City Council Work Session

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Meeting Date: 03/30/2021  
From: Sara Dechter, AICP, Comprehensive Planning Manager

Regional Plan 2045 Update Potential Process and Strategies
Discussion of the proposed public participation approach and schedule and any topics or concerns that Council would like to make sure staff factors into the process early.
The Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 was ratified by Flagstaff voters in 2014.  According to Arizona Revised Statutes, the City is required to send the plan to voters for readoption or an updated general plan for adoption within 10 years.   

Flagstaff has also combined our general plan with an area plan for Coconino County that encompasses unincorporated areas within the Metroplan for Greater Flagstaff jurisdiction.  This intergovernmental approach creates a stronger foundation for land, transportation, water, and natural resources management and planning.  Staff recommends, given the County's willingness to participate, following this same approach in our upcoming planning and community engagement efforts.
The Regional Plan is a policy guide, serving as the general plan for the City of Flagstaff and an amendment to the Coconino County Comprehensive Plan. As mandated by state law, the plan covers a range of topics with information on current conditions and our vision for the future as it relates to the topic at hand. In addition, the plan outlines carefully developed goals and policies to realize the future vision. Strategies to accomplish these goals and policies are located in a separate documents, such as neighborhood plans, master plans and strategic plans, so that they can remain dynamic, and can be updated with City Council and public direction on a more frequent basis
The Flagstaff Regional Plan is: • a collaborative community vision • a collection of goals and policies to achieve that vision • a tool for decision makers, developers, businesses, and citizens • a framework for general planning.

The Flagstaff Regional Plan is not: • a mandate for or against development • a zoning ordinance • a Capital Improvement Plan • a City budget • an unchangeable plan, or a law

Analysis and Data Management
The Regional Plan is also a rich and integrated assessment of resources, drivers, and systems that work together to produce and protect the built, social and natural environment of the Greater Flagstaff area.  Completion of a Regional Plan update requires complex data analysis and scenario planning that considers over 150 data sources and requires software and analytical efforts.  The Plan provides the analytical foundation for:
  • Development of Area, Neighborhood and Specific Plans for the City and County
  • City and County capital improvement plans,
  • Metroplan's Regional Transportation Plan,
  • Mountain Line 5 year Plan
  • VISSM regional traffic model which is used in all Traffic Impact Analysis,
  • Water Services Master Plan,
  • Flagstaff's 100 year water supply certification with Arizona Department of Water Quality
  • Open Space Planning and management
  • Economic Development planning and assessments
  • Analysis of  conformance for Major Plan Amendment
  • Conformance of Zoning Code amendments and annexation cases
Data Management Framework
In order to complete the maps and information required by statue and anticipated information needed by decision makers, staff anticipates needing to organize, evaluate and analyze over 180 different metrics and geospatial datasets. The document with a list of anticipated Regional Plan Data needs attached to this report, provides a list compiled by staff at the City, County, Metroplan, and Mountain Line based on meetings between November 2020 and February 2021.  The Regional Plan's data management team has already been discussing the nature of this work and how we can best organize and maintain access and ensure the quality of this work.  It is anticipated that organizing and evaluating these metrics and creating informational material our of them could take 9 to 12 months to complete and would be ongoing throughout the Regional Plan update process.

Public Participation
The heart of the Regional Plan is the vision of the community for its future. Developing this vision is a process that engages a broad and diverse population of nearly 90,000 to 100,000 residents of Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff.  The draft Public Participation Plan attached to this report is designed to reflect on past visioning and design a process that will allow the community to take and active and empowered role in developing the next Regional Plan. The Public Participation Plan is broken into four phases:
  1. Get Curious and Gain Understanding - focuses on sharing information, generating excitement and listening to feedback
  2. What's Possible/What's the Vision - focuses on the art of what is possible and how the community's shared values and concerns for the future can guide the process
  3. Plan Creation - focuses on writing, reviewing and revising the Plan
  4. Plan Adoption - focuses on approval of the plan through public hearings and required ballot initiative
Emerging issues
The Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 covered a wide variety of topics that affect the Natural, Built, and Human Environment. However, some issues that were not discussed and have grown in importance and focus for the City include Equity, Climate Change Action, and emerging technologies such as broadband, automated vehicles, electric vehicles and smart street technology. 

Public Participation Plan
Table of Anticipated Data Needs


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