Landowner may erect new protest signs

By Thomas Ropp
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 7, 2002

The trailers are gone, but Henry Becker's neighbors can expect new surprises on his property at Pima and Happy Valley roads.

Scottsdale Deputy City Attorney Debby Robberson said she doesn't know exactly what Becker is up to, but suspects he's about to erect new political signs.

"He met with our planning department, then asked us about the parameters of our sign code," Robberson said. "I don't know what the signs will say, but I don't think they'll be saying Merry Christmas, Mayor Manross."

Becker is the controversial property owner who has been fighting for years with Scottsdale over how to develop his 95 acres of prime desert property. Over the past two years he has constructed cartoonish figures on poles and hauled in pink sheds in way of protest. For a few weeks he even had stacks of beehives. Last January, Becker brought in a tractor-trailer and adorned it with three toilets and a large sign that said: "Flush the Scottsdale City Council."

The city took Becker to Superior Court and city court over various code violations. Becker lost both cases, which are now in appeal.

Robberson said Becker had to remove his trailers and sign a couple weeks ago after a Superior Court judge ruled he couldn't keep them on his property during the appeal.

For the most part, Becker's neighbors have been outraged since the menagerie first began appearing. A few have expressed support, agreeing with Becker that the city's zoning policies are too rigid.

Becker's attorney, Cameron Morgan, is closed lip on what's coming next but did say:

"The public can expect more signs. We have a letter from the City Attorney's Office telling us exactly what we can do."

Morgan said Becker will be complying with city codes in future visual protests because there have been constructive discussions of late with the city.

"We've discussed some issues concerning the land," Morgan said. "Everybody is being nice nice."

Reach the reporter at or at (602) 444-6880.

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