Aspen Heights Withdraws

Aspen Heights has withdrawn their application for a re-zone request. They are however still asking to be annexed into the City limits this Tuesday.

Obviously there was a large segment of the community opposed to this development. In the end, the hundreds of emails and a petition to stop the development was to much to continue on with.

I have mixed feelings on this issue. Our community needs more housing, it just seems no one wants it “in my back yard”. Many also want affordable housing but want maximum amounts of open space. Something’s gotta give!

While this was not directly providing affordable housing it would have added hundreds of rentable units to the market freeing up housing elsewhere in our community and indirectly helping, even if in a small way, the affordability issue.

For a couple of my colleagues on Council and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, this is the third large housing development they have strongly opposed in the past two years. They want jobs and affordable housing yet they consistently say no to both. The opportunity for thousands of housing units and tens of millions of dollars invested into our community has been lost, at least for now.

With regard to Aspen Heights, a confusing message has also been received. The Naval Observatory along with many people have sent a clear message that they do not want any light degradation in the West 66 area. Translated, little to no development. Yet this area is listed as an urban activity center on the new Regional Plan.

The Regional Plan passed Council unanimously and was ratified overwhelmingly, with 75% of Flagstaff voters approving it. An urban activity center calls for dense housing and commercial development. What message are we sending for the hundreds of acres of private property and many developments slated for West 66? The Regional Plan says develop this area but many are now saying the opposite.

I was actually one of the leading voices in changing the regional plan to its current approved version. The original version of the plan presented to Council actually called for more compact, dense development. I said this type of development would “fundamentally change the character of Flagstaff” and I pushed successfully to scale it back. Friends of Flagstaff’s future and others came down really hard on me for changing the plan, a plan they had a large part in drafting. I warned about the issues of compact development and how it would change Flagstaff. We’re now seeing these issues come to fruition.

Going forward I will be supporting Mayor Nabours request to discuss this area of town in more detail and a dialogue with the observatories and NAU. My assumption that we addressed these issues through the regional plan and it’s overwhelming approval was wrong. We need to address community concerns but those in town that continue to say we need more housing and more opportunities, groups like friends of Flagstaff’s Future, also need to recognize that saying not to most large development is not the solution.

Let’s come to the table to figure out how to best to move forward and reconcile what are obvious discrepancies between the approved regional plan and what some in the community are now asking for.

2 thoughts on “Aspen Heights Withdraws

  1. Jeff, you are one of the few on Council with a voice of reason. Your colleagues, who are members of the Enemies of Flagstaff’s future radical leftist group are obviously not, and should recuse themselves from decision-making that involves the aforementioned group’s agendas: serving in government is NOT a platform to advance special interests and personal ideologies. Who the hell are they anyway, to speak for the permanent residents of our city who are largely in disagreement with them?!

    Our nation is under constant assault by these so-called “progressive” destroyers at every level of government, by tyranny, by deceit, by ignorance, by regulation. This must be vehemently opposed, at every level of government, rather than looking for compromises all the time: as you yourself wrote, these people will turn on a dime to change the argument; the only compromise they know is their way or the highway. Enough already. Besides, principles are NON-NEGOTIABLE.

    -The topic of development is going to remain contentious, because the regional plan, even in its improved version leaves many doors open, as it is aready seen. Thanks to your and the Mayor’s insistence, the language was made more palatable – the plan would be a disaster otherwise.

    Student housing should be the responsibility of NAU first and foremost, in accordance with the wishes of Flagstaff citizens. They apparently have tens of millions to spend, as their years-long construction projects prove it.

    -Thank you for your hard work: yours is not a thankless job, because many in this town appreciate your efforts; and I in particular, who will not allow communism to catch up to him once again.

    Feel free to share this note with your colleagues, if you think it may be beneficial for our city.

    In liberty,

    Gabor Kovacs

  2. The whole country is in the same state, Jeff. It’s a divided country and it’s only going to get worse. There have always been two powerful forces at work In America–conservatism and progressivism. These two forces have had some serious battles; however, for most of our history they have been able to find middle ground, but in the last several decades it’s come down to what seems like pure hatred. It’s not even conservatism and progressivism anymore–just hate. It’s Republican vs. Democrat (conservatives and liberals being in both camps). It doesn’t matter which party is in control. Fifty percent of the people will be happy and the other fifty ticked off. In the meantime you have gridlock, and it’s only natural that in this state of things progressivism comes out ahead because conservatism by its very nature wants to play by the established rules–progressivism plays by any rules that allows it to get its way. They make the rules as they go. Why bother amending the constitution? It’s too hard and takes too long. Change the meaning of the Constitution instead. It’s an antiquated document anyway, the progressives say, and they have been doing it. I can’t help thinking of John Adams’ caution, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” People may argue with Adam’s, but one thing is sure. We as a country have lost the religious and moral bond that held us together. This explains our inability as a people to work together. Adams was right. Our constitution is wholly inadequate for the present makeup of inhabitants of the US of A. The problem is that when the constitution does get changed, it won’t be one where we govern ourselves through elected representatives and limit what our government can do. We’ll find out the hard way what tyranny is all about. As a wise person said, “You don’t appreciate what you have until you have lost it.”

    Flagstaff character will continue to change more and more toward liberalism as the rest of the country. Flagstaff is a university town full of progressive professors. We can’t underestimate the influence these professors have on the young student population. I moved to Flagstaff nine years ago, and in that time I have seen the city council adopt more and more liberal policies that in my opinion do more harm in the long term than the immediate benefit the city council members perceive. It’s obvious to me the root of these policies are seeded at our universities, NAU being the one we are most affected by. I am 68 years of age. The people I spend most time with are about the same age. Most of them have been in Flagstaff for decades, many born and raised here, and they have seen a lot more so called “progressive” change than I have. There is really not much that can done about it. It’s a movement that has reached critical mass and will run its course. In the end, I predict the loss of our individual rights to a tyrannical government. God help us!

    Do what you know is the right thing and Constitutionally correct for Flagstaff, Jeff. You won’t win every battle, but you’ll win some. Keep a cool head. F cubed has been in control of the city for many years. They don’t like the loss of control, so it’s only natural that they would oppose those they view as being responsible for the loss of the control they had. They don’t care if you have ideas they themselves would push for if they were in control. They will oppose you. Reason is out the door. Aspen Heights is the latest example.

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