Chinese Community asked two questions to the Phoenix city Mayor and councilmembers

Hua Xin

Today I don't need to talk about how precious and how special the Chinese Culture Center is. For this issue, we have already talked so much that you probably have heard far more enough!  At this moment, I just want to tell you that I couldn't understand why the City Planning and Development Department still issued the TN Company the permit to let them removing the tile roof of the Chinese Culture Center.

First of all, I would like to talk about the 1996 enacted zoning Stipulations. Its #13 is to protect the right of the property owners' association, which was formed for the purpose of defining and implementing responsibilities for the maintenance of the  infrastructure, open space, and public amenities, and the property owners' association shall be maintained in perpetuity.

Within the same Chinese Culture Center, not only is TN company a property owner, but also is the Sichuan Palace Restaurant. As a property owner, the Sichuan Palace Restaurant should be the member of the property owners' association with no doubt. I wonder if the City Planning and Development Department ever got the agreement from the Sichuan Palace Restaurant before they issued a permit to TN company and allowed them to reconstruct the roof of the CCC? Now, my question is: why the city government only takes the TN's right into their consideration but totally ignores the right of Sichuan Palace Restaurant? Just because they are minority Chinese business? What a double standard you have?!

The stipulation #15 states that any request to amend these stipulations (including stipulation #14 requiring commencement of construction within 18 months) must be brought back to the planning commission for public hearing.

On October 31, 2017, the City Planning & Development Department issued the permit to the TN company for the replacement of the current tile roof of CCC without any public hearing. Here, my question is: does this violate the ordinances of the zoning stipulations?

The stipulations #11: “The property owner shall participate in the public art program for the project in coordination with the commission on the Arts for the City of Phoenix and Consistent with the guidelines adopted by the City Council on March 16, 1988”.

Over the past 20 years, the Chinese Cultural Center has indeed to make these significant art pieces, gardens and community square open to the public.  These art features of the Chinese Cultural Center constitute the “public art program for the project.”  They cannot now be removed and sent to a landfill (as the owner has threatened to do). Any request on the new owner’s part to unilaterally modify this public art program, will violate Stipulation #11 and will require a public hearing to seek a modification. Now, my question is: did the City Planning & Development Department request the TN company to follow the requirement of this particular stipulation?

Secondary, I would like to talk about the Arizona Proposition 207. A 2006 ballot initiative officially titled the "Private Property Right Proposition Act". "207" requires the government to reimburse land owners when regulations result in a decrease in the property's value, and also prevents government from exercising eminent domain on behalf of a private party.

The TN company is using the Proposition 207 to threatened the city government as they attempt to bypass a public hearing. Now, I have the following two questions:

(1) Have the Phoenix city government ever even tried to preserve the CCC, which cause the TN property's value decrease?

(2) Does the value of TN's property really decrease? They bought the CCC in June of 2017 for 10.5 million dollars and only four months later, the Chinese Community would offer much higher price to purchase back the CCC. Therefore, how can they claim their property is devalued? What compensation should they require from the city government?

The third, our Chinese American Community are serious to purchase back our treasure-the Chinese Culture Center. We therefore urge the TN company to contact the Chinese United Association of Great Phoenix directly, not through the media, not lie to the public, please sit down at the negotiation table, face to face and sell the property! 

Thanks for your time! 

 

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