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CITY OF SURPRISE

 

PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

12425 West Bell Road, Suite D-100

Surprise, Arizona 85374

 

October 16, 2007

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

CALL TO ORDER:

 

Chairman Lyn Truitt called the Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting to order at

6:06 p.m. at the Surprise City Hall, 12425 West Bell Road, Suite D100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, October 16, 2007. 

 

ROLL CALL:

 

In attendance with Chairman Truitt were Vice Chair Jan Blair, Commissioners Richard Alton, Jesse Conn, John Hallin, Steve Somers and Fred Watts.  

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:

 

CURRENT EVENTS REPORT: 

 

Director Scott Chesney mentioned the Boards and Commission Conference scheduled for December 7, 2007, stating that if anyone was interested in attending to let staff know.   Regarding administrative issues, he discussed combining all projects for next month into the November 6th meeting; thereby, cancelling November 20th meeting.  Also, the first meeting for 2008 falls on January 1; therefore, this meeting too should be cancelled.

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

 

All items listed with an asterisk (*) are considered to be routine by the Planning and Zoning Commission and were approved by one motion.  There was no separate discussion of these items during this meeting.

 

Vice Chair Blair made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.  Commissioner Watts seconded the motion.  The motion passed with a vote of 7 ayes.

 

·    Approved Item 2*:  Planning and Zoning Commission Minutes for

October 2, 2007

 

·    Approved Item 3*:  SP07-134 – Consideration and Action – The Seasons at Surprise, Stipulations ‘a’ through ‘n.’

 

REGULAR AGENDA ITEMS REQUIRING A PUBLIC HEARING

 

Item 4: cup07-242 – Consideration and Action – Imagine School at Surprise

 

Planner Lance Ferrell presented the project to the Commission.  Staff recommended approval of CUP07-242, Imagine School at Surprise, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘f.’   

 

 

Lynne LaGarde, Earl, Curley, and LaGarde, representing applicant, provided a presentation which included explanations of a conditional use permit, the traffic impact analysis study, the traffic management process, and the parking management plan.  She emphasized that the traffic analysis report indicated that there would be no adverse impact to the community.  She pointed out that most of the opposition was against the old plan that showed the access from the high school on to Acoma.  She stressed that there is a great deal of support for the school. 

 

Following are responses to questions asked by Commissioner Hallin: 

 

Ms. LaGarde explained that most of the students who will attend the new high school will come from the Rosefield School, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. 

 

Aaron Kindel, Imagine Schools, pointed out that the building of a high school is in  direct response to the Imagine School parents.  Part of the requirement to select this site included size of property and budget. 

 

Mr. Kindel explained that they do plan to have extracurricular activities, some of which will include sports.  He commented that the field would be too small for football; however, there has been some discussion about baseball and soccer.  Extracurricular activities are based on the feedback from the parents.  There will be some activities after school; however, there are no lighted fields planned.

 

Director Chesney stated that if there were violations of any existing codes, specifically referring to parking, it would be handled by police and code enforcement.

 

Ms. LaGarde provided additional information about assemblies, pointing out that Imagine Schools already breaks up their activities by age groups to avoid parking issues. 

 

Following are responses to questions posed by Commissioner Watts:

 

Ms. LaGarde noted that no busing occurs at Imagine Schools. If parents asked for busing, there might be a consideration to provide one bus.  After-school activities are scheduled to ensure that the adequate parking is available.  

 

Mr. Kindel added that the school’s policy is to break up the activities by grade level to ensure all parents are not at the school at one time. 

 

Ms. LaGarde indicated that school personnel will be stationed around the school to assist traffic flow during drop-off and pick-up times, as well as during after-school activities.

 

John Wilk, Traffic Engineer, discussed the path of traffic from Reems to the school.  He pointed out that the main point of access to the school will be on Custer.

 

Following are the responses to Commissioner Alton’s questions:

 

Ms. LaGarde replied that the open space will be landscaped and will be used for various activities.  

 

Tim Solaro, Architect, explained that the site will include a decorative wrought iron fence, with trees around the perimeter, suggesting that it will be an asset to the neighborhood.  There will be a six-foot block wall between Imagine and Carden Schools.  This proposed high school is on a smaller site than a typical public high school; however, there will be fewer students. 

 

Mr. Kindel stated that Rosefield School accommodates kindergarten through eighth grade with an enrollment of 750 students.  This is an alternative school choice for many parents and charter schools are funded by the state.   Imagine School has ten campuses in Arizona; and 50 nationally in 11 states. 

 

The following stipulation was requested by Commissioner Alton:

 

Stipulation G:  Applicant agrees that there will be no K-6 students at this school site.    

 

Commissioners approved the addition of stipulation ‘g’ by a unanimous voice vote.   

 

Following are answers to Vice Chair Blair’s inquiries:

 

Ms. LaGarde provided Imagine School’s hours of operation, mentioning that City staff requested that the hours of operation be staggered with the Carden School to decrease traffic impact:

 

Grades 9 through 12 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. 

Grades 7 and 8:                    7:25 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

 

Ms. LaGarde also provided the Carden School schedule:

 

        Grades K through 5: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

        Grades 6 through 8:              8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Mr. Kindel explained that this will be a closed campus; no one leaves for lunch hour.  After parking spots are assigned for teachers and visitors, permits will be provided for students, who must apply for a parking space.  He stressed that it is their intention to use the open space for physical education and not use it for additional parking.

 

Director Chesney commented that the applicant has agreed to add a stipulation regarding the open space being used for recreational purposes only.

 

The following stipulation was requested by Chairman Truitt:

 

Stipulation H:  Applicant agrees that the open space will remain open and used for recreational purposes only.

 

Commissioners approved the addition of stipulation ‘h’ by a unanimous voice vote.  

 

In response to Commissioner Conn:

 

Planner Ferrell noted that 28 to 30 participants attended the outreach meeting.  He estimated that 90% of the participants were opposed to the new school. 

 

 

Mr. Kindel emphasized that safety on the campus is paramount to Imagine School staff, explaining that parents hold staff accountable for the safety of their children.  He mentioned that if the traffic or parking plan does not work at a specific location, parents will leave and go elsewhere.  He stressed that there is an overwhelming demand for the Imagine School, pointing out that there are more families who want their children to attend an Imagine School than they can accommodate.

 

Responding to Commissioner Somers:

 

Planner Ferrell replied that the existing zoning for this property is R1-43.  He stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission action for a conditional use permit is final. 

 

Tracey Eberlein, Associate Traffic Engineer, explained that traffic study noted the basic school attendance of the school.  She spoke briefly about the traffic delays that occur when turning left on to Reems or Greenway Roads from this location.  She added that there are future plans for signals at Reems and Acoma, as well as at 157th Avenue and Greenway. 

 

In response to Chairman Truitt:

 

Ms. Eberlein indicated that traffic study included reviewing the existing traffic conditions, peak hours of adjacent roadways, and intersections within a quarter mile of the property.  She pointed out that the streets will be wide enough for three lanes at build-out which will provide for left-turn pockets.  There will be additional traffic during pickup and drop off.  Most the cars will be off the street; stacking on the school grounds.  This will not negatively impact the traffic with the widen streets and signals added. 

 

Mr. Kindel noted that it is Imagine Schools’ intention to provide a college preparatory school at this site.  The classes will be smaller, allowing individualized attention for the students.

 

Mr. Kindel replied that there will be stacking of up to 50 cars on the school grounds. 

 

Ms. LaGarde submitted a number of signed petitions that are on file at the City Clerk’s office.

 

Chairman Truitt opened the meeting for public comment. 

 

Anthony Boit, owner of property, voiced the following concern:

Everyone should ask themselves why they are all of a sudden opposing the school.

 

Below are the Surprise residents who voiced their support for Imagine School: 

 

Kristen Garretson

·       Kids feel safe and nurtured by the Rosefield staff.

·       Kids have made tremendous academic gains.

·       Kids recognize character behavior in children and adults.

·       Character, measure of excellence.

·       Educator who holds herself to a high standard.

·       Rosefield is an excelling school.

·       Rosefield has a 1.76 annual growth, more than a year and one-half growth in every student.

·       Students want to continue high school education at an Imagine school.

 

Jeffrey Kagan-Hobson, Eighth Grader:

·       Wants to attend an Imagine high school.

·       Does not like large classes; likes being part of a small school.

·       Teachers know me.

·       Easier time making friends because of Imagine’s character education.

·       Recipient of a $4,000 scholarship.

 

Debra Kagan-Hobson:

·       Homeowner, taxpayer and parent of student.

·       Vote yes to Imagine School plan for an alternative to the current schools.

·       Good values must be reinforced from sun up to sun down.

·       Jeffrey needed a smaller class and has soared at Imagine.

·       In public school, he was not close to meeting AIMS standards.

·       He has to go to college; he now tests at or above AIMS standard.

·       One of four students in Maricopa County awarded a $4,000 scholarship from Fulton.

·       Recipient of $500 Westcor VISA; most volunteer hours in his age group.

·       Imagine promotes character building, community participation, and continuity of education everyday.

 

Tayler Lemoine, Eighth Grader:

·       Nervous about high school

·       Wants a school where parents and teachers can interact easier.

·       Feels safer in small schools; gangs and clicks typically do not form

·       Many students have the potential to become leaders because of programs for internships.

·       Please consider our school.

 

Mercedes Vega, Eighth Grader:

·       Public schools have a lot to offer; but looking for more.

·       Wants to go to a high school that cares about character education.

·       More opportunities.

 

Deborah Anderson:

·       Mother of two students at Rosefield.

·       Favor of this new school because of what it has done for students, parents, and neighborhood.

·       Neighbors walk to school; sense of community.

·       Asked for support of the school.

 

Diane Lugo:

·       Staff member at Rosefield and mother of student.

·       Crossing guard; Imagine has the design to keep children safe.

·       Safety is first.

·       Rosefield has respect for each other.

 

 

 

Jeri Gray:

·       Drives 20 miles to take son to high school.

·       Teaching staff is amazing.

·       Lives daily with traffic concerns at Paradise Center; not an issue.

·       Carden School has promised for eight years to build a high school.

 

David Rogers:

·       Parent of two daughters at Rosefield

·       Parking management plan will be open to seniors only; parking privileges will be lost if rules are not obeyed.

·       Residents will be given school’s phone number to complain if there are traffic issues.

·       National incident; impressed with how school responded; put new plan in place.

·       Important to watch the traffic flow at Rosefield; how well organized it is.

·       Safety and functionality are primary concern.

·       Positive experience; this is a school of choice.

 

Emerson Rumsey:

·       Father of three Rosefield students.

·       We want this school; we need this school.

·       Continuity of character is vital.

·       Dedicated staff; core values, student camaraderie are important.

·       Without effective education, students are doomed to fail.

·       School poses no threat to the community.

 

Sheri Kisselbach, Principal, Imagine Schools:

·       NCA accredited; higher credit lines for students.

·       Preparatory classes will be offered.

·       Internships in community businesses.

·       One advisor for every 15 students. 

·       Please allow these children to stay together.

 

Danielle Frie:

·       Lives one-half mile from site.

·       Chose to send child to Rosefield rather than Carden.

·       Opportunity to send children to different schools.

·       Exchange student assaulted at Willow Canyon.

·       Smaller school assists in managing students’ health issues.

·       Parents need this option.

 

A list containing 95 names of attendees in support of Imagine School was submitted and is on file in the City Clerk’s office. 

 

Nick Wood, Snell and Wilmer, representing Carden School and Acoma Court:

·       This is not about how great the school is and how good the kids are; this is about how this school fits into the neighborhood.

·       Impact on the neighbors.

·       Provided information about the size of site; Arizona School Facilities Board standards indicate that there should be 80 square feet per student for K-8;  a typical high school should have 94 to 112  square feet per student; this site has approximately 70 square feet per student.

·       Biggest issue is traffic.

·       Examining circulation around the building; traffic will be on neighborhood streets. 

·       How will stipulations regarding traffic flow be enforced?

·       Where will the students stand to be picked up?

·       It is too much in such a small space. 

·       Compatibility:  overwhelmingly residents do oppose this.

 

Dawn Cartier, Traffic Consultant, CivTec:

·       Expansion of the Carden school was not considered in the study

·       If buses are not allowed, a different trip generation would apply; current study shows a low trip generation.

·       With underestimation of the trips, also comes the distribution of the trip. Current study shows zero percent of the trips will use Acoma; seems unrealistic. 

·       Very difficult to enforce what streets are used.

 

Below are the Surprise residents who voiced their opposition to the Imagine School: 

 

Melanie Wiseman:

·       Lives next door to the property; west of the proposed area. 

·       Traffic

·       Safety

 

Glen Littell:

·       Does the school need to be built; most certainly; however, poor choice of location.

·       Of course Imagine is a good school

·       Site chosen because it is cheapest lot available.

·       If they can find another site, I would help break ground.

·       Traffic is an issue; don’t need the charts to tell us that.

·       Overcrowding will be an issue.

 

Richard Koval:

·       Homeowner lives near the school.

·       Traffic is horrendous coming out of 156th and Acoma.

·       People do not stop at stop signs.

 

Curtis Gardner:

·       Teacher at Carden; parent of Carden students; crossing guard.

·       Several traffic incidents that brought concern.

·       Making left turn off of 157th Avenue on to Acoma is very difficult.

·       Parents’ frustration over traffic.

·       Violence has occurred: children are hurt by others. 

·       Students from other schools picked up by buses near this school, adding to traffic issues.

 

Pamela Marshall:

·       Children attend traditional schools.

·       Congestion and compactness of this school is dangerous.

·       Imagine has wonderful ideas and concepts; however, concerned about lack of sports.

·       Fragmented assembly; how does that unify their students?

·       Access to site; early release days.

·       Not opposed to school; but the location; don’t force children into a compact area.

 

Tara Tucker:

·       Growth should benefit everyone

·       Safety of children is important

·       No one can predict how people will travel; area cannot accommodate the traffic.

·       With light installed at Acoma/Reems, do not feel Custer will be used.

·       Do not feel competition with Rosefield.

 

Denise Gill, Teacher and Student Advocate:

·       Safety and traffic issues.

·       800 plus students and facility members next to school with 500 plus.l

·       Playground time; graffiti and vandalism concerns

·       Community would be at high risk for an accident waiting to happen.

 

Stephanie Marciniak, First Grade Teacher

·       Future overpopulation and unsafe conditions for the neighborhood.

·       More traffic than neighborhood can handle.

·       Recently built Dysart high school/elementary school together has five-lane streets.  This site will only have two-lane streets surrounding it.

 

Kory Ostler:

·       Traffic from the school and additional traffic from the new mall.

·       No light on Reems and Custer.

·       After-school activities traffic will affect the neighborhood.

 

Ed Chelini:

·       Five high schools within four miles of the site.

·       Information by traffic engineer is skewed.

·       Has anyone from engineering been at Carden site when school is starting/ending?

·       School buses from Dysart congest these streets as well.

 

Leah Bowers; Jeanne Flick; Christy Faux:  agreed with previous speakers.

 

Mary Hart; Carden Facility Member

·       Uses Custer to come to school

·       Two bus stops pick up students; traffic stops for students boarding the buses; creates delays

·       Safety of children: two students have been hit at two different times last year.

 

Lindsey Rankin: Teacher

·       Teenage driving; twice the rate of accidents; speeding.

 

Doris Vader (agreed with previous speakers) and Garry Vader:

·       Observed speeding on these streets.

·       Oppose to any additional stress to my retired life.

 

John Bedker, President of HOA, Greenway Park 3

·       Quite and neat neighborhood

·       Only entrance to our area is 156th Avenue; additional traffic will hinder how residents get in or out of neighborhood.

·       Noise from high school would disrupt neighborhood, specifically with night activities.

·       Traffic on 157th Avenue; children playing; dangerous.

 

 

Eugene Agee: agreed with previous speakers.

 

Shannon Smith, Director, Carden School

·       Safety and well being of students, facility and neighborhood.

·       Statistics show 95%+ charter school students do not come from a one-mile radius of the school.

·       High school drivers next to younger students; student parking limitations.

·       Most residents were not aware of the project until petitioned by Carden.

·       Council member Doc Sullivan signed petition opposing the new school.

·       Carden has a high school in Surprise at a location more appropriate: Greenway and SR303.

·       When Carden was built, they were not allowed to provide access to Custer.

 

Vandy Reppert: agreed with previous speakers.

 

Tim Smith:

·       Petitions:  562 signatures (on file in the City Clerk’s office).

·       Assembly usage for gymnasium.

·       Student driving.

·       Misinformation; felt it was their responsibility to inform neighborhood.

·       99.9% of residents feel this is too much traffic

 

Ron Brown, Teacher:

·       Good to see respect for each side of the room.

·       Children are the concern; most important.

·       Common sense; Imagine picked the wrong location; Imagine is a good school.

·       It is impossible to put that many people at the site safely.

 

Hearing no further comments from the public, Chairman Truitt closed the public hearing.

 

Ms. LaGarde stated that they respectfully disagree to Carden’s projections on how Imagine will operate and handle traffic. She suggested that when an issue is as emotional as this one is, people imagine the worse case scenario.  She pointed out that Rosefield Elementary has 750 students on 5 acres with more drivers than would be at this location.  There has been plenty of testimony that Imagine manages their traffic flow very well.  In contrast, the traffic flow at Carden was reviewed and it was noted that because there is not adequate queuing at Carden, cars are parking in the street and in the adjacent lot.  Imagine has managed their traffic flow and not experienced the problems that Carden has.  She stated that they did not consider Carden’s expansion in the traffic study because City staff indicated that Carden would be required to do so at the time of expansion.

 

Mr. Wilk, traffic engineer, explained the process of the traffic study, noting that the trip generation figures for a school with Grades 7 through 12 were used in the report.  He emphasized that the numbers cannot be manipulated. 

 

Ms. LaGarde mentioned that they have addressed the issue regarding students parking off school grounds, providing neighbors with the school’s phone number to register complaints.  She asked that the facts be considered when making a decision regarding this project, specifically, that Imagine does practice good parking management.

 

Ms. LaGarde stressed that there is adequate space at this location for the number of students projected. 

 

Director Chesney reiterated the staff’s position that the project does meet the basic conditions of health, general safety and welfare of community, adding that the main concerns appear to be traffic and parking.

 

The following stipulation was suggested by Director Chesney with applicant’s agreement:

 

Stipulation I:  All performance criteria in the project narrative, parking plans, and traffic management plans are incorporated in this approval by reference.

 

Commissioners approved the addition of stipulation ‘i’ by a unanimous voice vote.  

 

Commissioner Hallin voiced concerns about the conflict in traffic studies.   

 

Commissioner Watts also voiced concerns about traffic, asking that staff review the worse case scenario after Acoma Court is built out.  The school is good to have, if it can handle the traffic.

 

Commissioner Alton voiced his concerns about having two schools on a small portion of land.  He requested that staff look into the traffic accidents that occurred at this school.  He pointed out that there will be no walking traffic if 95% of the students come from over one mile from the area. 

 

Vice Chair Blair voiced concerns that there is no guarantee about the traffic issues. She stated that they need to rely on the decisions made by the City’s traffic engineers.

 

Commissioner Conn wondered about the timeline as to when each phase will be completed.

 

Commissioner Somers voiced concerns about traffic.

 

All petitions submitted by Imagine and Carden Schools are on file in the City Clerk’s office.

 

Commissioner Watts made a motion to continue CUP07-242, Imagine School at Surprise, to allow staff to more fully evaluate traffic issues.  Commissioner Alton seconded the motion.  The motion passed with a vote of 4 ayes (Watts, Alton, Hallin, Conn) and 3 nays (Somers, Blair, Truitt).

 

Chairman Truitt called a recess at 8:59 p.m.  The meeting was reconvened at 9:08 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5: GPA07-100 – Consideration and Action – Grand Business Park GPA

 

Planner Lance Ferrell presented the project to the Commission.  Staff recommended approval of GPA07-100, Grand Business Park GPA, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘c.’   

 

In response to Commissioner Alton, Planner Ferrell replied that there will be no entrance/exit to Grand Avenue from this project.  There is some discussion from ADOT  about future expansion of Grand Avenue.  Director Chesney added that the City cannot stop or slow down a project because of what they may think ADOT will do in the future.

 

Scott McCoy, Earl, Curley and LaGarde, representing applicant, pointed out that they too have the same concern as to ADOT’s plans.  At this time, ADOT has no plans or funding; however, the project cannot be held up waiting for ADOT action.

 

Chairman Truitt opened the meeting for public comment.  Hearing no comments from the public, Chairman Truitt closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Somers made a motion to approve GPA07-100, Grand Business Park GPA, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘c.’   Vice Chair Blair seconded the motion.  The motion passed with a vote of 7 ayes.

 

Item 6: rz07-101 – Consideration and Action – Grand Business Park Rezone

 

Planner Lance Ferrell presented the project to the Commission.  Staff recommended approval of RZ07-101, Grand Business Park Rezone, subject to stipulation ‘a.’   

 

Chairman Truitt opened the meeting for public comment.  Hearing no comments from the public, Chairman Truitt closed the public hearing.

 

Commissioner Somers made a motion to approve RZ07-101, Grand Business Park Rezone, subject to stipulation ‘a.’   Commissioner Alton seconded the motion.  The motion passed with a vote of 7 ayes.

 

Item 7: RZ07-082 – Consideration and Action – Sonvesting Grand Avenue and Jomax Rezone

 

Planner Lance Ferrell presented the project to the Commission.  Staff recommended approval of RZ07-082, Sonvesting Grand Avenue and Jomax Rezone, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘b.’   

 

In response to Commissioner Somers, Planner Ferrell pointed out the location of the ministorage facility and explained the vicinity map.

 

In response to Commissioner Alton, Planner Ferrell provided information about the property which will include a strip mall.  ADOT does have some concerns because there is not direct access onto Grand Avenue; access is from Jomax.

 

 

Chairman Truitt opened the meeting for public comment.  Hearing no comments from the public, Chairman Truitt closed the public hearing.

 

Vice Chair Blair made a motion to approve RZ07-082, Sonvesting Grand Avenue and Jomax Rezone, subject to stipulations ‘a’ through ‘b.’  Commissioner Somers seconded the motion.  The motion passed with a vote of 7 ayes.

 

OPEN CALL TO PUBLIC:

 

Chairman Truitt called to the public to discuss any issues not noted on the agenda. 

 

Hearing no further comments from the public, Chairman Truitt closed the call to the public.

 

CURRENT EVENTS REPORT:   None

 

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.

 

No request was made to call for an executive session.

 

ADJOURNMENT:

 

Hearing no further business, Chairman Truitt adjourned the regular Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 9:26 p.m.

 

STAFF PRESENT:

 

Assistant City Attorney Jim Gruber, Fire Marshall Doug Helbig, Assistant Fire Chief Clint Mills, City Planner Adam Copeland, City Planner Lance Ferrell,  Planning & Development Services Manager Berrin Nejad, Planning and Community Development Director Scott Chesney, and Planning and Zoning Commission Secretary Carol Dager.

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:  None

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________

Scott R. Chesney, AICP, Director

Planning & Community Development Department

 

 

_____________________________

 Lyn Truitt, Chairman

 Planning and Zoning Commission