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Minutes of the regular meeting of December 10, 2001 held at 7:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                 Marie Lopez Rogers

                                                                                    Peggy Jones

                                                                                    Raymond Shuey

                                                                                    Betty Lynch

                                                                                    Albert Carroll, Jr.

 

ALSO PRESENT

Scott Schrader, City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

 

ABSENT/EXCUSED

Stephanie Karlin

 

STATEMENT BY THE CITY CLERK

Linda Farris, City Clerk read the statement regarding public appearances.

 

It is the policy of the Mayor and Council not to comment on items brought forth under Unscheduled Public Appearance.  However, staff can be directed to report back to the Council at a future date or to schedule items raised for a future Council agenda. 

 

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT

None

 

RECOGNITION ITEMS

None.

 

UNSCHEDULED PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Sharolyn Holman thanked the Council for allowing her to speak.  She said she wanted to come to Council before the end of the year to say thanks to them for their support of Billy Moore Days.  She noted that many more people came to enjoy the event this year, the revenue was higher and plans are going forward for 2002.  She said some new ideas have come forward which they plan to include for next year. 

 

She said that she hoped the Council made it to the carnival grounds and noted that the Purina Cat Chow people were thrilled to join the event this year and the exciting part of that addition was that they were invited to the State Fair but chose to stay with a smaller community event.  She indicated that their feedback was that the people, the committee and the City were great and they were very pleased.  She said that was high praise for our community event. 

 

Ms. Holman noted that Council was in the parade and saw the number of people that were there.  She said thank you to Linda Farris, Jeff Ross, Carlos Cabrerra, Paul Adams, and the Police Department.  She said they have amazing folks on their staff that worked so hard and so well that she has to say good job and how much she appreciates their partnership.

 

 She then encouraged the Council to participate in another event, which is a Ginger Bread Contest.  She said the submissions have been delightful and the town of Buckeye won first place.  She said they are on display in the Merchant Windows on Western Avenue and the awards will be given out at the tree lighting ceremony this Saturday night.  She thanked the Council again for being a partner with the West Valley Chamber of Commerce.

 

Mayor Drake said that if it were not for Sharolyn it would not have been a success and thanked her for her efforts.

 

PUBLIC HEARING – GENERAL PLAN

Mr. Schrader said that they were starting the formal Public Hearing process before City Council with regards to the update to the City’s General Plan and updates to three Specific Area Plans.  He said that it has been a very lengthy process that has been followed to update all of these plans but the length was well worth it in terms of trying to maximize the amount of public input.  He noted that the public involvement included the formation of a Public Advisory Committee that met on six different occasions to provide input as to how the City’s General Plan and the Specific Area Plans should be updated.  Mr. Schrader said that there was also technical input provided through the Technical Advisory Committee throughout the process.  He indicated that there were four different Town Hall meetings that were held to gain further citizen input.  He said that there has been a good amount of citizen input up to this point and two Public Hearings were held before the Planning and Zoning Commission in the month of November of which Council has the minutes of that which can give them a good flavor for the discussion that took place. 

 

Mr. Schrader indicated that at the Commission level there was not many changes recommended to the Plans and submitted to them but one exception to that dealt with the Lakin Property and their minutes captured some of that discussion.  He noted that representatives from the Lakin Property are present to further discuss their thoughts on the best potential future use for their property as we go through the public hearing process before Council. 

 

Mr. Schrader indicated that staff has allocated time on four dates for Council to consider this subject matter starting tonight with meetings being advertised for December 13, December 18 and maybe January 7th which gives staff enough time to prepare for an election that must be held for the citizens to ratify the General Plan.  He said that prior to that it would require approval of 2/3 of the City Council. 

 

Mr. Schrader said that this evening they are looking to focus on an overview of the General Plan document, as it has been prepared through the process he had just described by focusing in on the key elements that are contained within the General Plan Document.  He said that he would call upon their consultants Cornoyer-Dedrick to lead them through an overview of the different plan documents and would open the meeting up for public input and Council input if time permits or reschedule that input for December 13th.

 

 Mr. Schrader noted that staff tried to provide Council with a copy of the plan as much in advance as they could and they got a copy of the Plan at the same time as the Planning and Zoning Commission did.  He said that staff did ask for comments if Council had any and have received some and recognize that vocal comments will be made during the course of the Public Hearing process starting this evening.  He then called upon Nathan Crane to introduce the City’s consultants and begin the presentation.

 

Mr. Crane introduced the City’s Consultants noting that they are now known as DFD and represented by individual staff members Leslie Dormfeld, principal; Don Cox mapping and analytical; and Michael LaBianca, technical.  He then turned the meeting over to them for their presentation.

 

Leslie Dormfeld thanked the Council and said what they are going to do is to go through the plan to try to give Council an overview and familiarize them with why the plan was done and what is in it and the process they used to get to where they are currently and then they will be happy to respond to any questions. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld reminded everyone in the room about what a General Plan does and does not do because one of the things that they noticed through public meetings is that a lot of people would bring up ideas and concepts that by law the plan really does not address and has not been given the authority to address.  She indicated that there was also a concern about the level of detail of a plan and what is shown in it because a lot of property owners were concerned about specific rezoning cases or existing zoning that they might have. 

 

She said that a general plan is exactly what it says because it is a very general document that contains policy guidance and action steps for a community to achieve a future that it desires.  Ms. Dormfeld indicated that it contains a vision which expresses the community’s intentions for it’s future and hopefully it will be used by a council as it makes decisions not only about land use but also transportation, open space, public services and facilities and housing and development and as a guide over the next ten years. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld noted that cities and towns over 2500 are required to have General Plans.  She then reminded those present about things that General Plans do not do.  She said that they are not rigid documents and the law allows the Plan to be amended every year in terms of a major amendment, which is defined by the community.  She noted that in addition to that small housekeeping things and minor amendments could happen any time through the year.  She said that council gets a chance annually to look at the plan and fine tune it and revise it so this is not the only time they will be coming back to the Plan and looking at it.  She indicated that it is not a Zoning Ordinance in that it does not deal with specific site plans or things that are done as part of zoning but is a general guide to the types of zoning a community might like to see.  She said that it is not a detailed policy for specific areas, not a Capital Improvement Plan, and it does not promote special interests since the purpose of the plan is to look at what the community values and provide a road map to get there.  She noted that it is not a day-to-day decision-making guide or a management plan but it is a broad policy document. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that in the City’s Specific Plan case they have used a common process that does not mean that what is in the plan is typical of other communities but the process is a fairly standard process.  She said that they had a public workshop to identify the vision for the community and they did extensive research and provided the Council with an existing conditions report that talked about where they are today and identified some of the challenges they are looking at in the next decade.  She indicated that they used community input obtained through the visioning meeting to establish goals, objectives and policies.  She said that what makes the City’s plan the plan of the community is what people in Avondale told them they wanted for the City and not something where they come in and said the City needs this or that but it is what people told them that they wanted. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that what they hope to do as consultants is to add some value to that in terms of ways to get it and provide some innovative approaches or enhance some of those ideas to move the City to the next step forward.  She noted that they prepared the Existing Conditions Report and presented that to the public at a workshop to make sure they did not miss any ideas or concepts and did get some good feedback. 

 

She indicated that they prepared some base maps and land use alternatives which were presented at a public meeting and received a lot of input.  Ms. Dormfeld said that they then prepared the plan text for review and comment which was reviewed twice by the Technical Advisory Committee and is also available for public review on their website.  She noted that the developed implementation strategies, which went out for a 60-day regional review period by not only adjacent communities, cities and towns but also to other regional entities, like SRP and school districts.  Ms. Dormfeld noted that members of PAC had been asked for their comments and several were included in the council packets.

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they had two planning Commission public hearings where they received good input and are now before City Council.  She said that if Council chooses to adopt the plan and prepare it for ratification it would be going to public vote in May of 2002 depending on their actions. 

 

She said that she wanted to talk a little bit about the public participation in the plan process because it is important not only to the City but also in terms of the state law.  She indicated that “Growing Smarter Plus” which is the law that the plan was prepared under mandates communities develop a public participation plan and that has been done and adopted as part of the planning process many months ago.  Ms. Dormfield said that what they did in that process was to try and involve as many people in the meetings as they possibly could.  She noted that they put reader boards out on the streets; PIR put out things in newsletters; and provided updates in them; some good press coverage was obtained and the Technical Advisory Committee spoke to those they were involved with as well.  She said that they had four public meetings that they put the word out to come to and those were very well attended. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they had about 50 people at the first meeting at Aqua Fria High School which is where they asked people to talk about their community’s past and their present and their future and was the meeting they used to develop a vision statement draft and ideas for goals in the plan. 

 

She said that the second public meeting they had on February 8th at Estrella Community College had well over 100 people in attendance which coincided with the stadium so many came that were interested in the stadium but when it became clear that they were not only talking about the stadium just about all of them stayed and talked about the plan.  She said that there was an interactive process where at that meeting they got a consensus from those 100 plus people on the vision statement and they also used that meeting to present the Existing Conditions Report to people who found that enjoyable because they really got to learn about their community. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the third public meeting they had at Westview High School was where they presented three land use alternatives and there were about 60 people in attendance.  She indicated that those in attendance were broken into four groups of about 10-20 people with land use alternatives on the wall for each group and the people talked about each land use alternative as to their likes and dislikes about them.  She said that the three alternatives they had were ones that stressed economic development; one of Avondale as it is today; and one that looked at the environmental and agricultural low-density approach to Avondale.  She said that they got wonderful comments from the people at those meetings and they were able to come up with a recommended alternative. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld noted that the fourth public meeting was not well attended with only 8 people.  She said after the third public meeting after they talked about the land use alternatives they got people to talk about every one of the goals and objectives in the General Plan.  She said they printed them out on large 26 X 30 sheets, pinned them on the wall and people wrote all over them with markers and they really got to see what was in their plan.  She said the final meeting was where they presented the final draft plan.  She noted that in the public involvement world that was good news because when a lot of people do not show up that means they are comfortable with everything to date and have not found anything that concerns them and would rather do something else with their evening. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that likewise at the Planning Commission hearings they have had very few people come to those, which they had done their work in the first three meetings, which is where the meat of the plan was developed.  She noted that in between those broad public meetings they had TAC meetings and TAC/ PAC Meetings, which were held on the same day in that the TAC was City Staff and the PAC was the public.  She said the Public Advisory Committee included about 20 people and grew as the process went on and was a very productive committee in that when they went over the goals and objectives they also broke into groups and worked through the goals and objectives. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they have received good comments from them via e-mail and good feedback when they presented the draft plan that lead to some changes that she will point out later.  She said that overall it has been a very thorough public involved process.  She added that the City staff has been wonderful and helpful to them through the process and at one point they actually met with many of the City staff members individually to go over the elements and their input was very valuable and helpful to them too as they worked through the plan. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld showed the Council a slide indicating dates and meetings as they went through the process and one of the condensed comments received from the attendees.  She said that there was a website maintained by the City throughout the process and the general plan was posted on that website and was available for anyone to download and read.

 

 Ms. Dormfeld moved on to how they structured the plan and said that it is a little bit different then other communities because they did it from what they heard from the public meetings.  She indicated that they heard there were five areas important to the community, economic development, neighborhoods, open space, and things about the community and what they did as opposed to just having a document that had State mandated elements in a list was to give the plan some meaning by putting those elements in places where people felt they could relate to them. 

 

She said that by law the City, which is under 50,000, but over 25,000 with a growth rate of more than 2% per year for the past ten years is required to have a cost of development element, a growth area element, an open space element, a land use element, an environmental element and a water resources element.  Ms. Dormfeld said that because the City is growing so rapidly staff wisely put out the contract requiring that 15 elements of the plan be done which added to the requirement a housing element, a recreation element, conservation rehabilitation, and redevelopment element, a bicycling element, a public services element, a public buildings and facilities element and a safety element.  She noted that the plan has the full compliment of state required elements by law and when the Avondale reaches 50,000 the City would be in conformance with those required plans. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the first thing they do with a plan is try to come up with a vision that gives them a direction for the plan and tells them where the community wants to go which they did at the first meeting.  She said the way that they came up with the vision was using those themes when people come up with them and when they looked at them they broke into to those areas of economic development, community, open space and neighborhoods and also Luke AFB that is very important to the area and agricultural preservation which also is very important to the area.

 

She then went on to what a general plan is made up of which are goals, objectives, and policies.  Ms. Dormfeld noted that goals are desired conditions and are broad in definition; objectives are measurable things to attain a goal and there may be many objectives to achieve before getting to a goal; and finally policies are the action steps that one takes to obtain the objective.  She said that policies are what gets moved into the implementation program and are the specific things that a City might do to accomplish their goals. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that during the 60-day review process they did get many comments on the plan from the public, the Planning Commission, adjacent entities, the Department of Commerce, and the Multi-Family Housing Association.  She said that the legal sheets Council has documents every single comment they received with some recommended to be included when they make a decision on the plan which are shown in gray.  She then said that she wanted to talk about each of the elements in the final draft plan.  Ms. Dormfeld indicated that each element is formatted the same way so as they go through the plan they will see the same information for each element presented.  She noted that there is an introduction in each element where they talk about the purpose of the element and the legal requirements that were met by that element.  She said they then talked about past, present, and future trends so people could get an understanding of why the element was important and what some of the issues were that the community faced. 

 

She said that the planning area was where they really itemized the things they should think about in the next ten years and the goals, objectives, and policy section is where they provide the policy direction.  Ms. Dormfeld said the land use section contains the land use element and they have not listed every goal, objective and policy because they would never get out of here tonight so they have been summarized and she will be happy to respond to any questions on specific goals.  She said overall these kinds of goals were sustainability and demographic and the cultural diversity of the community, which came out loud and clear. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that there were some concerns about conflicts between land uses and how they could address those.  She said that in looking at mining, regional land uses and dealing with border issues and schools become important and how they would deal with annexations.  She noted that one of the things included in the land use element is the land use map, which they should have in front of them and is the thing that everyone turns to first in the plan to see what happened to their house and property. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they did a suitability analysis, which is an analysis that used G.I.S. modeling to determine what the best use is for different pieces of land in a community.  She indicated that the model determines which piece of land is best for multi-family residential, industrial, open space, housing, or commercial uses based on its proximity to rail or major streets near to a flood plain or steep slope for open space; proximity to public transportation or major arterials for multi-family and distance from noxious uses for single family.  She said that they put that all in the model and came up with different maps for each type of land use and ultimately a land use-planning map that was developed after the public meeting on the three alternatives. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld then went into the unique characteristics of the map.  She said that the first thing she wanted to point out is the North Avondale Specific Plan and the concerns from the public about the amount of multi-family housing in the City and where it is located.  She said that the North Avondale Specific Plan ringed Indian School Road and 99th Avenue with multi-family and was not very well placed and was sort of a narrow strip type of development.  She said that what they did was look at the existing development in that area and the character of the area and increased the amount of medium density residential uses.

 

She said that they also recognized the potential for some kind of large regional site at loop 101 and at 99th Avenue and Thomas or 99th Avenue and Indian School along the John F. Long properties.  She said that in understanding the importance of economic development along 99th Avenue; the proximity of the 101 and the border with Tolleson they used 99th as a very strong commercial base for the community. 

 

She said that they also emphasized the Agua Fria River in the North Avondale area and through the community as an open space corridor and included the new park area there on McDowell as well. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that in moving south a little bit, they kept the Freeway Corridor Specific Plan as is with the core at 115th Avenue, which has also been maintained.  She noted that the set of dots along 115th Avenue which represent a concept of a commercial boulevard for Avondale.  She said 115th Avenue is one of the only streets that goes across the river currently and it is also a direct line to P.I.R. and a lot of people said that they should take advantage of P.I.R. and the traffic that P.I.R. gets which gave them an opportunity to create some kind of a commercial boulevard in Avondale so they did that to 115th Avenue. 

 

She said that the area around the airport south of Lower Buckeye was kept as an industrial use but also designated it as a growth area and should take advantage of the Goodyear Airport for industrial uses. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld indicated that they also added the concept of the south core at 115th and Broadway and noted that this was an area where there was a need for higher intensity with retail services in south Avondale and they also felt that it could benefit from P.I.R. so they created a higher intensity core of commercial uses at 115th Avenue and Broadway with some higher intensity residential land uses to support that higher intensity commercial use. 

 

She said that they also tried along Southern and close to the river to preserve the rural feel of that community and also there is a largely undeveloped area that will be left for the higher and executive housing that people have said is important for future economic development.  She noted that the stars along the river near P.I.R., which indicates opportunities for a resort because they bring in a lot of people for, short stays.  Ms. Dormfeld said they also emphasized the canal as a trail and connections to open space within the land use map.  She said the area to the south and also throughout the connects all of the development along the river to open space and take any advantage of all the existing trails system along the Roosevelt Irrigation Canal and St. Johns Canal were also emphasized in the Plan. 

 

She indicated that the south Avondale area is very undeveloped and has no infrastructure but it is likely that Council will be receiving development proposals for this area within the ten-year span of the plan.  She said that what they did recommend is that specific plan be prepared for this area and noted that the plan includes a lot of recommendations about hillside development and how to treat open space so that this area does get developed in a way that is appropriate with the resources that it contains.  Ms. Dormfeld said that they also suggested some connections coming in from some existing arteries in Goodyear and the concept of a scenic drive along the mountains and the balance of the area has been left as low density residential.  She noted that there is a lot of State land in that area and the homebuilders were especially concerned that the low density residential did allow them to develop at one dwelling unit per acre, which is what the general plan states. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the other thing that is included in the land use element are amendment criteria for a major amendment and that the Growing Smarter State Law requires that a major amendment be any significant change in land use density to a community’s general plan and the community gets to determine what “significant” is.  She noted that major amendments can be heard once during the year at a single hearing and must be approved by a four-fifths vote of the Council.  She said that these are the major amendment requirements that were developed with staff for the Avondale Plan in regards to any PADD larger than 80 acres that is not in compliance with the general plan or if the net change in the land use designations in that PADD are more than 25% of the total area and also any land use designation that is not in conformance with the general plan or any rezoning of 40 acres or more that is not in conformance with the general plan.  She indicated that for areas located within a specific plan, if there is any net reduction in the non-residential designation or any rezoning larger than 20 acres where the change in the residential land use portion of that is greater than 25% a major amendment is required for any of those criteria.

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the Economic Development Section includes the growth area element, cost of development element and an economic development element and talks about making sure the City can support a diverse range of sustainable economic opportunities and that it continues to participate in regional economic development efforts. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld relayed that the growth area element tries to encourage the creation of growth areas like the freeway corridor and the area near the Goodyear Airport as well as the south core and within those growth areas they wanted to make sure there is some economic diversity so they could add to the overall stability of the City.  She said that the cost of the development element shows a community how to address how new development will pay for the fair share of services and infrastructure that it requires and noted that most of those things really talk about maintaining the development fee ordinance and continuous updates to it and looks at other ways to pay for the cost of development making sure the City can continue to preserve and enhance the existing level of public services for residents and businesses of the City. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the neighborhood section talks about the housing element and conservation, rehabilitation, and redevelopment element.  She noted that in the housing element they want to preserve and enhance and expand the existing housing stock so there is a range of housing opportunities in the City providing housing for citizens with lower incomes as well as executive type housing without having either pockets of poverty or pockets of wealth.  She indicated that they wanted to make sure that a lot of the existing neighborhood organizations, which are very active and provide housing, are maintained and enhanced and that neighborhood stabilization programs are maximized in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness. 

 

She relayed that the conservation, rehabilitation and redevelopment element is an element required by law that deals with redevelopment and noted that the conservation portion is a misnomer in that it is not environmental conservation but more of neighborhood conservation.  Ms. Dormfeld said that this is where they looked at a lot of redevelopment plans that the City has already adopted and tried to reinforce those as well as the redevelopment of the downtown business core.  She said that in maintaining existing residential neighborhoods, housing stock that is now ten years old and in ten years will be 20 years old means the housing stock is aging which is something in Arizona we are not used to thinking about because everything is always new but we are maturing as a region and our housing stock is aging so we want to make sure that some of those older planned communities are maintained and the character gets maintained as well. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that there were a lot of comments about the fact that Avondale is a wonderful community with a small town feel and they want to make sure that is not lost so they talked about neighborhood organizations to make sure people had opportunities to stay involved in their neighborhood. 

 

She indicated that the focus on “Old Town” and some of the cultural and natural resources that people were very proud of was important as well as are the rivers and Western Avenue which looks great.  Ms. Dormfeld said that beginning to get the community focused on some of those more traditional places it has as well as the new development along the freeway and that will occur on 115th Avenue is important along with supporting the redevelopment of target areas.

 

Ms. Dormfeld noted that in the open space element, one of the things the City has to its credit, which makes it a unique community in the state, is its three active rivers.  She said that the open space element contains a lot of goals and objectives to make sure that open spaces and hillsides are protected and preserved as development occurs.  She noted that the city is lucky because most of the new developments occurred on the flat lands but as it is moving south and to the west a lot of those resources are beginning to be brought into the urban fabric and they need to make sure that those resources are not lost because there are some challenges with mining; flood plain preservation to eliminate channels along the rivers restricting access; and the preservation and expansion of trail systems in the City. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld noted that a lot of the trail system has been started south of the freeway and along the canals, which can be enhanced, and the Tres Rios plan is a wonderful plan for trails, which is also talked about in the plan.  She said that they want to be sure that as communities are built those open space amenities have access provided from those communities to them and that communities do not block access to those resources.  She said that they also want to make sure that people are aware of open spaces and there is a real opportunity to promote Avondale as a eco-tourism type of a place especially with the rivers and the opportunities for trails. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld indicated that the environmental planning and conservation element asked them to look at how development will impact the City’s natural resources such as air and water quality.  She said that it says that the City will continue to work with the Flood Control District to make sure that the community is protected but those resources are enhanced and they also need to make sure that they continue to meet water quality standards and reduce the amount of waste sent to land fills as well as businesses are not brought in that harm those resources and that the natural habitat areas along the rivers are enhanced and preserved.

 

Ms. Dormfeld noted that the recreation element deals with parks and recreation facilities and they wanted to make sure the City continues to maintain and improve the high quality parks and recreation facilities that it already has been planning and has in place.  She relayed that they know the City is developing a parks and recreation master plan so a lot of the goals were to support that plan as it gets developed.  Ms. Dormfeld said that they want to make sure the community’s resources are maximized using schools and colleges collaboratively and connecting them to the larger regional systems so there are some shared linkages. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld indicated that the community theme talks about City services and is the nuts and bolts part of the plan and the circulation element talks a lot about transit making sure the City has a multi-modal system in place and that the City is promoted and becomes a player at that regional transportation table.  She said that they want to make sure that current and future development are connected into the City and into the transit and transportation web as well as making sure the transportation system is efficient and works well to reduce residents reliance on the automobile and by making sure the transportation system is integrated regionally which will allow people to be less reliant on the automobile.  Ms. Dormfeld said that they wanted to figure out ways to provide non-motorized options by asking for trails, pedestrian circulation plans or non-vehicular circulation plans as part of development getting people to think about how they can make those developments work in ways that the car does not become the only transportation option.  She said that they want to make sure they maintain the efficiency of the City’s street network and enhance opportunities for non-motor transportation. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld indicated that the bicycle element recommends that a bicycle plan be developed to make sure that is safe so that people can connect to those facilities and that their street system is safe and convenient for bicycle travel. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they are recommending that Council consider some of the amendments to the water resource element but the point of that element is to prove that the City does have adequate supplies for current and future development.  She said that Avondale is doing a lot of aggressive things to make sure that they will and Tres Rios and the recharge project alone has put the City on the map in that respect.

 

Ms. Dormfeld indicated that in the Public Services and Facilities element they want to make sure the City provides for new development while maintaining and improving services in existing areas and they have goals and objectives that talk about consistent support for those facilities and services and protection from floods for the community in working with the Flood Control District and when making sure as the community grows it might consider developing some sort of fiber option or high tech infrastructure that allows the City to be wired into the future economy of the 21st century. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the public buildings element includes library, police, and fire buildings and making sure they keep education as a priority.  She said that while the general plan does not give communities the authority to direct schools because they are in a separate district they have included a lot of information in the plan that will ensure ongoing coordination between the community and schools as development occurs. 

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that the Safety Element is really the City’s safety plan like in a natural disaster safety issue and they want to make sure residents are protected from natural and man made disaster because you do not want to build projects on sink holes or on shaky bridges and they want to make sure there is an emergency response plan that is maintained and the City is required to do that.

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that in summary what Council is going to be asked to consider over the next series of meetings is the repeal of the old plan and adoption of the new plan and when they consider making that recommendation and sending the plan to ratification that they include the items on the legal sheet that are marked as staff report to Council and there will be some additional amendments to the plan.  She said that they are also suggesting that they have a second sheet which is a specific plan compliance matrix with “yes” meaning there is no change necessary but in the “no” column a group of suggestions and amendments that they are suggesting be made to the Specific Plan and then also amending the Freeway Corridor and the North Avondale Specific Plan Maps to conform to the General Plan land use maps.

 

Mr. Schrader noted that the date indicated for the election was incorrect and should be listed as May 21, 2002 and not March 12, 2002.

 

Leslie Dormfeld said that she was sorry and that was their mistake and that they would fix that.

 

Ms. Dormfeld went on to say that the Freeway Corridor Specific Plan was kept pretty true to the original plan and the North Avondale Specific Plan removes a lot of the multi-family that ringed Indian School and 99th Avenue and there was also low density component south of the Roosevelt Irrigation District Canal on the north side of Thomas that got changed to medium density residential to reflect current development patterns.  She said that some of the existing low-density development was maintained with the addition of some of those employment opportunity areas along 99th Avenue.  She said that was the end of their presentation and asked if there were any questions.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Mr. Schrader had any additions to the presentation.

 

Mr. Schrader replied that it was a good overview and in terms of the process there will be several meetings to cover a lot of information and asked the Mayor if he wanted to ask for public input at this time.

 

Mayor Drake said that he had a card from Jack Rose who wants to speak at this time.

 

Jack Rose, 3200 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona.  He said that he was there representing the Lakin Family and Lakin Cattle Company.  He noted that the Lakin family had been a part of the community for approximately 80 years and have been involved in many charitable and community endeavors during that period of time and have gained the respect of people in the community. 

 

Mr. Rose said that he is here tonight in support of both the staff of the consultant’s report and the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  He noted that they did have a couple of issues that came before the commission and he wanted to highlight those for Council and noted that they will be attending the other public meetings on this and at the next hearing they will have Father Joe Corporo who will be talking about Lakin Community Park and the programs he is implementing there which has a relation to the General Plan.

 

Mr. Rose then passed a copy to the Council and said the Lakin Property will be negatively impacted by a number of uses.  He noted that the Lakin family did not plan on developing their property any time in the near future because they are happy to be farming it and producing their agricultural products but unfortunately they have been hit by a number of negative uses. 

 

He said that they have a number of electrical easements running through the property east to west with some as wide as 510 feet and include a number of overhead transmission lines which are in place or planned for the area.  He said that SRP is planning on condemning the property located north of their existing substation amounting to about 40 acres.  He indicated that this was something that did not make the family very happy and even though APS and SRP have provided $ 6,000,000 for mitigation to the City a substation is not an attractive use in their view.  Mr. Rose said that SRP has the ability to condemn the property and they are trying to work that out with them currently but they do the ability under their agreement to place temporary generating facilities on the property which is something the family does not view as positive. 

 

Mr. Rose indicated that another item that is not particularly positive is the City’s Wastewater Facility and the associated easement that goes with it.  He said that when the City needed to annex the property at some point in the past, about 15 years ago, the City approached Mr. Lakin and asked him to annex in the 40 acres directly to the west and assist the City in placing the facility there and he cooperated with them. 

 

He said that the other easements include the Palo Verde Wastewater line and the additional easements for the power lines and finally a 330 foot easement is needed by County Flood Control for the Buckeye Feeder Diversion Channel and even though the Lakin property is a small portion of that they are being burdened with the bulk of the cost. 

 

Mr. Rose said that his point in mentioning this to Council is so they realize the constraints that are upon the project and consider their input in light of that. 

 

He indicated that they have three issues and said that originally in the plan there were four commercial corners on Broadway Road and El Mirage and they have done some analysis in the community and found that this is going to be a very low density project and they do not think there is enough demand in the area for four commercial corners.  He said that they have analyzed it extensively and there are some large commercial corners at 115th Avenue and Broadway already. 

 

Mr. Rose said that the second issue is the Lakin Community Park and that originally the parks were concentrated next to the proposed substation.  He noted that the Lakin Community Park is a facility that Chuck Lakin has been providing through the Catholic Church to the community for a number of years and said that it is ten acres with athletic fields and ball fields and is something that he would like to continue because they believe it has strong community support and they would like to have it designated as such on the General Plan.  He said that Mr. Lakin has recently offered to expand the park by adding ten acres and Father Joe will be talking about his programs on that facility.  He indicated that in addition they are planning another 35 acres in parks and school sites located just south of the drainage channel off of El Mirage and Broadway Roads.  He said they have reached an understanding with Littleton Elementary School District where Mr. Lakin has agreed to provide approximately $1,000,000 in land donations to them because they need two sites one of which has been determined but the other has not yet been determined.  He said that initially they were going to put it next to Lakin Community Park but after discussing it with the School District, the Parks Department and the Catholic Church it was determined that it would be better to have the City and School District facility be away from the park because it would be difficult to delineate who would have responsibility for the various areas. 

 

Mr. Rose said that they are 100% in support of the commission recommended plan and they will have Father Joe here later in the week and Dr. Williams from the Littleton Elementary School District is also planning on attending one of the public input sessions to voice her support of what they have done here.  He then concluded his comments and said he would answer any questions from the Council.

 

Mayor Drake asked Council if there were any questions of Mr. Rose.

 

Council Member Jones said that she agreed that the Lakin property had been severely impacted over the years but in looking at the items such as the odor easement, channel easement, electrical easement, and Palo Verde easement she asked if Mr. Lakin had been compensated for them.

 

Mr. Rose said the initial easements were to WOPA in the early 30’s and he did get some compensation for them but when it originally started it was a very limited easement and when one line went in then everyone else wanted to locate next to it.  He said that he did not think Mr. Lakin would have agreed to let the first line go in if he had realized that it would have such a wide impact but he has been paid something for those over the years.

 

Council Member Jones asked if he had been compensated for Palo Verde easement.

 

Mr. Rose replied he had been.

 

Council Member Lynch said that Mr. Rose stated that Mr. Lakin has no thought of developing this in the near future and noted that one of the things that the TAC and PAC group and consultants have put in the general plan is to stop giving up the commercial property for multi-family or homes.  She said that since there are no plans to develop this in the immediate future and he knows as well as Council does how things change in the development process these days and how there becomes demand for commercial sites that never would have been thought of before why would they want to lock themselves in with the general plan and say that they will give up two of those corners and just leave two when if in fact down the road Mr. Lakin decides to develop his property that is something that could always be changed.  She asked why Council would want to do that now when they do not know what the future is going to bring whenever he develops it.

 

Mr. Rose said that he wanted to clarify his previous comment stating that Mr. Lakin had no intention of developing the property until all of these negative uses were heaped upon it but right now he would like to get it zoned so that it becomes more difficult in the future for additional easements or other negative uses to be imposed upon him and noted that he wants to lock in the property.  He said that when the property will be developed is hard to determine whether it be five or ten years or a shorter period of time and they will not be coming in next year and building on it but they probably will come back through with some sort of zoning request. 

 

Mr. Rose said that to answer Council Member Lynch’s question he thinks everyone shares her concern that Avondale have adequate commercial space available for the future because the residents need those services and the sales tax base is a major source of revenue for the City.  He said that they took a look at the proposal and noted that one of the reasons they had not come in and complained about the large amount of low density residential with a large amount of Mr. Lakin’s property is going to be general planned for less than two units per acre and in fact a large portion of the low density residential in the entire City is on the Lakin property.  He indicated that the reason he has not objected to that is because they are not going to be able to get much density on the project because even if they City would let them they could not fit it on because of the easements and Flood Control issues. 

 

Mr. Rose said that in going through that process and figuring the number of households that will be going into the area, they had Stantec do some analysis about the need for neighborhood commercial and noted that the commercial hub is going to be at Broadway and 115th Avenue and they have a couple of parcels set aside for commercial there.  He said the corners at El Mirage and Broadway were originally designated as small or neighborhood type commercial uses and in looking at the numbers of households their engineers are telling them that the area is only going to accommodate a couple of corners there and they do not know what is going to the south which could have more density but rather than having two vacant corners sit there for a long period of time they felt it would be more attractive to develop them out.  He said that it is a decision that is up to the Council and they would prefer two commercial corners but that is not a huge issue for them and if the Council felt strongly about that they could live with four.

 

Council Member Lynch said that is it not also a fact that those home owners that can afford the larger sites and larger homes or the type of property that is there are also willing to pay more for those lots and therefore Mr. Lakin would be adequately compensated and maybe even more so then if they were broken into smaller sites for smaller homes.

 

Mr. Rose replied that you would certainly think that but the economics are that the larger lots because of the infrastructure costs and land costs associated with the larger lots really do not pencil out, at least not in this area. 

 

Mr. Rose said that they are proposing a number of very large lots which staff will see when they come in next year which are 35,000 square feet buffering the property to the south and equestrian facilities in the property which will be open to the public including equestrian trails along the canal and a trail system as outlined in the General Plan Document which connects all the neighborhoods with the parks, schools, river and equestrian trails.  He said that he thinks it will be something that is quite impressive and they do expect to have a higher end segment of the project.

 

Mayor Drake asked if there were any other questions for Mr. Rose and there were none.

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Schrader if there were any other presentations by staff.

 

Mr. Schrader replied that there were none.

 

Mayor Drake asked if there were any other questions or comments by Council.

 

Council Member Lynch said that she had one more comment and noted that they all have land use maps in excess currently but not one of them that she can find has a date on it and it is confusing finding out which is the most recent.  She asked if there are land uses as they are now or are they land uses according to the plan.

 

Mr. Schrader asked Nathan Crane to address the land use map that was sent out along with the plan that was the most recent prior to the one he had handed out and if this one is more recent based on Planning Commission input.

 

Mr. Crane said that the most current map that staff distributed was with their General Plan and is the one the Commission originally heard and incorporates the comments from the Commission so they could see the difference between the two maps and see where the changes were.

 

Council Member Lynch said that the maps that they have in their packet are to go along with the plan and are not the current land use maps.

 

Mr. Schrader replied that the map that Council Member Lynch has that was submitted along with the Plan a few weeks ago was the recommended one at that time before there was Planning Commission input.  He said that the one that was handed out tonight reflects the additional changes coming out of the Planning and Zoning Commission Hearings process.

 

Council Member Lynch said that in reading through the packet that she has Planning and Zoning had asked that same question and they were told that the maps that they had were the current use and staff was going to get the ones that went with the Plan for them on November 29.  She noted that since they got their packet when she got hers then she must have the current Land Use Maps and not the ones that go with the Plan.

 

Mr. Crane replied that he informed them that the current map was within their General Plan so it was the map they were asked to consider at that time.

 

Councilman Carroll asked why a date was not put on the maps.

 

Leslie Dormfeld replied that it was their mistake and not done intentionally.

 

Council Member Jones said that she is pleased to see after attending the meetings that a lot of things that went into the meetings came out of them and she is pleased with the outcome so far.  She said that there is a slight disagreement in the vision statement on Page 4 paragraph 1 under Avondale Vision.

 

Mr. Crane replied that if Council would supply the language they would be happy to change it.

 

Council Member Jones said that on page 4 it should say “as well as transit links to the metro area”.

 

Council Member Lynch said that she is not sure how to handle it but she has one or more questions on almost every page in the book and asked if they wanted to take her book and take it from there as they did with the responses included or some other way.                             

 

Mr. Crane replied that it probably would be appropriate and if Council Member Lynch would hand them those comments they would be happy to look over them and have them incorporated.

 

Mr. Schrader said that if there were a comment in staffs’ mind that is of a major policy type of issue they would want to bring that back so all of Council would understand what it is.

 

Council Member Lynch said that the only thing that she would like to have seen is a table identifying the changes in land use from the old plan to the new plan because it is a little difficult to put them side by side since she did not know which map was which and asked them to spell out what those changes were.  

 

Mr. Crane replied that they would have that for Council in the next couple of days.  He said their goal is to have all the comments from the public, Council and from any other staff by December 18 so they can make those changes to the document so the document they see on January 7 will actually be the document incorporating all the changes.

 

Councilman Carroll said that on page 5 the second from bottom paragraph it says “correcting all past mistakes” and since he does not find a definition in there he would like for them to define for him what the General Plan considers a mistake.

 

Ms. Dormfeld replied that it is not what the General Plan considers a mistake but it is just a generic comment about plans so that if a citizen were to pick this up and say that they do not like the fact that my community did this in 1947 they would not find a statement that says that they are changing that was taken in a period of time ago.  She said that they could delete the sentence if it is confusing.

 

Councilman Carroll said that he just wanted clarification of it in his mind.

 

Ms. Dormfeld said that they would clean up the language so it was not misleading.

 

Council Member Lynch said that maybe they could say, “If any exists”.

 

Mayor Drake said it would take a few days to digest all the information they have been given tonight.  He said he had a memo dated October 8 that they were going to have the second meeting December 18.

 

Mr. Schrader clarified that there is a meeting scheduled on both December 13 and December 18 and if Council feels they do not need both meetings they could let staff know.

 

Council Member Lynch said that they may need them but she does not know that they can digest everything in the next two days.

 

Mr. Schrader said that it is for Council to decide and that is why staff tried to get the document out to them several weeks ago.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Council wants to have a meeting on December 13.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said if they are going to receive more public comment and they are expecting a 13th meeting does Council wait for that until the 18th or continue with the 13th because she knows there will be more public comment then.

 

Council Member Lynch said that she or Council Member Karlin would not be able to be there on the 13th.

 

Mr. Schrader said that in terms of focus if Council can get comments to them so that they can incorporate them and if there are larger policy issues like questions about actual designations or any of the policies or objectives that are already stated that would be a good area to initially focus on for the 13th if they have had a chance to look at the initial material that was sent out.

 

Councilman Carroll asked Mr. Schrader what dictates that they must vote on the 7th of January.

 

Mr. Schrader replied that they need enough lead time in order to prepare ballot language to submit to the County for them to be able to coordinate with staff to hold an election in May.  He said that the election does not necessarily have to be held in May.  He said that February 5 is the actual drop-dead date so they could push it back further than the 7th in terms of Council taking action on it.  He noted that they could push the election back to November but they have been trying to work through the land use issues and it would be better in terms of trying to eliminate the element of uncertainty that is out there as to people’s expectations as to what they can and cannot do with their property and it would be good for both staff, Council and the general public rather than wait until November but it is a fall back option.

 

Councilman Carroll said that the reason he was questioning why it is necessary for them to vote on January 7 is because of the short time span between the meetings in December and the amount of information they need to read and digest and asked for a few more days cushion to go over the material.

 

Mr. Schrader said that they will confirm that between now and the meeting on the 13th and if they can have an extra meeting after the 7th they will let Council know. 

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Crane why he thinks it is better for the City to reduce its planned commercial uses and specifically the Lakin Property and increase the densities which taxes City services in a greater way then what you have developed prior to the proposal by Mr. Rose.

 

Mr. Crane replied that he thought it was important that Council understood what they had proposed because they are in the process of taking a look at the densities and looking at the increase for this particular project. 

 

He said that his own feelings are that it is important that if they are planning on commercial that they show those areas so that it is up front and everyone knows that there is commercial in those areas where you would like it to be so that when people buy homes there is not any miscommunication on the commercial.  He noted that having said that, it is also important to have rooftops to support commercial.  He said that is one thing they are looking at currently and would be able to provide a better answer on the 13th regarding their proposal.

 

Council Member Lynch said that recently Elliot Pollack, a very highly regarded economist in the State said that if they brought high end homes they would bring in commercial so the commercial will follow and it does not always have to come first.  She said if they start to give the people what they are looking for then the City is more apt to get what it is looking for in the line of commercial and office space.

 

Mayor Drake went on to item 6 PUBLIC HEARING – SPECIFIC AREA PLANS UPDATE.

 

Mr. Schrader said that the presentation provided by the consultants has already covered those three specific proposed area plan updates.

 

Mayor Drake asked if there was anyone in the public that would like to address item 6.

 

Council Member Lynch asked Mr. Cox if in the minutes from Planning and Zoning he made a statement to the effect that he continued the multi-family housing in the Freeway Corridor where it has already been established and asked him to explain that comment.

 

Mr. Cox replied that it was in reference to the area south of McDowell and adjacent to the freeway and east of the community park there.  He said they had shown some commercial in there and staff advised them that it had been recently rezoned or planned for multi-family and that they should change it to reflect that use.

 

Council Member Lynch said that she was concerned because she believed the only thing that some of the Council approved was part B of phase one of the Crystal Springs Apartments.  She said the commercial as far as she knows still remains on 115th Avenue and McDowell.

 

Mr. Crane replied that the specific case was the Crystal Springs Apartments that is up there.  He explained that the original map showed a commercial portion but when they looked at the original zoning case for that map the original zoning was R-4 so they felt it was appropriate to match the existing zoning with the land use map.  He said the rest of the commercial as far as when that project was approved was not changed.

 

Council Member Lynch asked how far east it took it.

 

Mr. Crane replied that it was to 117th Avenue or 119th Avenue alignment just to the east of the piece that just got approved.

 

Council Member Lynch asked Mr. Crane about the section of land between those apartments and I-10 and if those had been made apartments also.

 

Mr. Crane replied that it is shown as a Multi-family on the General Plan and does not affect the zoning or any condition on the zoning.  He said that if they were to do congregate care as shown in the zoning case they would need a conditional use permit to do that.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that nothing further will happen to Rio Santa Fe Apartments and said the reason she brought that up was they had talked about protecting the view of the mountains.  She said that one of the things that happened when Rio Santa Fe was approved was that the sitting Council specifically asked the developer when he wanted to put on a third level he indicated that he would provide more open space.  She noted that one of the Council questions was if Rancho Santa Fe would lose the view of the Estrella Mountains and they were told they would not.  She said that not only did Rancho Santa Fe loose the view of the mountains there was no additional open space because you can barely walk around in that complex and she wants to be sure they do not give away any more views of the mountains by these kinds of things.

 

Mr. Crane replied that one thing the General Plan does do is identify the need for a sensitive land ordinance which will discuss flood plains, hillsides, and those types of things.

 

Councilman Carroll asked Mr. Crane if this would take place in time for other development.

 

Mr. Crane replied that one thing the General Plan will do is take affect upon ratification by the voters and will not change any existing zoning cases that they have on the books currently but they will be able to review future zoning cases and provide for those things that the plan identifies that are important to the community.

 

Councilman Carroll said that the view of the mountains is very important and if there has been a promise made to them by a developer he wants to see it in stone and the time for them to do that is before hand.

 

Council Member Lynch said that Councilman Carroll is saying that they need to follow through and at the point that staff sees what is going on then they stop the developer and require them to do what they promised before adding a third story because they said it was not going to block the mountains.

 

Mr. Schrader replied that if it was something that was specified in the way of a plan that was approved and it specified density and number of stories that would be something they could go back and if they are building something that is not in conformance with approved plans that would not be appropriate.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers moved that Council go into Executive Session. 

 

Council Member Shuey seconded the motion

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

______________________

                                                                                                                         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 special meeting of the City council of the City of Avondale held on the 10th day of December 2001.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that a quorum was present.

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

_____________________________

                                                                                                                Linda M. Farris, CMC 

                                                                                                                         City Clerk