Here’s a brief update on the zoning code efforts that Stand Up for Flagstaff is paying attention to:
Zoning Map Amendments
City Council passed several zoning map amendments in 2017. The most important of these was removing the Commercial Block Building type from T4 existing neighborhoods. This corrects an ambiguity that allowed the large and incompatible Hub building to be built on Mike’s Pike and Phoenix Ave. Stand Up argued first for this interpretation, and then for clarification for several years, and is gratified to see this important amendment passed unanimously by council.
This amendment was an important step in preventing oversized buildings in Flagstaff’s historic neighborhoods. Other incompatible building types also need to also be removed from certain zones—the Apartment Building at max 32 units (different from the smaller Apartment House at max 12 units) from existing T4, and the Stacked Triplex from Existing T3. These building types have already or have the potential to be destructive to neighborhood character and viability, and Stand Up will continue to advocate for these changes.
Transect Zone Remapping/Recalibration
The need to revisit the Transect Zone map has been discussed and is moving onto the agenda of important planning tasks to accomplish. Stand Up supports this effort and recommends that citizens be meaningly engaged in this process, much as they were when the original Transect Zones were mapped.
Design Guidelines and Design Review
City staff is proposing to review and rewrite the Flagstaff’s design guidelines. Stand Up supports this effort, and further recommends that a citizen design review commission, with members from design and history professions, be created. Stand Up is also recommending creation of a citizen Design Review Commission. Having design review embedded within the planning department, as it is now, has resulted in decisions that minimized its importance, lacked effective community input and fostered the appearance of a closed system. Performing design review at the commission level is a proven and well-accepted method of ensuring compatibility, which is used nationwide by cities that prioritize community character, and in most major Arizona cities. Flagstaff should do the same.