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12425 West Bell Road, Suite D-100

Surprise, Arizona 85374


March 18, 2008



Call to Order:


Vice Chair Somers 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, March 18, 2008.


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




Planner Dennis Dorch provided a brief overview of the planning application process, noting that the process is currently being reviewed and updated.  He pointed out that all applications and process guides are listed on the city’s website for the applicant’s convenience.


In response to questions, Planner Dorch explained that most concerns are handled at the TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) meeting level.  When department’s have issues with a project, they ask the applicant to respond with resolutions.  It was emphasized that responses to TAC are evaluated and typically resolved prior to scheduling the project for Planning and Zoning Commission review and approval.   Generally, a TAC meeting is scheduled within two weeks of submittal. 


Planner Dorch talked about how each of the departments evaluate the project and submit their comments to the project manager through the city’s Land Information System (LIS). Most all projects require notification to agencies such as Luke, ADOT, and schools.  He also noted that there are specific projects that require that an outreach meeting be held and others are conducted at the director’s discretion.


In response to inquiries, Planner Dorch stressed that Planning cannot approve a project at this time without a 100-year assurance of water.  Water Services reviews every project submitted to Community Development.  Acting Director Rice referred to the integrated water master plan, noting that developers are responsible for meeting the requirements of the plan.  For better understanding of this plan, it was determined that a workshop could be held in the future to discuss the integrated water master plan. 


Responding to various questions from Chair Blair, Planner Dorch indicated that developers typically have one year from date of approval to begin developing a site plan.  However, if a property is rezoned, that is a land-use designation which never expires.  He stressed that minor adjustments to most projects can be administratively approved after the Planning and Zoning Commission initial approval. 


There was some discussion regarding the master sign program.  Concerns were noted about some signage, specifically regarding safety issues where signs are placed.  Commissioner Rein stressed that there is a difference in meeting code and being practical; he was concerned that the Commission does not vote on signage.


Planner Dorch indicated that planners will not typically bring a project forward without the developer addressing the schools.  Agreements between the school and developer may be available to the Commission.  Commissioners talked briefly about specific developments with issues regarding a school site, specifically in areas with sparsely populated areas. 


In response to Chair Blair, Planner Dorch explained that Commissioners are encouraged to exercise independent judgment for each of the projects presented to them.  Certainly, it is important to consider the staff recommendation.  He also mentioned that if a Commissioner has a question regarding any of the projects on an agenda, they should contact the planner before the meeting for clarification. 


Commissioner Rein requested that when contemplating workshop topics, it would be prudent to consider discussing roads and transportation. 


Commissioner Hallin mentioned that it would be a good idea to have a bus tour of the city and its developments.  




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, March 18, 2008, at 5:49 p.m.




Assistant City Attorney Jim Gruber, Fire Marshall Doug Helbig, Assistant Fire Chief Clint Mills, City Planner Adam Copeland, City Planner Bart Wingard, City Planner Dennis Dorch, Planning and Development Services 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