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
Land Use Section of Regional Plan
to be discussed by Council at 7:00PM.
Comments can be emailed to