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Updating County Community Development Plans

Coconino County Community Development has been working to update the county subdivision ordinance, the county zoning ordinance and community area plans.

Community development staff, with the assistance of a consultant, completed a draft update to the county subdivision ordinance, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 21. This two-year project had significant input from a citizen advisory group, including local design and development professionals and planning and zoning commissioners. The subdivision ordinance update was initiated to address the goals of the comprehensive plan with the concept of integrated conservation design, which encourages conservation areas and protects environmentally sensitive features.

The subdivision ordinance update also incentivizes planned subdivisions to avoid wildcat parcel splitting and includes increased flexibility and clarifications for plat amendments, adjustments, phased development and vested rights. It requires fire-wise design and weed mitigation and includes clarifications on development agreements and financial assurances, including warranties.

The Board of Supervisors directed community development staff to rewrite the zoning ordinance, as it has not been updated since 1984. This update, managed internally by county planning and zoning staff, was crafted by a Community Development Advisory Group (CDAG), a technical advisory group and during study sessions by the planning and zoning commission and work sessions by the Board of Supervisors.

The update is guided by the goals and policies of the county’s comprehensive plan and the implementation plan. These plans direct community development to modernize the zoning ordinance to further implement the goals and policies of the comprehensive plan.

The process is nearing completion, with a public open house tentatively scheduled for July 18. Public hearings with the Planning and Zoning Commission and the county Board of Supervisors will be scheduled in the late summer/early fall 2019.

An update to the Bellemont Area Plan will also be wrapping up this summer and fall with public hearings scheduled by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

With leadership from District 3 Supervisor Matt Ryan, the content of the plan was developed by staff, the committee and with public input, which was an essential component to creating and updating the plan.

The plan includes a vision as well as goals and policies that establish direction for the future development and conservation of the area. Staff led the committees in a series of exercises about place-making and visioning for the community’s future, as well as inviting experts to speak to the group on a variety of topics. The Bellemont area plan update coincides with the Joint Land Use Study, a strategic planning process partnering Camp Navajo with the Naval Observatory, City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, the Forest Service and others to develop a plan that will ensure continued community and military compatibility.

The processes for the update of the zoning ordinance, the subdivision ordinance and the community area plans are crucial to vibrancy and strength of Coconino County communities. They guide future growth and set clear expectations for developers, the business community and residents. Coconino County and community development greatly appreciate the input and collaboration that went into these plans. FBN

By Jay Christelman

Jay Christelman is the community development director for Coconino County.

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