City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 09/01/2020  
From: Sara Dechter, AICP, Comprehensive Planning Manager

Consideration and Adoption of Resolution No. 2020-51:  A resolution of the Flagstaff City Council, adopting a Minor Plan Amendment to Chapter IX: Growth and Land Use of the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030, in association with the Southside Community Specific Plan, and establishing an effective date


Consideration and Adoption of Resolution No. 2020-52:  A resolution of the Flagstaff City Council, adopting a Minor Plan Amendment to adopt the Southside Community Specific Plan, and establishing an effective date
1) Hold the Public Hearing
2) Regional Plan Amendment 
  1. Read Resolution No. 2020-51 by title only
  2. City Clerk reads Resolution No. 2020-51 by title only (if approved above)
  3. Adopt Resolution No. 2020-51
3) Southside Community Specific Plan
  1. Read Resolution No. 2020-52 by title only
  2. City Clerk reads Resolution No. 2020-52 by title only (if approved above)
  3. Adopt Resolution No. 2020-52
Executive Summary:
The Southside Community Specific Plan (Southside Plan) is a specific plan that is proposed adopted policy for the City of Flagstaff. The Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 (Regional Plan) states, “The purpose of a specific plan is to provide a greater level of detail for a geographic area or element of the Regional Plan, and to provide for the systematic implementation of the Regional Plan” (Page III-8 based on Flagstaff City Code Section 11-10.30.010).  City staff and the Southside Community Association have been co-leading the effort to develop a Southside Community Plan since June 2017. Over the last three years, the community has come together through surveys, informal gatherings, and public meetings to draft a plan for the consideration of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council.

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the City Council adopt:
  • The proposed minor amendment the Regional Plan Maps 21 and 22 to change 36 acres of Existing Suburban to Existing Employment and text on page IX-35 to allow for a mix of residential, commercial, and light industrial (employment) activities in Urban Neighborhood and Urban Activity Centers, when permitted by a specific plan, and
  • The Southside Community Specific Plan with additional Heritage Preservation goals, policies, and strategies included on pages 38 and 51 of Volume 1.
Financial Impact:
There are numerous strategies in the plan that will require funding in order to proceed. It is not expected that all the strategies will be funded but that the City and community will work together to identify funding sources and to implement the priority policies. Appendix A of the Southside Plan, Volume 1 shows the priority strategies and offers cost estimates where possible.
Policy Impact:
The Southside Plan would adopt new area-specific City policies. Some notable policies of the plan include:
  • Emphasis on the importance of historic preservation of both the built environment and the human stories of the Southside, while maintaining choices for property owners and creating awareness of the community’s history.
  • Creation of Southside Subareas that can serve as a framework for future zoning districts that create a variety of buildings and that are designed to create compatible new development within the historic district.
  • Creation of the Live-Make Center subarea that would blend old and new concepts by allowing for larger mixed-use buildings in an appropriate location with an emphasis on integrating small scale and low nuisance industrial uses. (This new concept is the rationale for the Minor Regional Plan Amendment).
  • Support for and promotion of Southside businesses as a unique and distinctive part of the Flagstaff Downtown.
  • Maintenance of small flexible commercial and office spaces and adaptive reuse of the historic commercial buildings in the Southside.
  • Support for the creation of new parks on existing City property that is underutilized and under the new Lone Tree Overpass.
  • Preserving the community use of and improving the services and amenities at the Murdoch Community Center.
  • Addressing incomplete street infrastructure and recommendations for tweaks to ParkFlag to accommodate unique circumstances in the Southside.
  • Identification of potential sites for ParkFlag managed surface lots.
  • New concepts for improving bicycling and pedestrian traffic through and within the Southside, taking the City’s most walkable neighborhood to the next level of sustainability.
  • Support for the Downtown Connection Center and a desire for complimentary facilities and design that make it an attractive amenity.
  • Guidance for treatment of narrow rights of way within historic subdivisions as redevelopment and improvement projects occur.
  • Support for removal of the FEMA floodplain, increasing emergency preparedness and homeowner education and addressing localized flooding issues.
  • Emphasis on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and addressing nightlife-specific issues over a strategy of increased police presence and enforcement.
  • Clarifying concept illustrations concerning the meaning and potential influences of the Southside Subareas to help guide future rezoning cases and Zoning Code updates.
  • Unique and community-driven conceptual designs for possible public improvements such as park space, landscaping, and possible expansion at the Murdoch Center, signalized crossings, FUTS paths, and street cross-sections.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities
Livable Community
Inclusive & Engaged Community
Robust Resilient Economy
Sustainable, Innovative Infrastructure

Regional Plan
Policy CC.3.1. Encourage neighborhood design to be respectful of traditional development patterns and enhance the overall community image.
Policy LU.6.2. Consider commercial core areas, corridors, activity centers, employment centers, research and development parks, special planning areas, and industrial uses as appropriate place types and area types for employment opportunities.
Policy LU.10.3. Value the Historic Neighborhoods established around downtown by maintaining and improving their highly walkable character, transit accessibility, diverse mix of land uses, and historic building form.
Policy LU.10.4. Develop specific plans for neighborhoods and activity centers to foster desired scale and form.
Policy NH.1.8. Prioritize the stabilization of a neighborhood’s identity and maintain cultural diversity as new development occurs. Policy NH.2.3. Continue the tradition of multi-story, multi-use buildings to maintain and increase a stable, mixed income residential population when planning new structures in the downtown and Southside neighborhoods
Policy T.11.3. Include and involve all segments of the population, including those potentially underrepresented such as the elderly, low-income, and minorities (see Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 12898 - Environmental Justice).
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
The Southside Neighborhood created a neighborhood plan from 2002 to 2005. However, the final draft was accepted from the consultant but never adopted by the City Council.  Since 2005, there has been a considerable change in physical and social circumstances in the community, including the adoption of a new Zoning Code.

The City Council provided staff direction in January 2017 to begin work on the Southside Community Plan within the year.  Work began on the Southside Community Plan in June 2017 and the first public meeting was held in November 2017.

In January 2020, during a work session that coincided with the 60-day public review, City Council requested that staff engage the nearby residents on the O'Leary Street FUTS concept illustration.  That work was completed in January 2020 by door-to-door canvassing and follow up with the Southside Community Association's Stakeholder Group.
Historically, the Southside neighborhood in Flagstaff, Arizona is the best representation of the ethnic diversity that evolved in Flagstaff in the early 20th century. It is the largest neighborhood associated with the historic Hispanic, Basque, Native American, and African American populations in Flagstaff. Until 1977, the Southside neighborhood was subjected to redlining and, therefore, was a place of formal and informal segregation, with Anglo communities to the north of the tracks, and ethnic minorities to the south.

Now the Southside is experiencing unique pressures for change. The neighborhood used to be a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial uses with working class families.  In the early 20th century, the Rio de Flag was re-routed in undersized channels through the neighborhood to protect industry. Now it is the lively, eclectic neighborhood between the growing Northern Arizona University and the heart of a vibrant downtown. Today, it is a neighborhood of choice because of its central location, and where many who once had no choice on where they lived want to stay.  

In the early 2010s, the neighborhood started to experience a new type of redevelopment fueled by increasing demand for housing and, in particular, the emerging market for off-campus student housing. After a controversial redevelopment case resulted in a large student housing project, the City Council prioritized working in the neighborhood and understanding how to address these new trends.  The key challenge for the project was how can the pressures for change result in a neighborhood that embraces its heritage by retaining its unique character and culture, and enhances its future by creating a shared vision for existing, and new residents and businesses.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
Neighborhood residents, property owners and all of Flagstaff would benefit from the improved infrastructure, support for small businesses and entrepreneurism, and the historic and cultural preservation of the neighborhood. The goals of the Southside Plan reflect a comprehensive and broad review of the community issues and assets and community feedback on preferred methods of addressing them.  The goals also considered the historic context of the neighborhood current trends and challenges. The main challenges to implementing the Specific Plan are:
  • Funding for capital projects recommended by the plan,
  • Market feasibility associated with proposed zoning code changes,
  • Completion of the Rio de Flag flood control project and localized flooding issues,
  • Influence of the recession and other larger economic influences, and
  • Risk of gentrification.
Community Involvement:
The development of the plan has built new relationships between the City, the community association, local non-profits, and the neighborhood. Surveys improved everyone’s understanding of what matters to the community, and workshops and field trips were small but active. The coming together of the community has resulted in a thoughtful and reflective plan that is being forwarded to the Flagstaff City Council for adoption.  The Plan will guide future policymaking, rezoning cases, capital projects, use of City property and community partnerships for the next 10 to 20 years.

The public had three major roles during the creation of Southside Community Plan. The first was to define their neighborhood’s assets, issues and a vision for the future. The second was to create or edit the Plan’s goals, policies and strategies. The third role of the public was to inform the planning team on their preferences for how public participation should be carried out throughout the process.

Having the public accomplish this collaborative role involved a lot of teamwork. The City partnered with the Southside Community Association (SCA) before the official kick off of the project, Matrix Design provided consultant services surrounding creating the neighborhood’s vision, and a local non-profit, Friends of the Rio de Flag, provided invaluable help with public participation around the neighborhood’s longstanding flooding issues. These partnerships helped facilitate a conversation with the community that over time defined the direction of the Plan.

Meeting announcements and updates sent to 1,900+  property owners and tenants; door hangers placed on 800 residential doors, flyers posted in most commercial business, e-newsletter sent to 228 interested parties, updates provided via City-wide publication sent to every household, and a large sign posted at the Murdoch Community Center. 167 community members attended over 20 public meetings and events. 187 residents and 36 businesses participated in surveys. A full description of the public participation methods used can be found in the Public Participation Plan and Summary (attached).
PowerPoint for Hearing
Southside Community Plan application
Minor Regional Plan Amendment and Specific Plan narrative
Submittal Letter from Planning Director
Site and Area Analysis
Public Participation Plan and Summary
Public comments received during the 60 day public review
If Not Why Not Comment Evaluation
Public comment received since July 7
Res. 2020-51 - RP Amendment
Resolution 2020-51: Exhibits 2 and 3
Res. 2020-52 - Southside Plan
Exhibit 1: Southside Community Specific Plan, Volume 1: Goals, Policies and Strategies
Exhibit 1: Southside Community Specific Plan, Volume 2: Concept Plan
Exhibit 2: Chapter XVI: Plan Amendments


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