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                               Tony Nelssen Scottsdale City Councilman


Tony Nelssen


Tony Nelssen


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Arizona State University (ASU)

Bachelor of Fine Arts-1973

Master of Arts - Secondary Education-1975  

Master of Fine Arts-1976



Educator – Computer Arts and Photography

I have taught at the Arizona State University (College of Architecture and Art Dept.), Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College and is currently at Paradise Valley Community College


Civic Involvement:

Founded, served on, initiated, designed, or helped draft:


The Great Sonoran – A group I founded to convince the city to emphasize innovative, site specific, and climate sensitive architecture that defines and respects the desert southwest’s unique sense of place. Scottsdale’s "Sensitive Design” guidelines were essentially derived from the Great Sonoran guidelines for sensitive development.


Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO)

Desert Foothills Character Area Working Group (20 years)

Desert Foothills Overlay (FO)

Wireless Ideas Team

City Trails Master Plan


APS 69 KV Task Force (I suggested the new proposed 20-acre substation north of Dynamite to be co-located and moved to existing Pinnacle Peak substation west of Scottsdale Rd.) Lets hope it stays there, if in fact it is necessary at all.


Local Area Master Plan (LAMP) 

Sign Ordinance 

Rural Road Design – new road profiles added to the Design Standards and Policy manual


69 KV Improvement District (buried the new 69kv lines down Scottsdale road from Dixileta to Jomax and Hayden). It was the first improvement district approved for burying 69kv passed in the state of Arizona.


Scenic Corridor Guidelines

Desert Subcommittee for McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission

General Plan Task Force


Designed the utility box screens at Dixileta and Scottsdale road and consulted on others, including the use of adobe walls to screen new wireless facilities like the new one at Jomax and Scottsdale road, also Hayden and Jomax – pro bono


Greater Pinnacle Peak Association-Vice President

The Desert Property Owners Association -Vice President and Past President

The Friends of the Scenic Drive-Past board member


Appointments, Boards and Commissions:


Parks and Recreation Commission - 6 Years

My input included work in many areas of Scottsdale:  Civic Center improvements, creation of the Chaparral Dog Park, improvements to the Via Linda Senior Center, the Skate Park at Eldorado Park, and the Pinnacle Peak Park and Trail


Planning Commission


Arizona State Heritage Fund Public Advisory Committee – Present


Major Issues facing the City:

TRAFFIC (circulation, planning, and safety)...

Maintaining our high quality of life...

Fiscal responsibility...

Staffing and equipping our Police Dept....

Accountability and credibility…..


Too many “decision makers” have to rely on staff interpretations of ordinance, and know too little about the history, purposes, and goals of citizen initiated and past City Council approved design guidelines and overlays. Promises made by past Councils are forgotten or not known by new. Complex and contentious high profile development cases are presented to the public, go through the process, then come back after the dust settles with the developer asking for, and receiving relief by staff from promised amenities.


A good start to address this issue is simply a top down focus on inter-departmental communication to make sure all in the process (including the public) are on the same page and understand the subtleties that greatly affect development character and quality. Smarter growth with open and accountable government, which is more responsive to citizen needs, will insure a better, more sustainable quality of life in Scottsdale.


I am running for City Council to bring open and accountable government to the public by making available all information about occurrences at city hall. Government belongs to us, the taxpayer-shareholders. I shall oppose any acts to circumvent the public’s or the press’s right to obtain facts about city processes or plans, other than those prohibited by law. You and I are entitled to know everything, without spin by public officials. 


I will help ensure that new development and redevelopment reflects the very highest quality and design in all parts of our fine City. Revitalization is well underway, but we must be ever vigilant so that what is done, is unique, and continues to define Scottsdale as the best place to work, live, and raise our families.


To a large extent developers build cities. That being said, I have always had a passion for what is built and how it is built. That is particularly important in Scottsdale as its reputation was built on quality of life with an emphasis on excellence. That trend is waning. Scottsdale has become complacent, often resting on its laurels, and too often slipping towards bland mediocrity found in neighboring communities. Another disturbing trend is the apparent double standard for development in the southern part of Scottsdale vs. the north. This trend must not continue. Scottsdale’s unique character, culture, and heritage must be preserved and enhanced throughout our entire City.


Twenty years of volunteering, twenty years of important progress for Scottsdale.  I believe that WE THE PEOPLE make a difference.  With your support I look forward to making our city even better as your Scottsdale City Councilman.



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