It looks like Scottsdale just became perhaps the second city in Arizona to run afoul of Proposition 207. (The first was Tucson.) In Scottsdale, some community groups want to create a neighborhood historic district. Problem is, that’s not really possible under pay-or-waive. A new historic designation would be essentially meaningless, because any property owner in the district can simply demand a waiver from the rules or else a cash payment from taxpayers.
Here’s an illuminating quote from the East Valley Tribunearticle:
“With Prop. 207, we’re dead in the water,” said Debbie Abele, Scottsdale historic preservation officer. Abele said efforts across the state are facing obstacles.
And here’s another:
The possibility of litigation is having a chilling effect on historic preservation programs. “Everybody is afraid at this point,” said Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. “Anyone can sue over pretty much anything.”
Alright, Scottsdale’s inability to create a new historic district probably isn’t going to keep me up at night. But the problems Scottsdale (and Tucson) are facing are only the beginning. Arizona residents are just beginning to realize that Prop 207 didn’t give them new rights, it took away some very basic ones—like local democracy.