City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 07/06/2021  
From: Alaxandra Pucciarelli, Interim Planning Director

Consideration and Adoption of Ordinance No. 2021-06: An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Flagstaff, amending the Flagstaff Zoning Map to rezone approximately 11 acres of real property generally located at 151 West High Country Trail, APNs 112-05-001W and 112-05-011 from the Estate Residential (ER) zone to the Medium Density Residential (MR) zone with conditions, providing for severability, authority for clerical corrections, and establishing an effective date.
Staff recommended that the Planning and Zoning Commission forward the Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment request to the City Council with a recommendation for approval, in accordance with the findings presented in the attached report.

The Planning & Zoning Commission disagreed with staff's recommendation and instead recommends that the City Council, in accordance with the findings, deny the requested Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment for Aura Flagstaff (PZ-20-00008-01). 

Should the Council decide to deny the requested Zoning Map Amendment:

1) Approve a motion to deny the application for Zoning Map Amendment

Should the Council decide to approve the requested Zoning Map Amendment:

1) Read Ordinance No. 2021-06 by title only for the final time
2) City Clerk reads Ordinance No. 2021-06 by title only (if approved above)
3) Adopt Ordinance No. 2021-06
Executive Summary:
This item had a public hearing on April 20th.  Council voted to delay voting on the item for two weeks. When the item came before Council again on May 4th, the applicant requested to postpone the discussion for four weeks. This request was approved by Council, hence the item now being scheduled for the June 1st meeting. The applicant continues to work with Staff to make changes to the provisions of the development agreement and further changes are anticipated before the final agenda.

***Staff will provide a revised Development Agreement as a separate document next week and will include it in the final packet when it goes out next week.***

Trinsic Acquisition Company LLC has submitted an application for a Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment to rezone approximately 11 acres located at 151 West High Country Trail from the Estate Residential (ER) zone to the Medium Density Residential (MR) zone for the purpose of a multi-family residential development (Aura Flagstaff).  The development site is already located within the Resource Protection Overlay (RPO).  The Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing on this request on December 9, 2020.  The Commission recommended that the City Council deny this request in a 7-0 vote.
Financial Impact:
The Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment has no financial impact.
Policy Impact:
The Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment has no policy impact.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Safe & Healthy Community
  • Support social services, community partners, and housing opportunities
Sustainable, Innovative Infrastructure
  • Facilitate and develop carbon-neutral energy opportunities
Robust Resilient Economy
  • Support and strengthen a more robust, diverse, and sustainable economy in ways that reflect community values and provides for affordable housing opportunities
Livable Community
  • Create a welcoming community through partnerships, resilient neighborhoods, and civic engagement
  • Provide amenities and activities that support a healthy lifestyle
  • Actively support attainable and affordable housing through City projects and opportunities with developers
Regional Plan
A complete analysis of the Regional Plan goals and policies can be found in the attached project narrative and Planning & Zoning Commission Staff Report, dated November 24, 2020.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
There has been no prior Council decisions made in regard to this application.
Options and Alternatives:
The City Council may approve the ordinance, approve the ordinance with modified conditions, or deny the ordinance.

The Planning & Zoning Commission recommends the City Council, in accordance with the findings, deny the requested Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment for Aura Flagstaff (PZ-20-00008-01). 

At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, staff had recommended the Planning and Zoning Commission, in accordance with the findings presented in the attached report, forward the Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment request to the City Council with a recommendation for approval with the following conditions:
  1. The subject property must be developed in accordance with the approved site plan and the conditions of approval dated August 10, 2020. Modifications (other than minor modifications) to the approved site plan will require an amendment to this Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendment request.
  2. The two parcels must be combined and the approximately 2-acre portion of parcel 112-05-011 located north of High Country Trail shall remain a part of the parcel to the south.
  3. The State archeological database must be updated to reflect the removal of archeological resources on the subject property.
  4. All other requirements of the Zoning Code and other City codes, ordinances, and regulations, shall be met by the proposed development.
  5. All terms, conditions, and restrictions detailed within the “Aura Development Agreement” must be fully satisfied.
  6. In the event the property is rezoned and the Developer fails to obtain final Civil Plan approval within two (2) years of the effective date of the rezoning ordinance, then the City may schedule a public hearing before the City Council for the purpose of causing the zoning on the Property to revert to the former classifications of Rural Residential (RR) and Estate Residential (ER) in accordance with A.R.S. § 9-462.01.
The development site to be rezoned is approximately 11 acres comprised of two contiguous parcels located just west of the intersection of High Country Trail and Lake Mary Road.  The property is a portion of the Auza Family Ranch, historically used for livestock herding between Arizona, Colorado, and California, since before Flagstaff was incorporated.  The Auza property has been impacted by the construction of Interstate 17 at the north end of the property, the bisection of the property by High Country Trail, and an electrical utility easement for the high voltage electrical transmission lines along the south side of High Country Trail.
The Auzas would like to maintain the existing single-family house constructed in the 1980s and located on the north side of High Country Trail.  This Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map amendment proposes to rezone 11 acres, primarily located south of High Country Trail, from Estate Residential (ER) to Medium Density Residential (MR).  The electrical utility easement running along the south side of High Country Trail prohibits any structures from being constructed near the street.  This pushes the proposed development to the far southern portion of the property, adjacent to the existing single-family residential neighborhood.
This project was originally submitted as PZ-17-00218-02 for a 173-unit multifamily residential development with a 16.11 acre project area that included parcels both north and south of High Country Trail.  Concerns were raised by staff regarding the proposed concentration of density, proximity to adjacent single-family homes, and the amount of grading on the site.  After much consideration, Staff arrived at a recommendation of denial.  The Planning and Zoning Commission heard the case on May 22, 2019, and made a recommendation to the City Council of denial.  A recording of this meeting may be reviewed on the City’s website: 
Following the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing, the applicant decided to withdraw the rezoning request.  Council did not hear the case.
Since then the applicant has made significant changes to the project including a change in the parcels requested to be rezoned.  The current application is a request to rezone only two parcels.  One parcel includes some property north of High Country Trail, but the majority of the area (9 out of 11 acres) is located south of the road.  The current proposal has decreased density from 173 to 160 units.  The applicant has increased the setbacks from the adjacent homes.  This has resulted in a significant number of existing trees being saved and dramatically reducing the amount of grading along the south property line.  The current proposal will retain all stormwater on-site in underground vaults, eliminating the need for a deep retention basin in the area set aside as civic space.  This improves the quality of the required public civic space.
Key Considerations:
A draft development agreement has been prepared.  The primary purpose of this agreement is to set out roles and responsibilities in regard to the following (not limited to):
  • Require the property to be maintained as a single parcel
  • Construction and maintenance of the FUTS
  • Administration of the Affordable Housing units
  • Resource Protection easement for the portion of the parcel north of High Country Trail
  • Sustainability density bonus requirements
Staff is requiring an easement over the portion of the property located north of High Country Trail to ensure that the required tree resources located on the property are not removed and to prohibit further development, as any additional development rights/density have been utilized on the southern portion of the parcel.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
Community benefits and considerations related to this request are addressed in more detail in the attached Planning & Zoning Staff Report, dated November 24, 2020.
Community Involvement:
Public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are conducted in conjunction with requests for Direct to Ordinance Zoning Map Amendments.  In accordance with State Statute, a notice of the public hearing was provided by placing an ad in the Daily Sun, posting notices on the property, and mailing a notice to all property owners within 1,000 feet (exceeding the minimum of 300 feet) of the site excluding rights-of-way.
The developer held two neighborhood meetings in regard to this case on March 23, 2020, and July 1, 2020.  Both meetings were held virtually due to the pandemic.  Per the meeting sign-in, approximately thirty-five (35) individuals attended both meetings.  Citizen Participation summaries, attached, were prepared in response to the questions, comments and concerns presented. The meetings included a presentation from the developer and a question-and-answer session where questions could be typed into the chat.  Comments on the project included the following topics: the area north of the road, open space requirements, traffic impacts, stormwater, views, and tree resources.
Two emails from the public have been received as of the writing of the staff report.  The emails are from neighbors opposed to the development.  Staff also received a letter from the president of the Ponderosa Trails HOA informing staff that a poll of the property owners was conducted and resulted in 88% of respondents opposing the rezoning, 11% in favor, and 1.5% did not have an opinion either way.  Copies of the correspondence are attached.
P&Z Commission Staff Report
Aura - Fence Plan
Draft Development Agreement
Aura Staff Presentation
Area Context Map
Ord. 2021-06
Ex. A Legal Description
Legal Notices
Project Narrative and Regional Plan Analysis
Citizen Participation Plan and Reports
Emails/Letters from Public
01_Site Plans
02_Site Plans and Resource Protection
03_Apartment Bldg Floor Plans
04_Common Bldg Floor Plans
05_Building Elevations
06_Sign and Landscape Plans


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