All major development projects are not alike. Some projects come before City Council and have a lot of public input, for and against. We have hours-long Council meetings about traffic and the neighborhood impact, design, lighting, etc.
But other significant developments do not come before Council at all.
The difference is the zoning of the property in question. If the property is zoned to allow the proposed use, then the Council has no authority to deny the use as long as the zoning requirements are met (i.e. parking, landscaping, height, etc.).
For example, the Marriott Hotel downtown does not require Council approval. A hotel is one of the many uses that is already allowed on that land. The apartment complex being proposed for the Catholic school property between Humphreys and Beaver Streets does not need Council approval. Apartments are an allowed use on that land. The uses, requirements and limitations for these properties are already set and have been for years.
Legally, the city cannot decrease your zoning rights without compensating you. For instance, if the city were to decide that no new building in the downtown commercial area could exceed two stories, the city would have to pay every property owner for their loss in property value.
It is a different picture when the project wants a change of zoning. Take the example of the Standard apartment complex that was proposed for West Route 66 across from Galaxy Diner. The project promoters wanted to change a portion of their land zoning from mobile homes to apartments. That brought the project before Council and brought out a lot of public comment. It did not move forward.
The Standard has now let go of the mobile home parcel and is moving forward with much the same project, but only on land already zoned for apartments. So, it will not come before Council this time. FBN
By Jerry Nabours
Jerry Nabours is the Mayor of Flagstaff. Any opinions in this column are those of Jerry Nabours and not necessarily the views of the City Council