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Minutes of the work session held October 14, 2002 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers

 

Members Present                                 

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                                         Marie Lopez Rogers

                                                                                                            Peggy Jones

                                                                                                            Stephanie Karlin

                                                                                                            Betty Lynch

                                                                                                            Albert Carroll, Jr.

                                                                                                           

ALSO PRESENT                                           

Todd Hileman, City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

 

Absent/excused

Raymond Shuey

 

2)                  ENGINEERING GUIDELINES – RESIDENTIAL STREETS

 

Todd Hileman, City Manager, stated that a couple of months ago, there was a discussion about changing the speed limit to 25 mph on residential collector streets.  He stated that another discussion followed about the actual construction of the streets and whether narrower streets should be designed to encourage the 25 mph speed limit.  He asked Mr. Fitzhugh to address this item.

 

David Fitzhugh, Assistant City Manager, reviewed the proposed standards.  He stated that physical characteristics controlled the speed limit on a street.  He stated that it was the Council’s desire to have lower speeds on streets due to the proximity of schools, pedestrian traffic and the general residential nature of the neighborhood.  He stated that currently, the streets were designed for 35 mph.  He stated that the existing standard was a 38 foot wide street with one lane in each direction and a turn lane in each direction.  He stated that there was an 8 foot public utility easement and a 13.5 foot landscaped sidewalk area with a meandering sidewalk.  He stated that there was 5.5 feet for a curb, gutter and bike lane.  He stated that there was a 14 foot driving lane, a 14 foot turning lane and the same thing on the other side.  He stated that there was nothing wrong with the design and it served the purpose and comfort of having people drive 35 mph on it.  He stated that the streets were usually one mile or less in length and did not interconnect neighborhoods.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that staff proposed to base the design on a 25 mph posted speed limit and reduce the street width to 40 feet.   He stated that there would be one lane in each direction, turn lanes only at intersections with major streets or arterials and the horizontal curves would be shortened.  He stated that there would still be a 6 foot meandering sidewalk and the 80 feet of right of way would be maintained.  He stated that would give an additional 14 feet of landscaping within the street corridor.  He stated that the street would be reduced by 18 feet.  He stated that other neighborhoods had been successful with those types of streets.  He stated that he needed input from the Council and to discuss the issue with the Home Builder’s Association.  He stated that if the Council agreed with the proposed design, he would incorporate it into the design guideline updates. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that staff was currently going through all of the engineering design guidelines and the new street design would be inserted as a new cross section.  He stated that staff would bring that before the Council in three to four months.  He stated that there may be a need, depending on the type of subdivision, to have the current cross section.  He stated that the size of the area and traffic volumes may cause a need for that.  He stated that staff would still maintain the existing cross section in the design guidelines when the traffic reports indicated that more traffic needed to be moved.  He stated that Dean Svoboda, Director of Planning and Building Services, had some discussions with home builders and was trying to encourage them to not locate schools on the main collectors for residential areas.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he would rather give the extra 14 feet back to the builder and asked if there was 14 feet on each side.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that there was 7 feet on each side for a total of 14 feet.

 

Mayor Drake stated that the home builder would say that they were being made to put on 14 more feet of landscaping and were not getting credit for that for open space.  He stated that extra area might help the home builder with their lot sizes or help build a park.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that he would recommend a 70 foot right of way and giving 10 feet back to the builder.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he would be in favor of that.  He stated that 10 times 5,000 would give the home builder  an acre of land that they could possibly make $400,000 or $600,000 on.  He stated that he would hate to see extra landscaping and especially with water being scarce.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he had similar thoughts and instead of using the extra feet for landscaping, it should be used for lengthening the lots.  He stated that would enable the houses to be moved forward and provide larger backyards for children to play.  He stated that it would save in landscaping costs and water conservation.  He stated that the public utility easements would still be maintained.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that she disagreed.   She asked if the reduction would allow for more density of the homes because that was one of the things that the City had not been encouraging.  She stated that putting in more landscaping and open space area was beneficial to the entire community.  She stated that giving the extra feet back to the home builders would only benefit them for a couple of homes.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Mr. Fitzhugh would talk to the Home Builder’s Association and get back to the Council.  He stated that the Council Member Karlin’s point was valid.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that Jerry Levitt, Home Builder’s Association, suggested narrowing the street to 70 feet instead of keeping the 80 feet.

 

Council Member Jones stated that if the City was going to impose a 25 mph speed limit, the street design needed to encourage that as well.  She stated that she was willing to split the difference with the homeowners’ association.  She stated that the bike lane was proposed to be reduced by one inch and it was too narrow to begin with.  She stated that more space should be given for that.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he agreed that schools should not be built on main thoroughfares.  He stated that residential streets should have posted speed limits of 25 mph.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the City, the builder and the school district all had to agree to that.  He stated that putting a school on a local street instead of a collector would draw complaints from neighbors.

 

Mayor Drake stated that putting a school on a street other than a collector would cause more problems.

 

Council Member Lynch entered the meeting at this time.

 

Mayor Drake briefed Council Member Lynch on what had been discussed so far and how Mr. Fitzhugh would come back before the Council in three to four months with a recommendation.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that when the item was first discussed, there was an idea to make the landscaping deeper to maintain the same street scape effect.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that he proposed to maintain the same, 80 foot, right of way width and narrow the street from 58 feet to 40 feet.  He stated that would provide an additional 18 feet of additional landscaping.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if all of the turn lanes would be eliminated.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that would depend on the type of intersection.  He stated that some areas would be flared out to have turning lanes and some areas would be wider, based on a traffic study.

 

Council Member Lynch asked how the turn lane would be used near a walking school.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that could be part of an analysis.  He stated that the example he had was of a school where buses were used.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that special consideration needed to be given to what was going into the development near that collector street.

 

3)                  GENERAL PLAN STATUS

 

Todd Hileman, City Manager, stated that on September 10th, the Avondale voters approved the proposed general plan.  He stated that staff would provide an overview of the overall process and answer questions regarding the Council’s role with regard to the process for any general plan amendments.

 

Dean Svoboda, Director of Planning and Building Services, stated that the plan was adopted in June, ratified by the voters by 81% and was in effect.  He stated that the general plan met all of the requirements of Growing Smarter Plus and could remain in effect for up to 10 years from the date of adoption.  He stated that before that time, the Council would need to adopt a new general plan or to readopt the plan and have it ratified by the voters.  He stated that amendments to the plan did not require voter ratification and there was no limit to the amendments that could be made.  He stated that major and minor amendments could be made.  He stated that major amendments could only be considered once per year and required 2/3 majority vote by the Council.  He stated that applications for major amendments would need to be made in January each year while minor amendments could be filed and heard anytime throughout the year.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that the City was required by state law that any rezoning conform with the general plan.  He stated that the use and intensity ranges needed to match the goals and objectives in the land use map.  He stated that the capital improvement plan needed to be reviewed on an annual basis for conformance with the general plan and note anything not consistent for the record.  He stated that staff would prepare a status report once per year to identify what had taken place to date. 

 

Council Member Lynch asked if the Council could do updates during the 10 year period so that items did not pile up at the end.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that they could. 

 

Council Member Lynch asked if citizens, staff or the Council needed to make a change that became a major change if that could happen without a public vote.  She asked how that process would take place.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated the Council could do that through the normal process.  He stated that could be handled as a major amendment on an annual basis.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if all of the minor changes could be done instead of a major change.

 

David Fitzhugh, Assistant City Manager, stated that according to estabished criteria some would automatically make it as a major amendment.  He stated that if a minor amendment became major, it would have to be held back until the following year.

 

Mayor Drake asked if staff would be directing the Council on that.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that they would.  He stated that staff would try to make sure that the development community and property owners understood that and would start to collect all of the major amendments mid-year to be ready to be filed in January.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if staff recommended that the calendar year be used instead of the fiscal year.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that he would.  He stated that the development community worked on the calendar year because of tax reasons.

 

4)                  ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT – CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT

 

Dean Svoboda, Director of Planning and Building Services, stated that the City Council started discussing the issue in February.  He stated that a presentation was given to the Planning and Zoning Commission in June and some concerns were expressed.  He stated that a joint work session was held September 7th and staff was directed to redraft the text amendment and resolve some of the issues.  He stated that there was an issue of approval authority and it was resolved at the work session that the Commission would continue to be the primary approval authority.  He stated that there needed to be a process where those approvals could be referred to the City Council.  He stated that brought up the issue of a rehearing versus an appeal and the legal issues associated. 

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that staff drafted some language that the Commission would continue to approve conditional use permits.  He stated that the he and the city attorney were trying to work on some language that would refer to a rehearing rather than an appeal.  He stated that the hearing would void the Commission action and the process would be restarted for the Council.  He stated that the Council would have the benefit of the record from the Planning and Zoning Commission but would not be bound by it.  He stated that after the Council made a final decision, any appeals would go to the court.  He stated that staff was clarifying the findings and making minor refinings to the ordinance related to expiration of conditional use permits and clean up language.  He stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission would be briefed on the information at their next meeting.  He stated that when the language was finalized, it would go to the Commission hearing and before the Council.

 

Council Member Jones stated that there was wording which said, “should a rehearing request be accepted.”  She asked who determined whether that would be accepted or not.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that there would be some criteria for acceptance.  He stated that one of those criteria would be who had the right, under the ordinance, to make a request for a rehearing.  He stated that there might also be some other types of submittal requirements that need to be met that would be made very clear in the ordinance.

 

Council Member Jones asked if any resident who did not like the decision could ask for a rehearing.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that there was some thought that there should be some limit on that.  He stated that needed to be discussed further.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she liked the term, “appeal,” rather than, “rehearing”.

 

Council Member Lynch asked about other businesses that did not like the decision or if there were not residents within that boundary.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that the whole intent of the conditional use permit was to judge the impact on nearby property owners and the community as a whole.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she was talking about a business owner within the same industrial park.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that they would have the same rights as any other property owner.

 

Council Member Lynch asked how residents farther than 500 feet would be treated.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that the boundaries could be set to be at-large, within a geographic area or subject to certain performance criteria. 

 

Council Member Jones stated that a conditional use permit was approved on Dysart for a nursing home and a drug rehab center was being put in there.  She asked if applicants defined what the intended business was to be.

 

Mr. Svoboda stated that it was possible to have a conditional use permit approved in a generic fashion but normally, when working with someone, a specific business or franchise was involved.  He stated that the difficulty was that when looking at a conditional use permit, the type or category of use was being looked at and not the specific business itself.  He stated that a fast food restaurant with a drive-thru all had similar characteristics.  He stated that it was impossible to differentiate from a land use standpoint.  He stated that if a conditional use permit was approved where the property owner said it would be a McDonald’s, as long as the operation and site plan was within the land use intensity categories, McDonald’s could sell the property and it could become a Burger King.  He stated that the stretch between a nursing, drug rehab center and apartment complex might be broader.  He stated that he might be intrigued in looking into that situation further.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she thought that was something that the City needed to be very diligent about.

 

5)                  GOVERNMENT CENTER MONUMENT ENTRY SIGN

 

Jeff Fairman, Economic Development Director, stated that staff tried to come up with a sign package that would resonate throughout the community and be familiar with many of the residents.  He stated that a sign package was created several years ago by JRC Design and was the basis of the sign created for Western Avenue modernized and given some specific design elements unique to the area. 

 

Mr. Fairman stated that he had three options to present.  He stated that the first option was a sign that would represent the river and would read, “Avondale Civic Center.”  He stated that there would be six signs and two at each entrance.  He stated that there was a relief on the sign to mimic the Estrella Mountains.  He stated that the sign would be 8 feet in height.  He stated that the three options had different landscaping elements.  He stated that the issue that needed to be discussed, was what the area would be called.  He stated that “Avondale Civic Center” was proposed and open for discussion.

 

Dean Svoboda, Director of Planning and Building Services, stated that there would be variations in landscaping around the sign.  He stated that the intent was to provide broad, conceptual categories to be further refined.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that she liked Option No. 3 quite a bit and especially having blue tile for the river.

 

Council Member Jones stated that Option No. 3 was similar to the design she had seen earlier.  She asked if it could legally be used.

 

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney, stated that he would have to look at the agreement regarding the similarity to the previous design.  He stated that most of the architectural drawings became the City’s property once completed.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she liked Options 1 and 3 very much.  She stated that there were glass and lighting features built in to the original design she had seen.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers stated that she liked Option No. 3.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he did not like Options 1 and 3 because they were not distinct.  He stated that the palm trees would help the sign stand out.  He stated that he did not like having the words, “civic center,” in the name.  He stated that the name should tie the City and the county together.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that the words, “government” and “commerce center,” did not fit on the sign unless it was made extremely large.  He stated that the words, “civic center,” would cover the City and the county.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he wanted more choices.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that the sign could read “Avondale Government Center” with the word “Government” being smaller in the middle.

 

Council Member Karlin suggested that the sign read, “Avondale Civic Complex” to encompass all of the functions.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that staff came up with the word “civic” because it was the only word that truly encompassed government, recreation, amphitheater, public areas and helped tie in the government center with the private sector.  He stated that “Avondale Center” was discussed but lost the government side of the discussion.

 

Council and Staff continued to discuss the wording for the signs.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she wanted to encourage staff to obtain the original renderings because the materials that were involved were unique to the City of Avondale.  She stated that she was concerned about the materials in the sign. 

 

Mayor Drake stated that he would hate to see a decision get made without Council Member Shuey being present.  He stated that everyone seemed to like the monument but that there were issues with the landscaping and the name.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she was comfortable with the name on the sign

 

Mayor Drake stated that he did not have a problem with the name either.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that Options 2 and 3 could be brought back.

 

Mayor Drake stated that Option No. 2 looked very clean and he liked that look as well.  He stated that he would not mind if staff simply made the decision.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that the Council should make the decision.

 

Mayor Drake stated that Council Member Shuey needed to be present so that all were in unison of the decision.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that it sounded like there was favor for, “Avondale Civic Center” and the monument sign.  He stated that Option No. 3 would be cleaned up to look less cluttered.  He stated that both would be brought back the next week.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council, Council Member Karlin moved to adjourn.  Council Member Lynch seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                     Mayor Drake

 

                                                           

            Linda M. Farris, CMC

                     City Clerk

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the work session of the City Council of the City of Avondale held on the 14th day of October, 2002.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.

 

 

                                                           

                     City Clerk