City Council Work Session


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  10.       
Meeting Date: 04/27/2021  
From: Dan Symer, Zoning Code Manager

TITLE
Consideration of creating the proposed Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone with a maximum building height of 45 feet and the recommended process for the City Council to consider initiating applications to rezone certain areas of the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods to the zone if approved
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
Hold a work session to allow the City Council and the public to ask questions, seek clarification, have discussions, offer comments, and to provide direction on the proposed Zoning Code Text Amendment and the recommended process for the City Council to consider initiating applications to rezone certain areas of the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods to the zone if approved.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
To achieve the intent of the High Occupancy Housing (HOH) Plan’s implementation strategies (see Chapters 4 and 5 of the HOH Plan) to lower the Community Commercial (CC) zone’s allowed building height from 60 feet to 45 feet (Strategies to be implemented by 2019, bullet 5, page 102) and limit the building height in the Southside to 45 feet (Policies SMS 1.2. and SLW 1.2., pages 43 and 44), staff is proposing a Zoning Code Text Amendment to create a new zone called Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) (Case No. PZ-19-00123).  This new zone would be identical to the Community Commercial (CC) zone, but it would have a maximum building height of 45 feet.  It should be noted that the Community Commercial (CC) zone is primarily located in the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods.

To effectuate the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone and achieve the above-referenced strategies and policies, staff recommends conducting separate public outreach efforts after the effective date of the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone and returning to the City Council to initiate separate rezoning applications for each neighborhood. This approach will allow for the neighborhood’s public outreach to be tailored specifically to the needs of each area and to provide more finite neighborhood information so that the City Council could evaluate whether, or what parts of a neighborhood, to initiate a rezoning application and any specific alternative neighborhood approaches. Furthermore, staff is recommending that the associated public outreach and corresponding applications be processed systematically in the following order: Southside, North End, and Sunnyside.
INFORMATION:
I. City Council Questions
For your reference, below is the question on which staff is seeking the City Council’s comments and direction.
  • Does the City Council desire to proceed with the staff’s proposed methodology to implement the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan’s and the Southside Community Plan’s strategies and policies to lower the building height from 60 feet to 45 feet in the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods of the city that have the Community Commercial (CC) zone, and to create the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone?
II. Background Summary
In February 2018, the City Council adopted the citywide High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan.  The High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan was developed in response to the community’s dialogue about the previously proposed high-intensity mid-rise developments near historic neighborhoods that primarily catered to college students. The High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan is intended to provide direction in the form of goals, policies, and strategies to accommodate various housing options in areas of the city that can support infill, redevelopment, and mixed-use activities. The High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan's goals, policies, and implementation strategies address a broad spectrum of topics (see Chapters 4 and 5 of the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan).  Specific to this discussion topic, the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan’s implementation strategies include lowering the building height in the Community Commercial (CC) zone from 60 feet to 45 feet (Strategies to be implemented by 2019, bullet 5, page 102).  In addition to the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan, City Council adopted the Southside Community Plan on September 1, 2020, which contains policies that building heights in the Southside should not exceed 45 feet in this neighborhood (Policies SMS 1.2. and SLW 1.2.).

As a result of the comments received at the public open house meetings and Planning and Zoning Commission’s Work Session that took place in August 2019 and the City Council's Work Session that occurred in October 2019 related to changing the building height of the Community Commercial (CC) zone from 60 feet to 45 feet, a new zone is being proposed to implement the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan strategies.  The new zone, Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC), is proposed to be identical to the Community Commercial (CC) zone, except that the maximum building height allowed would be 45 feet (Attachment 1). This approach is being proposed to enable the City Council the flexibility to determine which areas of the city with the Community Commercial (CC) zone should maintain the currently allowed maximum building height of 60 feet, such as certain properties adjacent to commercial corridor streets, and which areas should have a maximum building height of 45 feet.  The three primary areas of the City affected by the proposed zone are the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods.   Attachment 2 indicates the location in each neighborhood that is zoned Community Commercial (CC).  It should be noted that in accordance with the City Council’s October 2019 direction, staff conducted additional public outreach in the summer of 2020 on these concepts.

In August 2020, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed staff’s recommended approaches and it supported creating the new Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone and rezoning the majority of the properties with the Community Commercial (CC) to the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone.  In addition, the Commission supported retaining the Community Commercial (CC) zone with the allowed maximum building height of 60 feet on properties adjacent to certain commercial corridor streets – such as properties adjacent to Fourth Street, Route 66, and Cedar Avenue.  

The City Council also reviewed staff’s recommended approach to create the new Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone and to rezone a majority of the properties with the Community Commercial (CC) zone to the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone in August 2020.  In summary, the City Council was supportive of creating the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone. However, it was desired to postpone moving forward with creating the new zone and rezoning the above-referenced neighborhoods until additional public outreach is conducted, most notably in the Sunnyside neighborhood.  It should be noted that the City Council adopted the  Southside Community Plan and associated policies (SMS 1.2. and SLW 1.2.) on September 1, 2020; and, it was acknowledged that considerable public outreach was done with the plan pertaining to lowering the building height in the Southside neighborhood.

III. Discussion
Based on the City Council’s August direction and the subsequent adoption of the Southside Community Plan, staff has evaluated and has discussed with community members different outreach methodologies and implementation strategies to effectuate the High Occupancy Housing Specific Plan and the Southside Community Plan as it pertains to lowering the building height of these neighborhoods. Throughout these discussions, it became apparent that the most significant immediate neighborhood desire to move forward with was to implement the building height change is in the Southside. However, there is broad citywide community support to implement the building height changes in the North End and Sunnyside neighborhoods.
 
To implement the neighborhood’s and community’s desires and to execute an appropriate outreach methodology for each area, staff is proposing to separate the applications for each neighborhood.  To effectuate this approach, it is necessary first to adopt the Zoning Code Text Amendment Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone with a maximum building height of 45 feet.  After the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone's effective date, staff would return to the City Council upon completing the initial public outreach for each neighborhood to initiate separate rezoning applications for each area.  Staff recommends conducting the public outreach and processing of each application one at a time in the following order: Southside, North End, and Sunnyside.  This approach will allow staff to respond to the public outreach that has already been conducted regarding this topic and the neighborhood-specific outreach conducted for the Southside plan. In addition, it would allow for the neighborhood’s public outreach to be tailored to the needs of each area.  The objective is to obtain finite neighborhood information so that the City Council could evaluate whether or what parts of a neighborhood to initiate a rezoning application and any specific alternative neighborhood approaches.

IV. Community Involvement
The public outreach was conducted in August 2019 and July 2020 as it pertains to modifying the Community Commercial (CC) zone building height from 60 feet to 45 feet, the creation of the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone with a building height of 45 feet, and rezoning the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods to the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone. A total of 210 people, including emails, letters, meetings, and visits to the Flagstaff Community Forum topic web page, have participated. The public comments on the Community Forum web page were split up by general public comments and property owner comments. In summary, approximately 83% of the general public that responded to the Community Forum topic supported applying the 45-foot building height in all of the above-referenced neighborhoods. Also, about 68% of the general public comments received did not support keeping the Community Commercial (CC) zone with the 60-foot building height adjacent to the commercial corridor streets. A detailed summary of the public outreach is included in Attachment 3.

V. Conclusion
As indicated above, the purpose of the work session is to allow the City Council and the public to ask questions, seek clarification, have discussions, offer comments, and for Council to provide direction on the proposed Zoning Code Text Amendment to create the Neighborhood Community Commercial (NCC) zone with a maximum building height of 45 feet and the recommended process for the City Council to consider initiating applications to rezone certain areas of the Southside, North End, and Sunnyside neighborhoods to the zone, if approved. No formal recommendation or action is to occur at the work session. Additional opportunities for discussion, public comment, and action by the City Council will occur at a future public hearing.

Attachments
1. Draft NCC Draft Zoning Code
2. Southside, North End, and Sunnyside Neighborhoods
3. NCC Public Outreach
Staff Presentation


    

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