PARC was established as a grass roots non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 2006. What appeared to be an imminent threat from ADOT to pursue the South Mountain Freeway (SMF) project did not materialize at that time. Instead, the push for the SMF faded into the background. ADOT may have thought that PARC would go away in time. The SMF threat reappeared in 2013 in the form of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). PARC then became heavily engaged in the freeway proposal process, as defined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Copies of PARC’s responses to the DEIS as well as the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) released in 2014 are available on this web site. Of course, PARC’s administrative actions did not stop ADOT from pursuing the SMF, but they did prepare PARC for the lawsuit that would be required to stop the SMF project for good.
PARC faced two major challenges in pursuing its desire to stop the SMF:
- finding the right professionals who would be able to accomplish the work that had to be done
the attorney with the right credentials who could direct the collection of necessary information throughout the NEPA process and then put together and
execute a winning lawsuit
- the experts with the right credentials who could review ADOT’s documents and provide pertinent documentation to the attorney
- collecting the funding to finance the lawsuit to stop the SMF
PARC was fortunate to have a very experienced and well-respected NEPA attorney available and interested from the very beginning. As a resident of Ahwatukee, NEPA attorney Howard Shanker was very familiar with the threat of the SMF and very interested in stopping it. Shanker was also able to assist in finding and bringing in experts with the right credentials when they were needed.
PARC knew from the outset that stopping the SMF would be expensive. It would require the professional services of an attorney and a number of experts. The advantage PARC had was that it was a 501(c)(3) organization that could serve to bring together any number of organizations and individuals to pool their resources to fight the SMF while making all donations to the cause tax deductible. An additional benefit for PARC is that much of the work done by both its attorney and its experts has been done pro bono, substantially lessening the required funding.
A large portion of PARC’s funding comes from HOAs, specifically Calabrea, Club West, Foothills, and Lakewood. Each of these HOAs has substantial concerns about the SMF, but the concerns are different for each HOA. By pooling funding together through PARC, each of these HOAs can get their concerns addressed in PARC’s legal action. Most of this HOA funding has been in the range of $5-10 per household.
Many individuals also realize that, through PARC, they can play an important role in fighting the SMF. They donate to PARC, keeping in mind how destructive the SMF would be to their homes and families as well as to their quality of life. While their children’s health and their quality of life cannot be measured in dollars, and the losses they would experience in home values are hard to estimate, most donors feel that generous donations are appropriate.
PARC has very low overhead because its Board members, all of whom are volunteers, pay for almost all administrative expenses. For example, they rent meeting rooms as necessary and pay the yearly fees for website names. PARC’s primary advertising comes from the brochures distributed to homes and at events. Those brochures are all printed on volunteers’ printers, using paper and ink they pay for themselves (ink is very expensive!). One administrative cost PARC has is it pays a webmaster a modest amount each month to keep the website up to date and to format newsletters. Of course, there is also an administrative fee on all credit card donations, no matter whether they come through authorize.net or GoFundMe. Of all funds received, 95.7% go directly to PARC work on the lawsuit.
Because of the fact that PARC has used its limited funding so sparingly, it has been able to successfully engage in fighting the SMF with a relatively small budget. We now anticipate that we may be able to successfully complete our lawsuit for less than the $500,000 we originally anticipated. We still have a long way to go, however, so continued funding is necessary. The funding has been and will continue to be used wisely until the lawsuit is settled!