High density housing in Flagstaff
More housing is needed in Flagstaff, especially affordable housing, for students and non-students. Increasing densities is a way of meeting that need. The regional plan calls for increasing density, but also calls for protecting community character. So Flagstaff is tackling the question of how housing density can increase in the old town neighborhoods and still retain character.
The city is currently working on writing a specific plan, which would be adopted as regulatory by council, that specifically addresses high occupancy housing, or HOH. You can follow their progress and comment through the Flagstaff HOH webpage.
Stand Up for Flagstaff's position is that large, high-occupancy projects do not belong in old town neighborhoods. They would dwarf existing buildings that have established neighborhood character, and disrupt existing neighborhood land use patterns. There are other types of smaller high density building forms that already exist in these neighborhoods, fit their character, and do not disrupt their land use patterns. Apartment houses 12 units max, courtyard apartments, duplexes and triplexes, and townhomes—all accommodate higher density living without erasing neighborhood character. The photos, right, show such high density housing buildings that exist in old town Flagstaff neighborhoods. Together with single family homes and cottages, they establish the scale of neighborhood forms. See this article for a discussion of how to get more of these "missing middle" type housing types in neighborhoods.
Very large HOH projects like the Hub, the Standard, the Grove, the Lofts and so on are designed as off-campus private dormitories. Their units have up to 5 bedrooms and often rent by the bed rather than by the unit. Stand Up for Flagstaff's position is that projects designed in this way should require conditional use permits for density, size and by-the-bed rents, and should be placed outside of existing, established neighborhoods.