CITY OF SURPRISE
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Bell Road, Suite D-100
Surprise, Arizona 85374
February 19, 2008
Call to Order:
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:
Commercial areas within the village
Diversity in housing; desert-adapted citywide changes
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,
- Education involves reviewing the possibilities of higher
education, online resources, and labor pool.
- Sustainability incorporates economics, environment, and
Village planning benefits:
- Building communities that are more land use efficient.
- Developing low-impact personal and public transportation
- Geographically relating jobs and housing.
- Balancing resource use with ecological capacity to supply
- 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
Hearing no further business, the Planning and Zoning
Commission workshop meeting was adjourned on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, at 5:52