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Was the Hub Stopped?

Jerry NaboursYou are going to see a major apartment building under construction this summer behind Granny’s Closet. You may think (because of a well-publicized campaign to “Stop the Hub”) that the City Council voted that down.

Well, you would be right and wrong, and this all has to do with zoning codes. The Hub purchased the property and is entitled by the current zoning code to build a four- to five- story apartment structure. The current zoning code and the flood plain mandates a plain foundation wall along Mike’s Pike.

The Hub requested a zoning change to allow the structure to be built with three stories on the street and a row of shops along Mike’s Pike, lending an “urban environment” to the area. Because the Hub requested a zoning change, the city was able to request concessions that would make the project more appealing. In the case of the Hub, the city was also getting a $500,000 contribution toward a southside parking garage.

So, what happened? Because of protests from some of the adjacent property owners, six Council votes were required to change the zoning. Remember, if the zoning was not changed, the Hub would have the right to build its original five-story plan. Well, the “Stop the Hub” campaign worked in that the zoning change received only four votes in favor of the rezoning. But, in fact, that vote did not stop the Hub, it merely created a situation where the Hub has reverted to its original plan and zoning rights. That’s why in the coming months you will be seeing construction of a five-story apartment building with no storefronts.

I voted for the zoning change, thinking that the rezone would create a more appealing structure, not to mention the parking contribution.

Every person or entity that purchases a parcel of land has the right to build something. That has to be considered when addressing a zoning change request. Sometimes a zoning change results in a better, more attractive use.

By Jerry Nabours

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6 Responses to Was the Hub Stopped?

  1. Rob Wilson May 3, 2016 at 5:47 PM #

    Those that voted against the re-zone demonstrated a severe lack of judgement and vision. The result will be a structure not nearly as nice as it could have been. Perhaps it should be named the BEP (Barotz, Evans, Putzova) eyesore since they are the ones responsible for it. They also misled the citizens they work for into believing that a No vote would somehow stop the project. We need leaders on council that have the ability to recognize what is best for FLG. Sometimes, that will leave some folks disappointed. True leaders are able to convey to those folks the reasons behind their decisions and don’t hide behind false promises.

  2. JK May 3, 2016 at 7:22 PM #

    Thanks Mayor for all of your hard work. Sadly the obstructionists on city council voted against a much better project and so Flagstaff will be stuck with a monolithic eyesore. When election time rolls around I sure hope the voters remember how the two Mayoral candidates voted on this issue.

  3. LaVelle McCoy May 4, 2016 at 3:47 PM #

    I am amazed that a community that is so conscious about aesthetic development would scuttle the Hub’s zoning request or should I say “the three amigas” who seemingly just oppose any development they don’t like regardless of its benefits.

    • Mike Chadburn August 18, 2016 at 3:28 PM #

      Seemingly, a very unfair observation of the facts…

  4. Marie Jones May 14, 2016 at 12:39 PM #

    Mayor Nabour’s May 3 column oversimplifies a complex situation, however one that Flagstaff residents are fully capable of understanding.

    Certainly, the Hub’s developer can build on their property. They can elect to use either transect or traditional zoning. Using traditional zoning, they could build the very large building they designed, but they would be obliged to provide much more parking in this already parking-stressed neighborhood.

    However the developer did not choose traditional zoning—they chose transect zoning, which requires them to design building forms that are in scale and context with the existing historic neighborhood. In exchange for doing so, they would have been permitted to provide the reduced parking they desired.

    In other words, Core Campus sought the benefits of transect zoning without complying with its rules. The Mayor and Council Members Brewster, Oravitz and Overton were satisfied with that uneven exchange; the community was not. Three council members—Vice Mayor Barotz, Council Members Evans and Putzova— heard the overwhelming community concern and voted accordingly.

    The Mayor’s column ignored the possibility that city staff has misinterpreted our zoning code at a critical moment. If staff approves the second site plan from Core Campus, however, a window of appeal will open. The path then is through the Board of Adjustmen, and then the courts, if necessary. Much is at stake.

    No one has suggested that the developer should not build on their property, only that they must follow the regulations that every other person or developer in Flagstaff must follow. The Mayor owes it to our community to both understand and tell the whole story.

    Marie Jones
    Chair, Stand Up for Flagstaff

  5. Mike Chadburn August 18, 2016 at 3:26 PM #

    A BIG Amen, Marie Jones!

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