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Thread: Special zoning districts

  1. #1
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    Special zoning districts

    Our City is currently designing special districts for various areas of our City.

    I am concerned with the process being used to set up the districts and wondered what others thought.

    The districts being devised will require a General Plan Amendment as they are not in conformance with the land use element as well as many other factors within the City GP. Our development code states any application must be in conformance with the GP to even be presented.

    I brought this to the attention of our City Attorney and he addressed the State Statutes but not the Development Code. It is his opinion that the District can be approved with a delayed implementation date and if the GP Amendment fails, the district would be null and void.

    Any ideas or comments??

    Thanks,

    Lotus

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    The entire process seems to be backward and an invitation to extra work, confusion and even hard feelings. We have way too much confusion everywhere as it is. Why make more?

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    In my view, the General Plan amendment must go first. How do you make a finding of consistency with the new zoning if it's inconsistent with the Plan? We've had a similar discussion in another thread, with varying views, but I'm to lazy to conduct a search.

    But then, I'm PWI, so I could be wrong.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

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    Hi Richi & Richmond Lake,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I haven't found anyone who has heard of handling it in this fashion, except one County who said it was done in error and was rectified asap. I agree that this just creates extra work, confusion and sets the stage for negative public perception as well as a feeling that any GP amendment presented due to the district is a slam dunk!

    My problem exactly RichmondLake, I don't see how it can even be considered due to the numerous inconsistencies with the GP.This goes against the Growing Smarter Legislation as well as our Development Code. The first District being reviewed deals with a very controversial area of our City and in addition will set a precedent for the additional districts that are in the works.

    Not really sure where to go if the City Attorney, Staff and some members of the City Council don't see it as a problem. Besides a private attorney is there any entity out there that can review this outside of the City that would carry any weight and/or authority?


    PS I will search around for the thread you mentioned, thanks.
    Last edited by Lotus; 24 Mar 2008 at 2:21 AM. Reason: ps

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Not sure how AZ is set up, but perhaps a regional planning council (or commission) and maybe you could get a letter or memo from a university planning school. Unless, of course, something from "those eggheads" would hurt as much as help.

  6. #6
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    I sent out an email sometime ago to other City and County planning agencies and of course no one felt this was the way to go; so have those, I didn't think of contacting the Arizona Planning Commission, will do that today. Thanks!

    I think I will pass on the University planners. Based on past experience that resource can be a double edge sword.

    Thanks Again for your suggestion.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    I would urge caution in setting up Special Use zoning districts. It may be used as a way to circumvent existing requirements.

    We created a Special Use district for an existing airport in our city limits - because it has its own set of unique restrictions.

    We also created a Special Use district for a retirement village, hospice center, assisted living, independent living, chapel, and related support activities, because it was a large tract (1/4 Section) under sole ownership and control of a church that had presented a master plan as condition for creation of the Special Use.

    Those are our only two Special Use districts, and no others are anticipated.

    We approved revision of the Land Use Plan at the same session.

  8. #8
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    Hi Streck, thanks for the comments.

    As noted above the area currently being reviewed is very sensitive to the Community as a whole.

    The District would allow for major changes within the area; if approved, it would change the land use from 100% commercial to mixed use. As proposed, a high density (max of about 90%) residential use would be allowed, commercial would be required on the bottom floor. It would allow for three times the current height in the area. There are some new considerations such as in lieu of parking (required developer buyout), view corridors due to the additional height and other elements. The area does need some changes as development has stagnated but I have many other concerns. Residential places a high use on services and the reduction of Commercial overall would have a long term impact to City revenues. It seems some have forgotten the true definition of PLANNING and have focused on short term affects. Hopefully I can bring up some good points at the next meeting so the true future implications are at least discussed. In the past the attitude seems to have been, change it if it doesn't work, but with prop 207, that concept could now come with a high price!

    I am trying to present a balance for this area that is in the best interests of the City and would be acceptable to the majority of developers and public, without creating a future nightmare. Guess I am a dreamer, lol. From my perspective some seem to be more interested in pacifying the developer, so something gets built, as something is better then nothing. Not a good way to plan, imo.

    I did suggest presenting the GP Amendment simultaneously with the District but have not received a response as of today. We have a meeting scheduled for this week concerning the district so looks like the decision is currently to move forward.

    How are your districts working out?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    The Special Use districts have worked out fine so far. They are about15 years old now.

    The Airport Special Use was for a small general aviation use with no "commercial" ticketed aircraft. We inherited it as Army Air Corp surplus. There are now 81 aircraft based there including one corporate jet. The sole runway is only 4,444 feet long, so air traffic is light.

    Some non-airport development has occurred on the airport property (now under city ownership) - a fire station, and a community center - both managed by the city.

    The Retirement Center Special Use has worked out fine as it has expanded capacity within its property limits. The church has followed through on its master plan for growth. It has been a very good community citizen, and has helped our city qualify as a Retirement Community in the state.

    No regrets, so far.

  10. #10
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    Good to hear Streck, it is always nice to see a plan come together and work out like one thinks it will!! After 15 years I would think you can safely say it is a good district and worked out as intended.....

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