City of Scottsdale
The City of Scottsdale is preparing a zoning ordinance text amendment and has invited the community for review and comments. Amendments to the text are proposed to update definitions and regulatory language related to terms used to describe a responsible party such as property owner, applicant and other related terms. General cleanup revisions are also proposed to correct section references, eliminate duplication of requirements and improve the overall consistency of the ordinance. The ultimate objectives of this proposal are to add consistency, improve the usefulness of the ordinance and to provide clarity in the language of the ordinance. One meeting, with the public invited, has already occurred in January but others are to be scheduled.
Town of Gilbert
As demand for multi-family housing continues to increase within the Town of Gilbert, town leaders are proposing to tighten restrictions for developers that are considering building apartment complexes in commercially zoned areas. These new restrictions would add a number of conditions that a potential apartment developer would have to meet to get an apartment complex approved in regional commercial zoning. Those conditions would include a requirement to provide a mixture of land uses, such as office or retail commercial, on the proposed apartment parcel or on an adjacent parcel; a requirement that the project be compact or dense by sharing parking with adjacent development; a requirement for pedestrian-orientation or to have pedestrian accessibility, convenience and attractiveness; a requirement to address local transit system connections with facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobile drivers; and a requirement to incorporate attractive public spaces that might include public art and serve as public gathering places. The objective of these newly proposed regulations is to give the town council and the planning commission more flexibility in reviewing any proposed apartment complexes and allowing them the option of rejecting proposed plans if they don’t meet specific new requirements. The proposed new regulations went before the planning commission in January, and members were generally favorable to the new standards but suggested a need for some revisions. The commission will review the standards in a study session and eventually vote on a recommendation, after which the proposal will go to town council for approval or rejection.
City of Maricopa
Recently, the Maricopa City Council approved the annexation of approximately 850 acres of land owned by a partnership known as Anderson Russell LLC. The property is located south of the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and straddles both sides of Anderson Road while extending southward to the Teel Road alignment. This annexation is significant in that it now allows the city the capability to expand to the south by annexation. City officials are already contemplating the annexation of additional properties adjacent to the Anderson Russell property. A general plan amendment has also been approved, changing the property to a master-planned community. Although a portion of the newly annexed property was within the City of Casa Grande’s planning area, an agreement exists between the two municipalities that allow that private landowners within unincorporated areas of the county to be able to choose which city they wish to be annexed regardless of which city’s planning area they are located in.
City of Peoria
The City of Peoria has recently announced the initiation of a self-certification pilot program. Qualified applicants to the program must be active Arizona licensed design professionals who have attended the self-certification training offered by the City of Phoenix (phoenix.gov/pdd/topics/scp.html), and have successfully obtained a Building Plans Examiner Certificate from the International Code Council. Through this program, eligible building permits can be issued in as little as three business days. This self-certification program allows qualified professionals to quickly bypass the plan review and examination process by self-certifying a projects compliance with building codes, standards and ordinances. However, the pilot program does not include zoning clearances, parking, signs, fire, environmental services, landscaping, grading, industrial/utilities, floodplain or other land development codes. The program was initiated this past January. To learn more of the program’s details, visit peoriaaz.gov/selfcert.
City of Buckeye
As reported in the September/October 2013 edition of AZRE, the “Town” of Buckeye is officially now the “City” of Buckeye. In January, the transition was celebrated by more than 200 citizens and city officials as the “CITY” portion of the new City Hall sign was unveiled in downtown Buckeye. The city’s Mayor Jackie Meck thanked the generations of the community, as well as previous town officials whose work would be continued by future city leaders. Meck stated that the city was no longer in the shadows and in fact was working to create shadows of its own.
The P&Z column is compiled by Dave Coble and George Cannataro with Coe & Van Loo Consultants, cvlci.com