Tag Archives: dave coble

Planning and Zoning

Planning & Zoning: April 2014

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

Planning and Zoning

Planning & Zoning: November 2013

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 fbeltran@adot.gov.

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 katie.wilken@goodyearaz.gov, or at (623) 932-3005.

Pinal County
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 jfostino@avondale.org.

The P&Z column is compiled by Dave Coble and George Cannataro with Coe & Van Loo Consultants, cvlci.com