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  10.A.       
Meeting Date: 12/06/2022  
From: Tiffany Antol, Senior Planner

TITLE:
Consideration and Adoption of Resolution No. 2022-56: A Resolution of the Flagstaff City Council amending the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 to change the place type designation within a future suburban activity center (S16) from neighborhood scale to regional scale on Maps 21, 22, and 24; move the center point of a future suburban activity center (S16) north and east on Maps 21, 22, and 24; change the area type designation on Map 21 and 22 from Area in White and existing Rural/Future Suburban to Existing Employment for approximately 28 acres; and realign a future circulation road corridor on Map 25 generally located at 1120 W Purple Sage Trail; providing for severability, and establishing an effective date.
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
1) Read Resolution No. 2022-56 by title only
2) City Clerk reads Resolution No. 2022-56 by title only (if approved above)
3) Adopt Resolution No. 2022-56
Executive Summary:
A Minor Amendment to the Flagstaff Regional Plan requested by Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) Corporation to change the place type designation within a future suburban activity center (S16) from neighborhood scale to regional scale on Maps 21, 22, and 24; move the center point of a future suburban activity center (S16) north and east on Maps 21, 22, and 24; change the area type designation on Map 21 and 22 from Area in White and Existing Rural/Future Suburban to Existing Employment for approximately 28 acres; and realign a future circulation road corridor on Map 25 on property located 1120 W. Purple Sage Trail.  The Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing on this item on November 9, 2022, and voted unanimously (7-0) to recommend approval.
Financial Impact:
There are no anticipated financial impacts from this Minor Regional Plan Amendment.  Financial impacts will be analyzed as part of the Specific Plan and Zoning Map Amendment that are required to allow the proposed development at this location.
Policy Impact:
There are no anticipated policy impacts from this Minor Regional Plan Amendment.
Connection to PBB Priorities/Objectives, Carbon Neutrality Plan & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Support diverse employment opportunities that provide residents with a living wage.
Support social services, community partners and housing opportunities.
 
Carbon Neutrality Plan
Ensure all mitigation actions improve Flagstaff's ability to adapt to the future.

Regional Plan
Applicable to all Land Uses Goals and Policies
Goal LU.3. Continue to enhance the region’s unique sense of place within the urban, suburban, and rural context.
Policy LU.3.1. Within the urban, suburban, and rural context, use neighborhoods, activity centers, corridors, public spaces, and connectivity as the structural framework for development.
Policy LUR.3.4 Promote transitions between the urban, suburban, and rural areas with an appropriate change in development intensity, connectivity, and open space.
Goal LU.4. Balance housing and employment land uses with the preservation and protection of our unique natural and cultural setting.
Policy LU.4.1. Develop neighborhood plans, specific plans, area plans, and master plans for all neighborhoods, activity centers, corridors, and gateways as necessary.
 
Goal LU.5. Encourage compact development principles to achieve efficiencies and open space preservation.
Policy LU.5.5. Plan for and promote compact commercial development as activity centers with mixed uses, allowing for efficient multi-modal transit options and infrastructure.
Policy LU..5 Encourage the distribution of density within neighborhoods in relationship to associated activity centers and corridors, infrastructure, transportation, and natural constraints such as slopes and drainages.
Policy LU.5.6. Encourage the placement of institutional and civic buildings centrally within a neighborhood to promote walkability and multi-use recreation spaces.
                       
Suburban Area Goals and Policies
Goal LU.13. Increase the variety of housing options and expand opportunities for employment and neighborhood shopping within all suburban neighborhoods.
        Policy LU.13.7. Include employment opportunities in all suburban activity centers.
        Policy LU.13.8. Locate civic spaces, parks, and institutional uses within neighborhood pedestrian sheds.
 
Employment Area Goals and Policies
Goal LU.15. Plan for and encourage employee-intensive uses throughout the area as activity centers, corridors, research and development offices, business parks, and light industrial areas to encourage efficient infrastructure and multimodal commuting.
Policy LU.15.1. Encourage the grouping of medical and professional offices, light industrial, research, and skill training, and skill training with other necessary workforce services and transportation options.
Policy LU.15.2. Consider the compatible integration of residential uses and proposed employment centers to reduce vehicle trips and commute times.
 
Activity Centers and Commercial Corridors Goals and Policies
Goal LU.18. Develop well designed activity centers and corridors with a variety of employment, business, shopping, civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and residential choices. 
Policy LU.18.1 Design activity centers and corridors appropriate to and within the context of each area type: urban, suburban, or rural.
Policy LU.18.7. Concentrate commercial, retail, services, and mixed use within the activity center’s commercial core.
Policy LU.18.9. Plan activity centers and corridors appropriate to their respective regional or neighborhood scale.
Policy LU.18.12.  Corridors should focus commercial development to the corridor frontage and residential to the back.
Policy LU.18.15. Actual pedestrian-shed boundaries will be established considering opportunities and constraints posed by natural and man-made barriers like terrain or the interstate, road networks, and existing development patterns.
Policy LU.18.19. New development in future activity centers should create street patterns that implement the characteristics of urban and suburban place-making with a functional transportation system that minimized dead ends and offset street and driveway connections.
 
Mobility and Access Goals and Policies
Goal T.1. Improve mobility and access throughout the region.
Policy T.1.1. Integrate a balanced, multimodal, regional transportation system.
Policy T.1.3. Transportation systems are consistent with the place type and needs of people
Policy T.1.5. Manage the operation and interaction of all modal systems for efficiency, effectiveness, safety, and to best mitigate traffic congestion.
 
Safe and Efficient Multimodal Transportation Goals and Policies
Goal T.2. Improve transportation safety and efficiency for all modes.
Policy T.2.2 Design infrastructure to provide safe and efficient movement of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
 
Quality Design Goals and Policies
Goal T.4. Promote transportation infrastructure and services that enhance the quality of life of the communities within the region.
Policy T.4.1. Promote context sensitive solutions (CSS) supportive of planned land uses, integration of related infrastructure needs, and desired community character elements in all transportation investments.
 
Automobile Goals and Policies
Goal T.8. Establish a functional, safe, and aesthetic hierarchy of roads and streets.
Policy T.8.1. Promote efficient transportation connectivity to major trade corridors, employment centers, and special districts that enhances the region’s standing as major economic hub.
Policy T. 8.2.  Maintain the road and street classification system that is based on context, function, type, use, and visual quality.
           Policy T.8.4 Protect rights-of-way for future transportation corridors.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
There have been no previous Council decisions on this item.
Options and Alternatives:
The City Council may approve the resolution as proposed, approve the resolution with conditions, or deny the resolution.
Background/History:
The applicant, NAH, is requesting a Minor Regional Plan Amendment to support the future rezoning of approximately 172.6 acres to accommodate a new regional hospital and ambulatory care facility, surrounded by a Health Village designed as a location for a full range of medical, health, and wellness services mixed with supporting commercial, retail, research and development, general services, and housing uses. This new regional hospital is intended to replace the existing Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) that has been operating in Flagstaff since 1936.NAH has owned and operated FMC for the past 35 years. FMC currently maintains a 300-bed patient facility and is an Arizona-certified Level 1 Trauma Center.FMC is the only Arizona Level 1 Trauma Center north of Phoenix. This Minor Regional Plan Amendment is intended to be followed by a Specific Plan for the 172.6 acres. The Specific Plan will serve as a planning framework for development of the overall Health Village with goals and policies and analysis of impacts to public services. In addition, the plan will also serve a regulatory function by establishing specific development standards for parcels within the Planning Area.
 
FMC’s current campus consists of 40 acres of land that is divided by a primary transportation route (Beaver Street). NAH has struggled to maintain efficiencies on the existing site due to physical constraints and has worked continuously over the years on the existing site to enhance services to the Community. While NAH owns additional undeveloped land in the immediate vicinity of the existing hospital those parcels are not contiguous and new development on those lots is likely to exacerbate existing issues with the current development. NAH has decided to pursue a new greenfield development to provide more efficient medical services as well as expand service offerings. In addition to the hospital, NAH has opted to plan for a larger development with supporting uses on an overall 172.6-acre site known as a “Health Village”. These supporting uses include complementary retail, commercial, research, education, and residential units. The anchor of the Health Village will be a new regional hospital with up to 486-beds, outpatient care including surgical services, and medical and administrative offices.Open space and civic space are also incorporated to support the Health Village concept.
 
The existing 172.6 acres of land is bounded by Beulah Boulevard (an existing 2-lane arterial roadway) to the east and is partially bisected by Purple Sage Trail which is a private roadway easement that has been improved with asphalt millings.  Purple Sage provides access to Fort Tuthill County Park as well as the surrounding residential properties. The Healthcare Village proposes a new circulation system for the planning area including a new arterial roadway (Healthcare Boulevard) that will eventually connect with Woody Mountain Road and two new collector roads (Purple Sage and Wellness Loop). Other internal roadways will be phased as development occurs withing the Planning Area.  Development in the Planning Area is intended to be phased with the hospital and affiliated medical uses identified as the priority.  Most of the required on-site infrastructure improvements are triggered by this first phase of development. 
Key Considerations:
As discussed in the “How This Plan Works” chapter (page III-4), the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 is used in the regulatory decision-making process by the Planning & Zoning Commission, City Council, and City staff.  The Commission and the Council are responsible for making development decisions such as zoning map amendments or specific plans, which depends on whether the proposed changes or projects are consistent with the Plan’s goals and policies.  The Future Growth Illustration on Maps 21 and 22 (same map; one is regional scale and one city scale) and the text of the Plan will provide supplemental information for the interpretation of goals and policies.  In case of any conflict between the Future Growth Illustration and the Plan’s goals and policies, the goals and policies will prevail. 
 
The Future Growth Illustration has two types of land use designations: “Area Types” describe the placemaking context of Urban, Suburban, Rural, or Employment and “Place Types” such as activity centers, corridors, and neighborhoods provide the framework for the density, intensities, and mix of uses within the area types.  This application proposes to change the place type of a Future Suburban Activity Center (S16) from neighborhood scale to regional scale and to relocate the center point of the same activity center over the project site (Maps 21, 22, - Future Growth Illustration and Map 24 – Activity Centers).  Activity Centers are mixed-use areas where there is a concentration of commercial and other land uses typically defined by a pedestrian shed. A Suburban Activity Center can serve a Regional scale or Neighborhood scale.  The activity center for this site (S16) is currently identified as neighborhood scale. Neighborhood Suburban Activity Centers are intended to be smaller, mixed-use centers at intersections of collector streets and neighborhood access roads providing connections to local goods and services, public spaces, transit, and the FUTS.  Regional Suburban Activity Centers are larger, mixed-use centers at intersections of arterial roads and collector streets, with access to large residential developments including entertainment and cultural amenities, public spaces, and transit with an emphasis on both residents and visitors. Large-scale high occupancy housing and transit-oriented development is appropriate in this scale of activity center.
 
In addition, this application proposes to change the area type of “Areas in white retain their existing entitlements” and Existing Rural/Future Suburban to “Employment” over approximately 28 acres.  “Areas in white retain their existing entitlements” is used to describe areas that have not been assigned an area type.  In most cases, these unassigned areas are public lands held by the Forest Service, Arizona State Land Department, or City of Flagstaff.  In this case, they are privately owned land located adjacent to land owned by Coconino County operated as a regional park (Fort Tuthill). The Comprehensive Planning Manager has made the interpretation that the surrounding area types on Maps 21 and 22 (Future Growth Illustration) should be considered for consistency.  In cases where a parcel is adjacent to more than one area type, either could be extended to the property.  In this case the subject property sits in between areas designated as Future Employment and Suburban to the east, Existing Rural/Future Suburban to the north and Rural and Parks/Open Space to the west.  With this request the existing “Area in White” and some of the Existing Rural/Future Suburban will, if approved, be assigned the Existing Employment area type. 
 
For the area within the site remaining Existing Rural/Future Suburban, future applications for the specific plan and zoning map amendment will be evaluated under the Suburban and Regional Activity Center goals and policies for plan conformance.
 
Lastly, this application proposes to realign a future transportation corridor as identified on Map 25 (Road Network Illustration).  The current Map 25 shows a realignment of the existing Beulah Boulevard from its current location adjacent to Interstate 17 corridor further west along the eastern boundary of Fort Tuthill.  The primary purpose for this realignment was to allow for either an underpass or overpass across I-17 to connect with South Pulliam Drive just before it enters the Ponderosa Trails subdivision.  This crossing of I-17 was originally identified with the proposed development called Villaggio Montana which included a total of 1,020 acres including most of the land in this application.  The crossing of I-17 started out as a new interchange and morphed into an underpass due to existing grades. While Villaggio Montana did not move forward as planned, the underpass remained an element of the future road network and was included in the current Regional Plan as shown on Map 25.   The applicant is proposing to leave Beulah Boulevard in its current alignment adjacent to I-17 to maintain a larger contiguous parcel of land that can accommodate the proposed hospital and future expansions if necessary.
 
Attached are exhibits comparing the existing Regional Plan maps to the proposed Future Growth Illustration map.  These maps and any applicable text of the FRP 2030 should be considered in the context of the Plan’s goals and policies.  A discussion of the FRP 2030 goals and policies is provided below.  There are no goals and policies that reference “Areas in white retain their existing entitlements.” 
Community Benefits and Considerations:
The City Council shall find that the proposed Minor Regional Plan Amendment meets the requirements of the General Plan and Subdivision Code (City Code Title 11).  In considering the request for an amendment to the Plan, the goals and policies should be considered to ensure that the requested change to the Future Growth Illustration is in conformance with the overall vision.  “The Flagstaff Regional Plan establishes the vision for the future growth and development of Flagstaff and its surrounding area through goals and policies” (p.III-4).  “General plans are not static documents; they recognize growth as a dynamic process, which may require revisions to the plan as circumstances or changes warrant” (p.III-1).
 
Regional Plan Vision
“The Greater Flagstaff community embraces the region’s extraordinary cultural and ecological setting on the Colorado Plateau through active stewardship of the natural and built environments.  Residents and visitors encourage and advance intellectual, environmental, social, and economic vitality for today’s citizens and future generations.” (p I-1)
 
An analysis is provided for each of the four requests included in this application.

1. Changing the place type designation of a Future Suburban Activity Center from Neighborhood to Regional.
The Regional Plan located future activity centers where the future road networks intended to intersect, and future development has been proposed (LU.3 and LU.18).  In this case, activity center S16 was located at the future intersection of Beulah Boulevard and Woody Mountain Road (both designated as minor arterials).  This intersection location was the result of planning efforts for the Villaggio Montana residential development considered prior to the adoption of the current Regional Plan.  Every activity center is intended to work at its own scale, serving the needs of the surrounding community.  That scale is directly related to the road types serving the center and surrounding development.  Regional centers are the largest and are generally located at the intersection of major roads and have multiple large residential developments with direct access to it. 
 
In this case, activity S16 was always intended to be located at the intersection of two arterial roadways like a regional scale activity center, however, the existing surrounding development remains at a low density and intensity of development based on existing zoning.  Neighborhood centers are smaller areas that focus commercial and mixed-use development at intersections and within proximity to commercial corridors.  These areas transition quickly to neighborhoods that have easy access to them.  It is clear from previous development plans that this was the original intent. The subject property is shown in the Regional Plan with the desired future infrastructure necessary to serve a regional scale development versus neighborhood scale. 
 
The proposed development of a new regional hospital requires a regional scale activity center to support a zoning map amendment request at this location because the scale, mix of uses and regional attraction of the proposal is more than the original vision for S16 (LU.5 and LU.13).  The Regional Plan goals and policies related to activity centers include support for well-designed centers with a variety of uses, development related to the appropriate context of the area type (urban, suburban, or rural) and that the center and corridor be developed in relation to the regional or neighborhood scale.  The future activity center S16 meets many of the features that relate to regional scale development such as being located at the intersection of arterial roadways.  The relocation of the activity center, discussed further below, aligns the activity within an area type of future suburban as opposed to existing rural. Several existing regional scale activity centers are situated under similar conditions with future or existing suburban being the primary area type within the activity center.
 
There have been no private development requests to amend the scale of a future activity center since the adoption of the Regional Plan.           

2. Moving the center of a Future Suburban Activity Center to the north and east of its existing location.
As discussed above, activity centers were located based on the types of intersections expected to be developed (T.8 and T.1).  In this case, the applicant is requesting to modify the proposed road network shown on Map 25 which will alter the intersection of two arterial roads within this area.  This realignment of the road network supports the relocation of this activity center.  Instead of locating the center of the activity center over an intersection it places priority on the focal point of the proposed Health Village, the hospital and ambulatory surgical center.  There are no specific goals and policies that discuss the relocation of an activity center.  The Regional Plan suggests that specific plans should be developed with activity centers to ensure the activity center achieves the desired outcome based on area and place type (LU.18).  A Specific Plan is being prepared and will be submitted for Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation to the Council following this request to ensure that the activity center meets the parameters of the Regional Plan by providing high level development guidance and development standards.
 
There have been no private development requests to modify a future activity center since the Regional Plan was adopted.  The mix of land use zoning types within designated activity centers has changed little from year to year. Since 2014, the balance of zoning has changed in the following ways: commercial zoning has increased by 50 acres, public open space zoning by 42 acres, residential by 291 acres, and transect zones and increased by 3 acres. Industrial space has decreased by 56 acres. Much of this change has been the result of two Specific plans. The Southside and High Occupancy Housing plans both recalibrated the location of activity centers and their use-mix. Future changes to activity centers are still expected, with current work focusing on interpreting the specific land parcels that are/should be included in activity centers. This work may increase the total land area designated as part of an activity center. The relocation of this activity center has the potential to add approximately 63 acres of commercial space and 35 acres of public space if a zoning map amendment is approved in conjunction with this request.

3. Changing the area type designation from Area in White and Rural/Suburban to Employment for 28 acres.
Approximately 28 acres of the 172.6-acre Property are proposed to have their area type changed to Employment (LU. 4 and LU.15).  Currently, these 28 acres are designated as Area in White retains existing entitlements and Existing Rural/Future Suburban.  The property in this area is currently zoned for and would support large lot single family residential development.  This may not be the highest and best use for a property that is located directly adjacent to a regional park, a minor arterial roadway, and a major interstate.
 
Since the adoption of the Regional Plan there have been twelve minor amendments.  These amendments have primarily focused on increasing the Park/Open Space area type.  There has been only one amendment (in the last year) to date increasing the Employment area type.  There has been one amendment converting approximately 36.5 acres of Employment to the Park/Open Space area type (McMillan Mesa Natural Area).  This proposed amendment would add back approximately 28 acres of Employment area type, which is one of the most protected area types identified in the Plan.  Similarly, approximately 119 acres of land have been rezoned from industrial zones to other zoning categories since 2014.  This request will support an additional 27.8 net acres of land for research and development.
 
The proposed amendment is supported by several goals and policies within the Plan and the proposed location is an ideal candidate for this amendment.  The goals and policies listed above support the location of the proposed uses associated with this application. These conditions support the finding of conformance with the Regional Plan.

4. Realigning a future road corridor (Beulah Boulevard).
As stated above, the Road Network Illustration (Map 25) shows Beulah Boulevard moved west of its current location to accommodate a future underpass across I-17.  This underpass is important for the future transportation network because it will help reduce trips at the airport traffic interchange as well as Lake Mary Road and Beulah Boulevard and will assist with lowering vehicle miles traveled within Flagstaff.  While the applicant is not anticipating constructing this underpass as part of their development, the applicant will need to ensure that leaving Beulah in its current location will not prohibit the future construction of the underpass.  The intersection of Beulah Boulevard and Purple Sage Trail will be conditioned with any subsequent entitlement case to be designed and constructed to accommodate a future underpass across I-17.
Community Involvement:
Inform. Public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are conducted in conjunction with the Regional Plan Amendment request.  In accordance with Arizona Revised Statute and Section 10-20.30.080 (p. 20.30-9) of the Zoning Code, notice of the public hearings were provided by placing an ad in the Arizona Daily Sun, posting notices on the property, and mailing a notice to all property owners and homeowner’s associations within one half of the subject property, consisting of 900 property owners.
 
The applicant held three neighborhood meetings for this application in addition to a proposed Specific Plan and Concept Zoning Map Amendment.  These meetings were held on January 6, and January 18, 2022, at 5:30 pm and October 10, 2022, at 6:00 pm via Zoom.  The January 6, 2022, meeting had approximately 70 attendees and the January 18, 2022, meeting had approximately 100 attendees.  The October 10, 2022, meeting had approximately 154 attendees. Common themes of support included economic development impacts, better access to care and new clinical services and the overall health and wellness vision.   Common themes of concern included transit and bus service, access to the new campus, traffic, re-use of the existing NAH campus, helicopter/ambulance noise, and building height.  The public participation plan for all NAH applications can be found at this link https://awdlaw267.sharefile.com/d-sd088fa2cf1c74f29a82320c743fe1caa.
Attachments
Application
Planning Commission Staff Report
Project Narrative
Applicant's Regional Plan Analysis
Res. 2022-56
Exhibit A to Resolution No. 2022-56
Exhibit B to Resolution No. 2022-56
Exhibit C to Resolution No. 2022-56
Presentation
Emails to the Planning & Zoning Commission


    

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