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12425 West Bell Road, Suite D-100

Surprise, Arizona 85374


July 18, 2006




Call to Order:


The Planning and Zoning Commission Workshop Meeting began at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Classroom, 12425 West Bell Road, Suite D100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, July 18, 2006.


Roll Call:


In attendance were Commissioners Jan Blair, Skip Hall, Antonio Segarra, Lyn Truitt, and Fred Watts.  Vice Chairman Randy Nachtigall was absent.


Staff Present:


Chris Schmaltz representing Interim City Attorney Andrew McGuire; City Deputy Attorney George Riemer; Assistant Fire Chief Clint Mills; City Planner Janice See; City Planner Dennis Dorch; City Planner Nicole Green-Catten; City Planner Adam Copeland; City Planner Lance Ferrell; City Planner Bart Wingard; Planning & Community Development Director Scott Chesney; and Planning and Zoning Commission Secretary Carol Dager




Planning and Community Development Director Scott Chesney provided information about the major elements involved in the General Plan.  He talked briefly about the community feedback received at the General Plan Open House held at the Library on July 17, 2006. 


One of the topics discussed at the Open House included land use and the benefits of commercial employment:


·     Minimize negative impacts of lights, traffic, and noise.

·     Encourage commercial development as an integrate use in a PAD or Mixed Use Development

·     Ensure sufficient locations for well designed office/institutional uses.

·     Encourage office uses to locate in planned office parks or in cluster development.

·     Office development as land use buffer between higher intensity commercial and/or industrial uses from residential.

·     Enable neighborhood scale commercial uses.

·     Distribution of trip productions and attractions.

·     Avoid conflicts between land uses

·     Create commercial range buffers for community commercial modes and neighborhood commercial centers.


Director Chesney noted that the consistent message from the residents was that they want to see a “downtown Surprise,” a neighborhood-based program, and urban centers.  The City should create an identity and develop vibrancy.


Discussion on recreation included: 

            Existing amenities:

·     City of Surprise Recreational Campus

·     City of Surprise Aquatics Campus

·     Various Parks/Open Space Areas


Proposed amenities:

·     City of Surprise Tennis Facility

·     Lizard Run Recreational Complex

·     City of Surprise Youth Baseball Complex


Director Chesney mentioned that a trail plan is in process for the City Council to adopt within the next year.  This is a joint effort; Mark Coronado of the Recreation Department started the project.  Planning will be expanding on their work, focusing on the funding and implementation of the amenities.  Residents also commented that they feel there is a need for soccer fields.


There was some discussion on the prevalent use of retention areas as open space, which decreases the actual available open space for use.  Retention areas should be identified separate from an open space.  Requirements need to be changed for open space use to include an active and passive open space element. 


Next discussed was the Community Design Benefits:

·     Coordinated street amenities enhance the pedestrian experience.

·     Amenities become focal points for pedestrians.

·     Community character is achieved through design details.

·     Establishes a distinctive image for the City.

·     Creates a visual point of entry for commercial/residential areas.

·     Visually appealing to vehicular pedestrian movement.


Comments from residents included that they would like to see interesting buildings, creating character for the City, and providing shade structures.  Urban shade pieces are becoming an important detail in community design. 


Director Chesney mentioned that the City Council recently adopted a variance allowing religious institutions to use A-frame signs over the weekends.  The City is in the process of updating the sign code for consistency. 


Commissioner Truitt suggested that perhaps there should be some basic policies for signage that could be administrative rather than requiring Planning and Zoning Commission approval.


Director Chesney agreed that administrative action could be implemented with semiannual or annual review by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Another process will create a consent agenda for the Commission.


Discussion on Cultural Layers included:

·     Present Resources:  West Valley Art Museum and Heard Museum

·     Future Facility:  Proposed Performing Arts Facility (adjacent to Surprise Recreation Campus)

·     Proposed Future Resources: Symphonic Orchestra and Theater Groups


Discussion on Revitalization included:

·     Revitalization efforts in the OTS include providing affordable housing and community services through a variety of building types.

·     Community Care Campus

·     Lizard Run

·     Johnson Town Homes

·     Bell Mirage


Director Chesney indicated that redevelopment/revitalization is being looked at in a different light.  He talked about the Sam’s Club project which is being considered at the corner of Bell Road and SR303 and currently going through a rezone.  Because the City views this as an important corner far into the future, we are talking to the applicant about reevaluating the use of the site after 10 years.


He next discussed public facilities, noting that Planning is working towards ensure the City’s projects go through the same process as other projects. 


The City is working towards…

·     Creating and maintaining a high level of public safety services and facilities in the community.

·     Ensuring that schools are built to adequately provide for growing communities.

·     Encouraging community bonding through the use of senior and recreation centers.


Transportation – establishing on-road bike lanes or off-road multi-use paths throughout the planning area will provide improved circulation.  Multi-use path connections to the adjacent washes will provide a link to local multi-use facilities as well as to planned regional multi-use recreational facilities.  A study of regional passenger service on rail line systems is underway.


Discussion on Environmental Elements included:

·     Wash preservation

·     Hillside preservation

·     Archeological resources

·     Noise impacts

·     Water resources

·     Air quality

·     Biological resources

·     Desert preservation


Director Chesney expanded on the desert preservation concerns, noting the environmentally sensitive areas: natural wildlife habitat, scientific, scenic, wilderness recreation, historic, agricultural lands, and natural hazard critical areas. 


He provided some history about neighborhood planning, noting the hierarchy of uses that were once considered in planning.  He talked about pedestrian walking distances and major pedestrian sidewalks when creating a neighborhood community.   Low, medium, and high density residential communities were discussed and how each can play a role when planned properly.


The meeting continued with discussion on various issues regarding creating areas of high density that would promote viewsheds,  Commission influence on projects, developers using the new transect idea, and standards and guidelines for reviewing projects. 


Some discussion regarding the Surprise Vision 2025 activities and the tentative meeting dates for 2006:


Open House:  July 17, 2006

Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing:  October 4, 2006

Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing:  November 21, 2006

City Council Public Hearing:  December 14, 2006




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.




Hearing no further business, the Planning and Zoning Commission workshop meeting was adjourned on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 6:50 p.m.





       Scott R. Chesney, Director

       Planning/Community Development Department