View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version






12425 West Bell Road, Suite D-100

Surprise, Arizona 85374


February 19, 2008



Call to Order:


Chair Jan Blair called the Planning and Zoning Commission workshop meeting to order at 5:03 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall, 12425 West Bell Road, Suite D100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, February 19, 2008.


In attendance with Chair Blair were Commissioners Matthew Bieniek, Ken Chapman, John Hallin, Robert Rein, Steve Somers, and Fred Watts. 




Janice See, Senior Planner, presented an overview of the General Plan updates, providing a tentative timeline for the major amendments for 2008.   She explained that this is a new timeline which was moved to the Spring of each year; previously the updated general plan amendments were presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council in the Fall.  She also noted the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings: one scheduled for June 3 at the Northwest Regional Library (mandated by ARS as an offsite meeting) and one scheduled for June 17 in Council Chambers.


Planner See discussed how the long-range planning staff began to gather data for the amendments by conducting visioning sessions last year.  They reached out to the residents and asked for their input on how they want the city developed.  Overwhelmingly, requests included:

·    Village concept

·    Commercial areas within the village

·    Diversity in housing; desert-adapted citywide changes

·    Environmental leader

·    Transportation – internal and external options

·    Higher education facilities


Planner See next went over the general plan update process which includes visioning, writing and reviewing. 


The Surprise Vision:


“Surprise defines vibrant Southwest living; a place of educational excellence where community, family and traditions are built.  Surprise is a collection of distinctive neighborhoods with a small town feel and big city amenities.”

Planer See mentioned the major themes of the general plan:

  • Building Heritage
  • Neighborhood Matters
  • Global Village


Building Heritage includes cultural/arts, blue skies/desert landscape, history and resources.  She elaborated on these items noting areas such as the West Valley Art Museum, Heard Museum, Stadium Village, White Tank Mountains, Grand Avenue, agriculture, canals, washes, and railways. 


Commenting on the Neighborhood Matters, she pointed out that the residents want to have an active participative role in the decision-making process.  They are interested in connectivity, such as walkability, reliable transit, and complete streets.  Transportation is a major issue, as well as the aquifers (how will we manage water?).  Conservation is a concern; to make a refuge for the wildlife.  In the next few months, planners will be asking residents about their ideas of the village concept.  Social connections is another point of interest; providing regional educational choices.


Expanding on the Global Village, there were four key points: connectivity, economics, education, and sustainability. 

  • Connectivity includes not just connecting each village, but connecting regionally, nationally, and internationally. 
  • Economics includes the diversity of jobs, market trends, and globalization.
  • Education involves reviewing the possibilities of higher education, online resources, and labor pool. 
  • Sustainability incorporates economics, environment, and equity.


Village planning benefits:


  • Building communities that are more land use efficient.
  • Developing low-impact personal and public transportation systems.
  • Geographically relating jobs and housing.
  • Balancing resource use with ecological capacity to supply resources.
  • Improve quality of life.


In responding to questions, Planner See mentioned that they will be discussing the walled-in communities; specifically looking at how to make people more accessible to surrounding neighborhoods.  The community design element will also be reviewing the transit concerns.  They will be working towards encouraging developers to buy in to the village concept by providing a better foundation in the planning process.  Different areas develop differently and the design guidelines should accommodate those differences.


Planner See emphasized that the general plan is everyone’s plan.  She encouraged study sessions to discuss the plan and brainstorm ideas.  She stressed that one of the concepts is to envision Surprise as the gateway to the Valley.  This process will take some time to unfold; looking at ten years to cultivate the village concept. 



Ms. Rice mentioned that residents not only can attend meetings to express their ideas, there will also be an area on the website for residents to provide planners with ideas and suggestions. 





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, February 19, 2008, at 5:52 p.m.




Assistant City Attorney Jim Gruber, City Planner Randy Overmeyer, City Planner Bart Wingard, City Planner David Neal, City Planner Nicole Green-Catten; City Planner Vineetha Kartha; City Planner Vamshee Kovuru; City Planner Dennis Dorch, City Planner Janice See; Planning & Development Services Manager Berrin Nejad, Acting Community Development Director Kathy S. Rice; and Planning and Zoning Commission Secretary Carol Dager.





Kathy S. Rice, Acting Director

Community Development Department