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Minutes of the workshop session held August 16, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.


Members Present       

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                             Betty Lynch

                                                                                                Albert Carroll, Jr.

                                                                                                Jason Earp

                                                                                                Marie Lopez-Rogers

                                                                                                Raymond Shuey

                                                                                                Chuck Wolf


ABSENT/EXCUSED                                                             None



Jeff Fairman, Economic Development Director

Linda Farris, City Clerk


Mayor Drake called the meeting to order.


Commercial Infill/Incentive Plan


Jeff Fairman explained they are looking at changing the automatic infill portion of the Commercial Incentive Program.  He stated the location of the business, type of use, whether it is a new or existing use, and whether it is an expansion of an existing use are all taken into consideration when determining whether a business qualifies for an incentive.  He stated the commercial infill incentives include a 50 percent rebate of building permit fees, a 50 percent rebate of development fees and a 50 percent rebate of sales taxes for qualifying new and expanding businesses.  He said there are four commercial districts, each having distinctly different opportunities and challenges.  He said the Historic Light Industrial District, which includes Eliseo Felix Way and parts of Main Street, has limited land available for future development and eligible users may not be appropriate or realistic.  He stated the Cashion Multi-Cultural District, which includes commercial property on the south side of MC 85 between 109th and 113th Avenues, has extremely limited uses, with limited property available for new construction or expansion of existing businesses.  He said the Gateway Avondale District, which includes parts of Van Buren Road, Dysart Road, and Central Avenue, is largely developed and is expected to improve without the need for special incentives.  He explained the Old Town Commercial District has seen reasonable success and the city has made a significant investment in planning, roadway improvements and landscaping in the district.  Mr. Fairman recommended a five step approach, with the first step being that they separate the residential and commercial components of the existing ordinance.  He said the second step will be to eliminate the Cashion Multicultural Development District, Gateway Avondale and Historic Light Industrial District from the Automatic Infill Incentive Program.  He stated the third step will be to expand the existing Old Town District to include Western Avenue from Dysart Road west to the city limits and Central Avenue north of Western Avenue to Brinker Road.  He said, as the next step, staff will make recommendations to Council regarding a comprehensive Old Town redevelopment program, including appropriate levels and types of incentives, developing a marketing plan, and reviewing existing planning and design documents.  He said the final step will be to implement the program and track its performance.  He stated other alternatives include: 1) leaving the program as it currently exists; 2) expanding the existing program by reviewing, modifying and refining each district on a case-by-case basis; or 3) eliminating the commercial automatic infill incentive program altogether.


Councilman Carroll asked if incentives will still be offered to businesses coming into the districts that are recommended for the automatic infill incentive program.  Mr. Fairman stated eliminating the automatic incentive program will free the Council to look at a different set of customized incentives for a particular type of use.


Councilman Carroll asked what is being done about the eyesores currently on Main Street.  Mr. Fairman agreed a number of issues on MC85 need to be addressed.  He said the area is too important and far reaching for an automatic infill incentive program to address.  He suggested MC85 deserves a plan of its own that creates a better vision for the road, stating it will likely include roadway improvements, landscape improvements, and a new set of rules under which the area will operate.  He expressed concern the automatic infill incentive program will act as a disincentive by perpetuating uses and not taking a holistic view of the roadway.


Council Member Shuey stated he supports staff’s recommendation, expressing his opinion any plan for MC 85 should also include the City of Goodyear.  Mr. Fairman noted the City of Goodyear recently established a redevelopment program and is concerned about MC85.


Council Member Wolf said the steps the city has taken over the past five years have greatly enhanced the city’s marketability.  He said the investment the city has made in Western Avenue is far greater than any incentive that could be offered to a single property owner.  He said he also likes the idea of consolidating their focus to areas where they can have a high impact.  He questioned whether the city should offer automatic incentives at all, stating he believes it is far more effective to work with individual developers to create unique solutions.


Council Member Lopez-Rogers said she supports staff’s recommendation and appreciates the plan’s vision.


Council Member Shuey moved to support staff’s recommendation.  Council Member Wolf seconded the motion. 


Motion carried unanimously.





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


Meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.




                                                                                                                        Mayor Drake



            Linda M. Farris, CMC

            City Clerk




I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the workshop session of the City Council of the City of Avondale held on the 16th day of August, 2004.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.



                                    City Clerk