Regional Plan Will Fundamentally Change Flagstaffs Character

Make no mistake, the very character of Flagstaff is on the verge of radical changes if the current version of the Flagstaff Regional plan passes. The draft plan that is now before Council was crafted by a very small group of individuals and has been heavily influenced by several special interest groups. I am concerned that the plan presented as Flagstaff’s future vision is out of balance and far from the vision of many in our community.

Some comments from individuals and special interest groups involved with the creation of the Regional Plan are quite revealing;

“The question is do we start limiting our growth now”

“Keep the old Urban Growth Boundary and not promote more greenfield development (undeveloped land). Time to invest in not expand out!”

“This is what we want, you can disagree with and rewrite the plan, but 20 plus people tell you this is what we want collectively”

Now let me be clear, I believe we should have broad input from a variety of individuals and groups throughout this process. But what has happened is certain
individuals and special interest groups have outweighed other voices by a large margin.

Were you at the table when this plan was written? Do you feel your comments and points of view are being considered?

I have no problem with many things in the plan such as responsible preservation of open space, I’d point out that this Council, myself included, has voted for the preservation of more open space than any other in recent history. This has been done with balance in mind and an understanding of private land supply and its affect on land and housing prices. I also support varied transportation options and compact development in certain areas.

But is our end goal a City that looks like Aspen Place on Butler Avenue? A City more similar to Phoenix? It seems clear that the authors of this plan want this for our future. Dense urban compact development. Why do the authors of this plan want to radically change the character of Flagstaff?

“Compact Development” is mentioned 10 times in one form or another on page IX-5 alone and is sprinkled throughout this document.

“Smaller houses, smaller lots and multi-family housing” pIX4

“Smaller housing choices on
small lots and multi-family
options with shared amenities.” Pg IX-5

“Transition to compact development and walkable communities.” Environmental Chapter IV-12

“Contain and direct growth and development.” Section V-4

An obvious disdain towards the automobile is also prevalent throughout this plan, thus resulting in poor future planning for the primary mode of transportation today and surely for tomorrow.

“Design for pedestrian and bicyclist safety and experience first, automobile driver experience second, transit options next, and auto capacity and speed
last. This will be a huge paradigm shift from the current automobile focus.” Pg IX-5

This statement on the automobile in the land use section makes it clear why the transportation section of the plan only devotes 3 of its 22 pages specifically to the auto. Out of 55 transportation policies only 5 are specific to the auto, the most used form of transportation. It’s estimated 83% of the population uses their automobile to get to work.

What makes Flagstaff the place that most of us enjoy living in? If you’re like my family, we love this mountain community and the variety of options it offers its citizens. Why do some want to radically change our lifestyle? Why do some want to pull up the plank, now that they’re here, and essentially dig a mote to keep others out?

A tool often used to limit progress is water.

“We believe our growth should be limited by the available water capacity we can generate through conservation, re-use and rain water harvesting.”

“Water resources should be a limiter to growth!”

I agree, water can limit growth. But the reality is we have secured thousands of acre feet of water for our future needs. Some want to block that water from ever reaching Flagstaff as a tool to stop progress. But Flagstaff has always imported a majority of its water, currently we import about 64%. These individuals and special interest groups who seek to block development of future water supplies appear to be trying to stop progress and threaten the future of our City. If this mentality was prevalent when our City was founded, where would we be today?

Many of us live in Flagstaff in order to enjoy a unique yet varied quality of life. I do not want to see Flagstaff turn into a dense, urbanized and gentrified City. Do you? I believe the very plan that the authors claim will preserve Flagstaff’s character is so out of balance that it will actually ruin its unique character. How is this protecting Flagstaff’s future?

If you are concerned about the future character of our City, it’s time to speak up. I am committed to making the Regional Plan the best document that it can be in order to increase the chance of its passage. But we need balance and moderation.

I ask the residents of Flagstaff, does this plan represent your future vision for our Community?

If not, you can make a difference by commenting on the plan and getting involved.

Important Upcoming Meeting
October 29th
Land Use Section of Regional Plan
to be discussed by Council at 7:00PM.

Comments can be emailed to

4 thoughts on “Regional Plan Will Fundamentally Change Flagstaffs Character

  1. I feel a weak “Preface” is not strong enough to alter the intended use of the Regional Plan as a Vision document, the intended use by Staff is use the document as law and policy.

    As evidenced by the October 15, 2013 City Council Meeting, Item 13A (Part 1 of 2), Public Hearing Consideration and Adoption of Ordinance No. 2013-12 & Resolution No. 2013-22, at the timestamp of 17:50 an explanation to Council Member Barotz by Jim Cronk of Planning, a direct reference to use the Regional Plan as a Policy Document in decision making of a Zoning Modification is presented.

    This plan is over reaching it’s intended purpose and is a direct attempt by some to shape the future of Flagstaff.

    It is mandatory for all strong verbiage be modify and presented back to the voters, with acceptable time for review, before any final voting by Council to accept this plan.

  2. “Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore contributes to social injustice.” From the report from the 1976 UN’s Habitat I Conference.

    “Private land use decisions are often driven by strong economic incentives that result in several ecological and aesthetic consequences…The key to overcoming it is through public policy…” Report from the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, page 112.

    “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.” Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s Earth Summit, 1992.

    —–Reinvention of Government—–

    “Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.” Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chairman, ICLEI. The Wildlands Project

    “We must make this place an insecure and inhospitable place for Capitalists and their projects – we must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres or presently settled land.” Dave Foreman, Earth First.

    —–Hide Agenda 21’s UN roots from the people—–

    “Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy- fixated groups and individuals in our society… This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth.” J. Gary Lawrence, advisor to President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development.

    – See more at:

  3. Thank you Jeff, for standing firm against the unrelenting assault(s) on individual rights, American values, Flagstaff’s hope of prosperity.

    That some members of Council shut their eyes and ears to the abundant evidence of the unjustifiable, destructive, utopian nature of this plan – among others – is revolting enough. When they allow their ideology, cut from the same cloth as the radical special interests propagate their decisions, then they serve something other than We the People. This means that neither ignorance, nor collusion with agendas alien to the founding principles of this nation is acceptable by elected officials.

    The push to fundamentally change Flagstaff, or any other community for that matter, is the top-down-bottom-up approach to “… fundamentally change America…” – where have we heard that?

    God bless.

  4. Flagstaff is still an example of a “Garden City” — very popular urban system in the USA. We are lucky to combine our 18 000 University people and about 50 000 of city population, so actually– Flagstaff is the size of the suburb with included Center of Education. Car is usually a main source of transportation for such development, public transportation serves citizens mostly in the pick time, to deliver people to work and back. Also, because most places in the city can be reached in 10 minutes by car and about 30-40 minutes by bike (not counting on ride share possibilities) there is no need for such a luxury as a “Public transportation” in the limits of such small city. Please, pay attention to these huge, expensive buses, with drivers, buses mostly empty during the day Who cares? Peoples taxes can cover. Also, we have to many shopping centers and various shopping facilities for the size of the suburb It seems, that someone, who planned them was ruled by Greed, for future profits. So, now we would need a dense system of housing to squeeze as many people as possible to continue to satisfy someones appetites. Nobody cares about social problems developed in such areas and nobody cares about the character of this beautiful city and about it future. Because, local Government of Flagstaff, selected by their people, cares about some minor groups of interests rather then about those,who intrusted them the destiny of their city. I afraid of this project of the city development. We need to improve, not to grow and not to spread. Surrounding and our limitations dictate such approach.

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