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PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

 

12425 W. BELL ROAD, SUITE D-100

SURPRISE, AZ 85374

 

March 15, 2005

 

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

 

Call to Order:

 

Chairman Ken Senft called the Regular Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting to order at 6:08 p.m. at the Surprise City Hall12425 West Bell Road, Suite D-100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, March 15, 2005.

 

 

Roll Call:

 

Also in attendance with Chairman Senft were Commissioners Robert Gonzalez, Daniel Morris and Antonio Segarra.  Vice-Chair Jan Blair was absent; also absent were Commissioners Randy Nachtigall and Skip Hall.

 

 

Staff Present:

 

Deputy City Attorney Carla Bastian; Planning and Zoning Manager Robert Millspaw; City Planner Stephanie Wilson; City Planner Andrew Jochums, and Planning and Zoning Division Secretary Gilda M. Tangtam.

 

 

Council Members Present:

 

There were no council members present.

 

 

Approval of Minutes:

 

The minutes of the March 1, 2005 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting were approved as submitted.

 

 

Presentations:

 

There were no presentations.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

  • Item #1:  RZ04-331- Consideration and Action – Rezoning Petition – Habitat for Humanity.

 

Planner Wilson gave a brief presentation to the commission on the petition.  She noted that the property was formerly owned by the City of Surprise and deeded over to Habitat for Humanity on June 6, 2004.

 

Dan Lundberg, Community Initiatives Director, briefly presented a description of the project, noting that it meets Council’s goals for infill projects.  He also provided basic information regarding the Habitat for Humanity program and participant eligibility requirements.

 

Commissioners inquired about restrictions and the Home Owners Association, and had questions concerning requirements for applicants and number of family members allowed in the residence.  The Commission also expressed concern of the impact of three residences on surrounding businesses.

 

Commissioner Gonzalez had questions about first and second mortgages.

 

Doug Parker, a Habitat for Humanity representative, provided a brief overview of the Habitat for Humanity program, qualification requirements, and discussed how they manage property mortgages.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.

 

Al Beachy,19005 N. Welk Dr., Sun City AZ; expressed his appreciation for the work Habitat for Humanity is doing, but outlined his concern about the impact of the project on other businesses in the area and that the entire area becoming a residential area.

 

Dave Fischel, 7802 Weathersfield, Peoria, AZ; stated that he owns 3 lots located just west of the project site.  He stated that he does not see the compatibility of residential property with existing land uses in the area.  He also commented on the Original Townsite Plan and the mixed-use gateway concept, stating that he was told by the City that the OTS Plan would provide more latitude for considering different types of land uses.  He stated that a lot of businesses along Grand Avenue predate the zoning ordinances and would not conform to the present day C-2 regulations.

 

Paula Forrester, 16333 W. Escondido Ct., Surprise, AZ; expressed concern that the residences would be non-compatible with land uses in the area.  She opined that approving the item would place three families in a situation where they would be surrounded by commercial land uses.  She asked what type of commercial land uses were in the area.

 

In response to questions concerning the overlay district, Planner Wilson explained that the Original Townsite (OTS) Overlay District ordinance was recently approved by Council to provide opportunities for redevelopment activities in this area.  She noted that the ordinance is designed to provide relief from somewhat restrictive area and yard requirements contained in the zoning ordinance.  She expressed concern that without the relief provided by the OTS ordinance that many non-conforming uses could be created.  She mentioned the possibility of the City processing a General Plan Amendment for the area, and noted that the overlay district regulations should benefit Mr. Beachy.

 

Mr. Beachy stated he is personally opposed to the project as presented.

 

Hearing no further comment, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Chairman Senft asked what would happen if the zoning petition were not approved.  Mr. Lundberg explained that the Request for Proposals (RFP) already completed would have to be redone, and the property would likely be deeded back to the City.  He explained that someone else could bid on the property and win that bid away from Habitat for Humanity.  He briefly discussed the in-kind grant for $300,000 that was negotiated with the County to use towards the project.  He noted that the site was once considered for use as a safe house.  He noted that there might be several unanswered legal issues concerning the RFP process if the zoning were not approved.

 

Commissioner Segarra asked if the project would be brought before the Commission as a preliminary plat petition.  Planner Wilson responded that platting the parcel is considered by the code to be a minor land division, which are handled administratively.

 

Commissioner Segarra suggested erecting a 7-foot high block wall around the perimeter of the project to buffer it from the adjacent commercial land uses and traffic noise on Grand Avenue.

 

Commissioner Morris asked for clarification of what was meant by ‘mixed use gateway’ to the City of Surprise.

 

Planner Wilson stated that the mixed-use gateway designation is contained in the General Plan, and stated that this particular area is not suitable for the mix of land uses envisioned in the Plan, as there are several problems inherent for one developer to assemble parcels to develop a project as one unified development.

 

Chairman Senft opined that he does not want to see residential land uses facing onto Grand Avenue, but noted that the proposed project would be an improvement in the area.  He asked about increasing the height of a block wall around the residences to provide additional screening from traffic, noise and adjacent commercial land uses.  He asked if the Revitalization Committee had reviewed the project and if they had submitted any comments.

 

Mr. Lundberg stated that they unanimously supported the project as it was proposed.

 

Hearing no further comment, Commissioner Segarra made a motion to recommend approval of RZ04-331, a Rezoning Petition for Habitat for Humanity, and proposed a stipulation to require a 7-foot block wall be erected around the perimeter of the project.  The motion died for lack of a second.

 

Commissioner Morris made a motion to deny RZ04-331, a rezoning petition for Habitat for Humanity.  Commissioner Gonzales seconded the motion.  The motion failed on a tie vote, with Commissioner Segarra and Chairman Senft voting in favor of the motion to deny, and Commissioners Morris and Gonzales voting in opposition to the motion.

 

Deputy City Attorney Bastain recommended continuing this item to the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

 

Commissioner Morris made a motion to continue RZ04-331, a rezoning petition for Habitat for Humanity, to the April 5, 2005 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.  Commissioner Gonzales seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

Chairman Senft suggested that the members of the Planning Commission visit other Habitat for Humanity sites prior to the April 5th meeting and asked staff to provide the Commission with addresses of these properties.

 

Commissioner Morris stated that he wanted a discussion on the setbacks permitted under the OTS ordinance.  Planner Wilson responded that the OTS does not establish hard setback limits; rather it is up to the Planning Commission and City Council to determine what requirements are appropriate on a site by site basis.

 

 

                                                               NEW BUSINESS:                                                  

 

  • Item #2:  RS04-215 – Consideration and action to approve rural subdivision plat of 'TLC Ranch'.

 

Planner Wilson presented the project to the commission with the staff recommendation to approve the rural subdivision for 'TLC Ranch,’ subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘j’ as contained in the ‘Recommendations’ section of the staff report.

 

Commissioners Morris and Gonzalez had questions regarding whether the project was located within a flood zone.  Planner Wilson stated that the project was not within a flood zone.

 

Commissioner Gonzales asked about access to the property, and the distance between the project and 219th Avenue.  Planner Wilson described the easement that will access the project and noted that it will have to comply with the City Engineer’s standards.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.  Hearing no comment, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Hearing no further comments, Commissioner Morris made a motion to recommend approval of RS04-215, a rural subdivision plat of 'TLC Ranch'.  Commissioner Segarra seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

  • Item #3:  PADA04-349 – Canyon Ridge West – Consideration and Action – Major Amendment to the Canyon Ridge West PAD.

 

Planner Jochums gave a brief presentation on the proposal, stating that staff recommended approval of a major amendment to The Villages at Canyon Ridge West Planned Area Development, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘f’.

 

Commissioner Gonzalez had questions concerning density of the project.

 

Michael Elsonhugh, a project applicant, stated that the project was designed to retain as much open space as possible, so that the density of the project was designed to be vertical.  The residences may be 3-stories in height.

 

Commissioner Gonzales asked about the number of revisions made to the PAD, noting the 1997 and 2001 plan revisions.  He questioned why the master plans were changed so many times and suggested staff take a look at applicants having the ability to modify master plans.

 

Planner Jochums stated that zoning ordinances are designed to be living documents, and they are modified to meet changes in the market.  He added that the project proposed complies with Council-approved medium density requirements.

 

Dave Maldonado, a project architect, stated that the revisions have been due to the changing product demands of the market, as well as City efforts to realign and reconfigure the major arterials in the area.  He provided a brief presentation on the uniqueness of project and the architecture style of the residences.

 

Clare Abel, 702 E. Osborn Rd, Suite 200, Phoenix AZ; the project proponent, explained that the original PAD approved showed a portion of this site for development into a hospital and related medical uses.  Their efforts to site a hospital here have not met with success.  They also realized that a hospital on this site would not be a very compatible land use, since emergency operations associated with hospitals are inherently noisy.  She noted that the product proposed would provide a buffer between the commercial land uses to the south and low-density residential land uses to the north.

 

Commissioner Segarra asked about the drainage problem on 115th Avenue.   Planner Jochums explained that improvements are currently being made by the developer and that improvements will continue.

 

Commissioner Morris questioned the traffic on 115th Avenue and traffic impacts to the area.  Planner Jochums stated that the impact of this project on traffic on Bell Road has been considered.  He noted that a commercial site of the same size would produce more traffic than if the site were downzoned to the residential land uses proposed.

 

Commissioner Segarra opined that he is uncomfortable with permitting more houses in this area until the Bell Road problems are solved.  Planner Jochums offered potential solutions to access Bell Road from the project site.

 

The Commission discussed provisions for guest parking, ADA compliance and the location for trash cans.  Mr. Maldonado responded to the Commission’s concerns regarding the placement of trash cans, stating that they would be screened from view.

 

Commissioner Gonzales questioned the potential for EMF radiation to harm residents that come from nearby high voltage power lines.  Mr. Elsonhugh stated that studies to date have found that this is not an issue.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.

 

Paula Forrester, 16333 W. Escondido Ct. Surprise, AZ; pointed out to commission this was the opportunity not to change C to R, stating that rezoning to residential will only bring more people and traffic to the area.  She stated that 185 new homes will bring 370 new vehicles to the area, and that number might be higher if there are a lot of teenagers.  She expressed doubt that a hospital would be interested in locating next to high voltage power lines because of interference with medical equipment.  She stated she would like to see a study of EMF radiation prepared by someone other than the home builders.  She commented that schools are currently not being able to keep up with the number of new students.  She requested that the Commission not rezone the property.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Morris made a motion to recommend approval of the Amendment to the Canyon Ridge West PAD, subject to stipulations a through f.  Commissioner Gonzales seconded the motion.  The motion failed on a tie vote, with Commissioners Morris and Gonzales voting in favor of the motion to approve, and Commissioner Segarra and Chairman Senft voting in opposition to the motion.

 

Chairman Senft made a motion to forward the Amendment to the Canyon Ridge West PAD to the City Council with no recommendation from the Planning Commission.  Commissioner Segarra seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

  • Item #4:  PP04-350 – Consideration and Action to approve Preliminary Plat of The Villages at Canyon Ridge.

 

Planner Jochums gave a brief presentation on the proposal, stating that staff recommended approval of the Preliminary Plat of The Villages at Canyon Ridge, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘f’.  He stated that many of the issues discussed under Item #3 also pertain to this item.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.

 

Paula Forrester, 16333 W. Escondido Ct. Surprise, AZ; reiterated what was said during the discussion on Item #3.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Chairman Senft made a motion to forward the Preliminary Plat of The Villages at Canyon Ridge to the Council with no recommendation from the Planning Commission.  Commissioner Segarra seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

  • Item #5:  SP04-386 – Consideration and action to approve the site plan for The Retreat at West Point Apartments.

 

Planner Jochums gave a brief presentation on the proposal, stating that staff recommended approval of the site plan for The Retreat at West Point Apartments, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ’m’.

 

Ed Bull representing applicant Jason O’Clair was present and made himself available to answer questions from the commissioners.

 

Chairman Senft initiated discussion about the lack of connectivity and striping on walkways.  David Loo of Foursite Development illustrated the pedestrian connectivity on the map on the overhead.  There was also a discussion about different alternatives for walkways other than painted striping.

 

Planner Jochums asked the Commission if they wanted to stipulate that a special concrete treatment be utilized to identify the walkways and pedestrian connectivity within the site.

 

Mr. Bull stated that they had no objections to using concrete with exposed aggregate for pedestrian connectivity.

 

Commissioner Gonzales asked if the community would be age restricted.  Mr. Bull responded that it would not be age restricted.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.

 

Paula Forrester, 16333 W. Escondido Ct. Surprise, AZ; stated that she wanted assurances that each unit would be rented to only one family.  Chairman Senft replied that this project is not similar to a congregate care project that the Commission reviewed and considered late last year.

 

Hearing no further comments, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Segarra made the motion to approve the site plan for the Retreat at West Point Apartments, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘m’, and with an added stipulation ‘n’ to address pedestrian connectivity within the apartment complex.  Commissioner Gonzalez seconded the motion.  The motion was approved by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Morris voting no (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

  • Item #6:  SP04-398 – Consideration and action to approve the site plan for the Brookside Bell Professional Plaza.

 

Planner Jochums gave a brief presentation on the proposal, stating that staff recommended approval of the site plan for The Brookside Bell Professional Plaza, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ’l’.

 

Commissioner Segarra commented on the similarity of project to other commercial projects and expressed concern about the same design theme being used again and again.

 

Planner Jochums stated that the developer of this project is the same developer of the project adjacent to the post office across the street, and noted that the design is similar, but that the buildings are of a different character.  He noted that developers are required to build according to a specific theme identified for the site.

 

Chairman Senft opined that the architecture of the project looked good.

 

Planner Jochums stated that there would be an additional stipulation added (stipulation ‘l’) to require the applicant to participate with the fair share of the cost of improvements to the drive access and associated deceleration lane located along the western property line of the project site.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.  Hearing no comment, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Segarra moved to approve the site plan for the Brookside Bell Professional Plaza.  Commissioner Morris seconded the motion subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘l’.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

  • Item #7:  SP05-036 – Consideration and action to approve a site plan for Checker Auto Parts at Surprise Crossings.

 

Planner Jochums gave a brief presentation on the proposal, stating that staff recommended approval of the site plan for Checker Auto Parts at Surprise Crossings, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ’l’.

 

Commissioner Senft commented on the opportunity to resize the parking spaces to meet the recently adopted requirement of 10 x 20 spaces, noting that there would be ample space to do so since the site is overparked.  Planner Jochums responded stating that the original master plan was approved some time ago with the older standard of 9 x 18, and that more than 75 percent of the project had been developed utilizing this standard.  He questioned making a part of the site comply with the new standard when the remainder of the site was utilizing a different standard.

 

Commissioner Morris had questions about tile on building.  Planner Jochums replied that the design of the building did not include the use of tile.

 

Chairman Senft opened the meeting to receive public comment.  Hearing no comment, Chairman Senft closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Segarra made a motion to approve the site plan for Checker Auto Parts at Surprise Crossings, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ’l’.  Commissioner Morris seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously (Commissioners Blair, Hall and Nachtigall were absent).

 

 

                                                    CURRENT EVENTS REPORT:                                      

 

Planning and Zoning Manager Robert Millspaw briefly discussed the Commercial Project report that was distributed to the commissioners.

 

Planning and Zoning Manager Robert Millspaw distributed copies of the 2004 Annual Report of the Community and Economic Development Department to the Commission for their review.

 

Planning and Zoning Manager Robert Millspaw introduced Adam Copeland and stated that Adam was promoted into the position vacated by Lee Lambert.

 

Commissioner Gonzalez asked is there is any way to provide information on high voltage power line radiation.  Planner Jochums volunteered to research this issue and will provide information to the Commission at their next meeting.

 

Commissioner Segarra commented he does not like the use of the word “appears” in staff report when discussing regulatory compliance issues.  He would like to see a more definitive response, such as the project “does” or “does not” meet the requirements.

 

Chairman Senft briefly discussed letter from Paul Gilbert regarding the Cactus Lane Ranch project.  He opined that the Commission wants lots with a minimum of one acre to provide a buffer between the proposed development and the large horse properties to the north.

 

                                                    OPEN CALL TO THE PUBLIC:                                       

 

Note:  During this time members of the public may address the Commission on any item not on the agenda.  At the conclusion of the open call, Commissioners may respond to criticism, may ask staff to review the matter, or may ask that the matter be put on a future agenda.  No discussion or action shall take place on any item raised.

 

Chairman Senft called to the public to discuss any issues that are not on the agenda.  There was no one in the audience that approached the Commission with any issue for discussion.

 

                  CONSIDERATION AND ACTION TO HOLD AN EXECUTIVE SESSION:    

 

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3), the Planning and Zoning Commission may go into executive session with the City Attorney for legal advice on any item listed on the agenda.

 

There was no request made to call for an executive session.

 

 

                                                               ADJOURNMENT:                                                              

 

Hearing no further business, Chairman Ken Senft adjourned the regular Planning and Zoning Commission meeting of Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 9:50 p.m.

 

 

 

______________________________

Philip A. Testa, Director

Community Development Department

 

 

 

_________________________________

P&Z Commission Chairman Ken Senft