City of Scottsdale
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has proposed the widening of the Loop 101 Freeway from the Loop 202 to Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale. ADOT has hosted public meetings inviting interested parties to learn the details of this project. Construction for the freeway widening is expected to begin in late summer of 2014. Additional information is available by contacting Felicia Beltran with ADOT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Surprise
In November, Surprise residents will be asked to approve a new general plan that, if the plan succeeds with the vote, will give the city a comprehensive guide for future residential and business development, transportation needs and parks & recreational improvements. The City’s General Plan 2035 is the result of extensive public outreach and puts a greater emphasis on sustainable living that would include public transportation and public street links throughout the city, along with bicycle and pedestrian paths with connections between neighborhoods. A City Council appointed citizens committee began a redo of the proposed plan in May 2012 with public meetings, surveys and field visits to local gathering spots to seek resident input. The new general plan also advocates creating a master plan to encourage the development of public art and cultural events, facilities and districts within the city and emphasizes the need for sustainable development. For more information on the contents of the plan, visit surpriseaz.gov/generalplan.
City of Goodyear
The City of Goodyear has been working on its general plan update. Drafts of portions of the plan were sent out to a citizen committee and to other interested parties for review earlier this year. Additional chapters of the plan have been posted on goodyearconnects.com for review by the general public. In addition, various public meetings have been scheduled throughout the year. The complete draft is to be presented to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council for discussion at a joint work session in October. The public is also invited to send comments on the plan. To contribute comments or obtain additional information, contact Katie Wilken at email@example.com, or at (623) 932-3005.
In an effort to attract businesses, new development and jobs to Pinal County, the Development Services Department is proposing ways for easing the development review process. To accomplish this goal, the county has initiated a program to reduce the time it takes for permit approvals. This program includes changes in the concept review process and the addition of a Pre-Application Meeting, which will allow staff to review the essence of a development proposal before the formal application. The county claims these changes will save the applicant time and costs. In addition to these changes, the county also proposes changes to the rezoning and to the PAD process that will reduce the time needed for that process from the existing 15 weeks to a proposed 11 to 13 weeks. Processing changes include the dividing of PAD/rezone applications into required documents and background documents. The required documents would be specifically listed with approvals based solely on the information required on the list. Background documents would be intended as informational only and would not be a part of approvals. These changes are intended to shorten review times. A board of supervisors meeting has been scheduled to review and approve these changes. For additional information, contact the Pinal County Department of Planning and Development at (520) 866-6442.
City of Flagstaff
In July, the City of Flagstaff City Council agreed, in principal, to give applicants seeking a zoning change the option to submit a so-called “concept-zoning plan” in an effort to expedite rezoning requests and to make it less of a financial burden for the applicant. The city currently requires, as do most cities, a detailed site plan and a number of engineering studies, such as a traffic study, a drainage study and water and sewer studies, before considering a change to an existing zoning district designation. The concept-zoning plan would permit approval of the requested change in zoning without a detailed site plan or the studies. The site plan and the studies would still be required, but only after the request was approved. However, in recent meetings, some commissioners and citizens expressed non-support of this proposed amendment. The opposition to the amendment suggests that it could lead to “speculative” zoning changes, which in turn could lead to higher land costs and, eventually, to higher housing cost.
City of Avondale
Avondale has initiated comprehensive text amendments to its zoning ordinance. Drafted amendments to the existing ordinance include a new suburban residential zoning district; temporary sign amendments; a new historic Avondale infill overlay district; and landscaping requirement changes. These staff-initiated text amendments take place periodically to ensure the city stays progressive and responds to the development community’s needs and industry standards and changes. Scheduled public meetings have been held to give residents, business owners and other interested parties the opportunity to participate and provide feedback on the proposed text amendments. For further information, please contact Jennifer Fostino with the Avondale Planning Division at (623) 333-4022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The P&Z column is compiled by Dave Coble and George Cannataro with Coe & Van Loo Consultants, cvlci.com