Phoenix safely.

We must then take that information and adopt a clear plan that brings together neighborhood leaders and city departments such as Police, Streets Transportation, and Planning and Development to get to zero fatalities. It is ambitious, but I know it can be done.

We need to invest in smarter technology to move traffic more efficiently. It is so frustrating to sit at a traffic signal while no one goes by in the other direction. 

NCPHA: What is your position on illegal immigration?  Will you make Phoenix a sanctuary city?

KG: State law prohibits Phoenix from becoming a sanctuary city, it is outside the power of the city council to change that. As a result, both Daniel Valenzuela and I voted to deny a citizen’s petition presented to the council to make our city a sanctuary city.

Immigration, however, is a major issue in our state. While the city doesn’t have a major role to play, it is essential that the federal government stop with the political posturing and act to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Mayoral Candidates Q & A with Daniel Valenzuela

As one of the City's strongest voting block, North Central residents have been very involved in selecting our public servants. The NCPHA's goal is to provide fair and balanced information on our candidates in an effort to help you make an informed decision. We have asked both candidates to weigh in on five questions regarding issues that affect North Central.

Please read on for responses from candidate Daniel Valenzuela


NCPHA: Our City is blessed with having mature, established neighborhoods integrated near our commercial areas.  What is your position on developers pushing inappropriate new development in those neighborhoods?  

DV: As a city, we need to be mindful and respectful of the unique character of our neighborhoods. Instead of approving any development that comes in front of the Council, we should be thinking ahead and working with neighborhood associations to make sure changes to those communities are in line with the character and uniqueness of each neighborhood. I was the first Councilmember to speak out against the housing development on the North Phoenix Baptist Church campus because I knew it didn’t fit with the community’s character. We should also strengthen the process of plans going through Village Planning Committees by making sure a diverse array of perspectives and representation are on those committees. I have been the most accessible Councilmember and I will be the most accessible Mayor we’ve had when it comes to listening to neighborhood groups and working with them on solutions.

NCPHA: Where do you see new development occurring once you are in office?

DV: I want to see smart and responsible growth throughout our city, but that will differ depending on the neighborhoods. In places like Laveen and some parts of North Phoenix, we still haven’t built sidewalks and proper water infrastructure. That must be a priority when it comes to development and representing all parts of our city.

NCPHA: Corruption and back room deals have infiltrated our public process.  
What will you do as mayor to ensure unethical behavior in our City (both paid and volunteer positions) is eliminated?

DV: Transparency is one of the most important aspects of city government and I believe we must do better at City Hall. Citizens should know that they can trust their elected officials, have access to speaking with them, and know they aren’t being bought off by special interests. I fully supported the recent ballot propositions, including Prop. 412, to hold elected officials accountable for their actions in office as well as those who serve on boards and commissions in our city. As Mayor, one of my first priorities will be to protect our city’s brand by finally establishing an Ethics Commission that has oversight of our Council. During this campaign, I’ve held and have scheduled free meet and greets open to the public in every district in the City to let people know I am listening and I will be accountable to their concerns. As Mayor, I will continue this practice by holding quarterly meet and greets in each district.

NCPHA: How will you reduce the homeless problem in our City?

DV: As someone who spent nights in a cot with my mother in a homeless shelter, this issue is a personal one for me. There is never one sole reason for homelessness, and there’s not one simple solution to fix it. Government alone cannot solve the problem of our homelessness crisis.  I believe it will take a multi-faceted, holistic approach that creates partnerships between municipal governments, non-profit associations, the health care and business community, and concerned community leaders. As Mayor, I would bring stakeholders together and create solutions that combine the areas of health care, housing, and job training. We need to treat our fellow Phoenicians with the utmost dignity and respect, and make sure they have the tools they need to get back on their feet.
 
NCPHA: Traffic, in some areas, is at an all-time high. The City of Phoenix has turned a blind eye to this.  What will you do as Mayor to address the traffic and vehicular safety problems?

DV: We need to make vehicular and pedestrian safety a priority in the City of Phoenix. Our residents should not fear collisions while walking to a park or a local restaurant. As Mayor, I will make sure we pass the Complete Streets guidelines that will make our city safe for drivers and pedestrians. Additionally, I want to look at creative ways like bringing artistic displays to sidewalks and crosswalks to reduce our traffic issues.
 
NCPHA: What is your position on illegal immigration?  Will you make Phoenix a sanctuary city?

DV: Phoenix is not and will not be a sanctuary city.