CITY OF SURPRISE
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Bell Road, Suite D-100
Surprise, Arizona 85374
July 17, 2007
Call to Order:
Chairman Lyn Truitt called the Planning and Zoning Commission workshop meeting to order at 5 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall, 12425 West Bell Road, Suite D100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, July 17, 2007.
In attendance were Commissioners
Richard Alton, Jan Blair, Jesse Conn, John Hallin, Steve Somers, Lyn Truitt and Fred Watts.
Scott Chesney, Planning and Community Development Director, presented
an overview of the Economic Position Framework, a study prepared by Vandewalle and
Associates, which assists in identifying the economic opportunities that have
the greatest potential for growth in Surprise.
With an estimated population of 4 million in 2006, the Phoenix region is the 13th largest metro area in the United States; and Surprise, with a
population of 100,000 is the 11th largest city in Arizona. The population of
Surprise could reach 400,000 by 2030, making it the 4th largest city
The building blocks of a Regional Economic Foundation
Rapid population growth and growth-based economy
Sonoran desert landscape and warm climate attraction
Primary United States destination for retirees/”boomers”
Global trade connections
Southwest United States economic relationships
State capital and major university synergies
The key place-based assets:
Available/affordable land within the Valley
Affordable cost of living within the Valley
Expansive mountain views
Intact native desert environment
Extensive state trust lands
Powerful electric grid infrastructure
State-of-the-art Surprise Stadium
Regional waste management facilities
Concentrated “boomer” knowledge and capital
Cutting edge healthcare and wellness infrastructure
Rapidly expanding tech IQ/intellectual capital
Growing young, educated workforce
Recognized business-friendly environment
Solid rail infrastructure
Superior internet connectivity and capacity
PHOENIX METRO AREA ASSETS
Global air transportation
World class higher education system
Strong finance sector
Leading aerospace, defense, and vehicle research and development
Well-established semiconductor and electronics cluster
Director Chesney discussed how the various North Valley and Hassayampa Valley areas could connect to Surprise, allowing the City to become
an economic metropolitan/urban trade area for approximately three million
Place-Based Economic Opportunities:
Grow Emerging Economic Clusters
Sustainable city development and high performance
Medical/biomedical research and development
Renewable energy and energy conservation technology
Water use research and development
Eco- and experience-based tourism
Waste stream utilization technology
Vehicle/aircraft engine technology research and testing
Build Innovation Capacity
Become a centerpoint of “open innovation” and technology transfer
Boost academic and corporate research
Capitalize on knowledge and resources of the “boomers”
Facilitate new business development
Secure capital and finance
Enhance Economic Climate and Quality of Life
Getting it right the first time: proactively plan for and manage
development of a dynamic, vibrant city in a unique desert environment.
Provide choices: jobs, lifestyle, housing, recreation, health and
Strengthen regional connections: promote passenger rail, plan Grand Avenue, complete key regional highway connections, and install communications
Develop “smart city” infrastructure – internet connectivity and
reliable and clean power.
Foster life-long learning and higher education opportunities.
Director Chesney next talked about regional connections; how
Surprise can connect to various places; expanding beyond the “live, work, and
Promoting implementation of a passenger rail system that
includes a line extending from Surprise to Phoenix, connecting with major
activity centers in Peoria, Glendale, downtown Phoenix, Sky Harbor International Airport, and ASU at Tempe.
In addition to providing critical transportation options to
residents and businesses in Surprise, this initiative provides opportunities to
create dynamic, transit oriented development at key stops in Surprise,
consistent with the goals in the City’s General Plan.
Improving Grand Avenue as a key arterial parkway serving
as the Northwest Valley’s “Great Street.” Because Grand Avenue serves as a
central spine for both Surprise and the Northwest Valley, it should be
developed as a multi-modal parkway prominently featuring continuous native
landscaping and designed to promote concentrations of mixed-use, multi-modal
activity centers at its key nodes.
Successful implementation of the Surprise Economic
Positioning Framework hinges on identifying strategic areas within the
community where the key Place-based Economic Opportunities can develop and
grow. Five strategic areas in Surprise emerged with the greatest potential for
catalyzing economic growth, helping to Shape a Dynamic City of Choice and Opportunity.
Innovation and research Park at Surprise Center
Mixed-use project incorporating a City Hall campus, medical
facilities, an office
park, and retail.
Combines with surrounding assets in transportation, cultural
resources, recreation, and housing.
Offer an ideal setting to build ASU’s physical presence in
Ability to attract businesses and employment.
Intersections of the rail line with Bell Road and with Greenway Road – and loop/feeder buses connecting them directly to the activity areas
within Surprise Center.
Energy Innovation Center
Establish large research and development facilities focused on
solar energy, waste to-energy conversion, distributed energy, energy conservation,
Partner with the Arizona State Land department to strategically
plan for the commercial use of Trust lands to help establish this Innovation Center.
Successful business start-ups in Surprise Center focused on
renewable energy technology that need room to grow should be targeted for this
Businesses that are incubated at the Innovation and Research Center at Surprise
Center and positioned for future
growth should be targeted for eventual permanent locations in Uptown Surprise.
Prime candidate for a major rail station and interchange with Grand Avenue.
Promote TOD and concentrations of activity and density while
preserving washes and other natural features throughout the landscape.
White Tanks Gateway
Offers a unique opportunity for Surprise to expand its
eco-tourism and resort and executive living offerings.
North slope of the mountain of the White Tanks Gateway should
capitalize on the visual, environmental, recreational and adjacent real estate
Celebrate this unique desert and foothills environment with a
Will provide sustainable, development form through the use of
open space preservation and clustering.
Regional rail transshipment hub where goods sent in bulk to the
Phoenix-area via the BNSF rail line can be offloaded, broken down, and shipped
by local trains and over road to destinations in the Valley.
BNSF is developing a 700-acre site along their line west of 211th Avenue with the intention of consolidating its many smaller transshipment facilities
located in the Valley.
Will create a demand for adjoining operations Including large
scale warehousing and distribution terminals, wholesale businesses, and enhance
and include “value added” businesses.
Director Chesney mentioned that to accomplish these tasks,
an implementation management project team will be established. These
implementation teams will be responsible for coordinating overall management
and implementation of the following items:
Refine the plan for the innovation and Research Park at Surprise Center.
Determine the feasibility of and a building program for a
speculative medical‑related research facility with wetlabs and incubation
space as the initial lead building in the Park.
Seek partnerships with universities and other research
institutions in attracting additional users to the initial facility and the
Determine infrastructure needs, including telecommunications, for
the Park and other key research and health care locations and forward those to
the City Growth Cabinet.
Determine needs of potential research and health care staff (such
as housing and other lifestyle requirements) and forward those to the General Plan
Sustainability Innovation Team
Undertake implementation of the Sustainable Surprise initiative
in partnership with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability; identify
opportunities for implementing sustainability demonstration projects in
Surprise and strengthening educational connections with ASU as well as
establish partnerships with key research, non‑profit and private
corporations involved in the development of sustainable building materials and
Determine the feasibility of and a building program for an Innovation Center and Sustainability Demonstration Pavilion within the Innovation and Research Park at Surprise Center and work with the Medical/Biomedical Team to identify a
location for same.
Develop a program to identify and recruit; retired and active
researchers, engineers and similar highly skilled and educated individuals;
potential venture capitalists, investors and other new business finance
providers; and entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in sustainable
As the Sustainable Surprise initiative is advanced, establish
Sustainability sub-groups to focus on particular issues, such as energy, water,
urban design and buildings, and education.
City Growth Cabinet
Determine key telecommunications infrastructure needs for the
City and establish a technology sub‑group, bringing in others with
technology expertise, to oversee preparation of a feasibility study and a
funding and implementation plan for providing broadband and other needed telecommunications
services throughout Surprise.
Determine infrastructure needs and prepare a funding and
implementation plan to support the place‑based opportunities described in
the Economic Positioning Framework as well as coordinated planned infrastructure
extensions and expansions with the other Framework implementation teams to
ensure a maximum return on investment.
Complete the ongoing Surprise Transit Plan and coordinate
recommendations with the other Framework implementation teams.
Work with the General Plan Update Team to determine
infrastructure needed to support the level of development intensity/density
proposed for Uptown Surprise, the Energy Innovation Center, the Supplier Park, in addition to providing alternatives for the use of environmentally
sensitive, on‑site systems for the White Tanks Gateway area.
General Plan Update Team
Coordinate with the Surprise Train Team to develop standards in
the General Plan and zoning code for transit‑oriented development for
application in Uptown Surprise, the area adjoining the Grand Avenue and Bell Road intersection, and other key rail stops.
Coordinate with the Sustainability Innovation Team to develop
standards in the General Plan and zoning code for large, energy innovation and
production facilities in the area identified for the Energy Innovation Center.
Develop standards in the General Plan and zoning code the rail Supplier Park and the large land area users and buildings that would locate around it.
Develop standards in the General Plan and zoning code for resort
and tourist development in the White Tanks Gateways that focus on environmental
protection, open space and view preservation, off‑street trails, outdoor
recreation, and sustainability.
Coordinate with the other Framework implementation teams to have
the General Plan Update and zoning code address their other needs and goals.
Surprise Train Team
Continue the ongoing pursuit of state and regional funding for
passenger rail service along the BNSF main line from Surprise to Phoenix.
Refine locations and concepts for transit‑oriented
development and park & ride facilities within Surprise and coordinate those
with the Growth Plan Update Team.
Prepare a feasibility study and a funding and implementation plan
for a loop/circulator bus system connecting the major activity centers in
Surprise with the key rail stops.
Coordinate rail‑served industry for freight service along
with passenger service.
Grand Avenue Parkway Team
Prepare a corridor redevelopment study for the entire length of Grand Avenue from Highway 74 to West Van Buren Street identifying general redevelopment
opportunities, key sites and intersections, multi‑modal options within
the corridor, and concept corridor cross-sections and interchange/intersection
Based on the outcome of the study, obtain regional agreement
through MAG on the general function and design of Grand Avenue throughout the
metro area and develop a funding and implementation plan.
Coordinate with the Growth Plan Update Team to develop
appropriate standards in the General Plan and zoning code for key
intersections/locations along Grand Avenue for higher levels of
density/intensity (such as the intersection at Grand and Bell Road, the
intersection at Grand and Greenway Road, the interchange at Grand and 303,
Uptown Surprise, etc.).
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.
Hearing no further business, the Planning and Zoning
Commission workshop meeting was adjourned on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 5:46 p.m.