Daily Archives: April 28, 2008

PUD process now more open thanks to Phoenix residents

[Source: B. Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix] — Because of the support and input of many Phoenix neighbors and neighborhood advocates, the Planned Urban Development (PUD) text amendment as passed by the Phoenix City Council on April 2, 2008 contains policies and regulations that at least provide adequate, timely disclosure of what a real estate developer is proposing under any particular PUD so that neighbors can reach an informed decision as how to respond to the proposal.

The following are some of the most important changes since the initial text amendment draft:

  • Two required neighborhood meetings to be held by the developer instead of one.  First meeting to be held after PUD application has been filed.  Meetings to be noticed 2 weeks in advance.
  • The requirement for site plans for all projects 20 acres or less.  No such requirement in first draft.  Originally, the neighbors had to try and find out what was going on by trying to get a copy of a detailed Development Narrative.  These site plans will be on 11×17 paper rather than 8.5 x 11 so they will be legible.
  • Development Narratives will include a Comparison Table with Existing and Proposed Development Standards.
  • A PUD link will be provided on the Planning Department website with both the Development Narrative and the Staff Report.  The link will be provided on the neighborhood mailings.
  • The site plans will include the Building Foot print.
  • The Development Narrative to include a description of existing zoning on and adjacent to site, including conformance with the objectives, policies, design guidelines, and planned land uses and intensities of all applicable overlays, specific plans, special planning districts, and area plans.

The PUD as passed by the City Council on April 2 can be found at: http://phoenix.gov/planning/Z-TA-20-07-B.pdf.

Phoenix is no cultural desert, says PA travel columnist

[Source: Charles J. Adams III, Reading, PA Eagle] — In conversation with an artistic, educated, informed, intelligent, and intellectual (in case she’s reading this) friend, I mentioned that I had just returned from a trip to the Phoenix area and enjoyed a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum.  “Ah, yes,” she sarcastically sighed, “Phoenix — cultural capital of America!”

When challenged, she continued her assault on the artistic attributes of the Arizona metropolis.  When further challenged, she admitted that she had never been to the “Valley of the Sun.”

She should go.  Should she seek consolation in what she considers a cultural void, she will find it in more than 60 art, nature, science and history museums; historic sites; zoos; and gardens.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenicians hop on bus over gas prices

[Source: The Associated Press] — Bus ridership in metro Phoenix increased during January, February, and March from the same time a year ago as more and more commuters left their cars at home, Valley Metro officials said.  In March, Valley Metro recorded an average of 6,861 bus boardings daily, an increase of 15.9 percent from March 2007’s numbers.  January and February posted increases of 8.5 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, Valley Metro officials said.  “Gas prices have an impact on the demand of our services,” said Susan Tierney, Valley Metro spokeswoman.

Gas prices last week according to AAA hit a state average of $3.40.  A less strenuous commute, continued promotion, employer subsidies, and air-quality concerns were other factors cited by riders and officials as reasons for getting more people on the bus.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

To find the least expensive gas price in your neighborhood, click here for the MapQuest Gas Price Calculator.

A tree grows in Phoenix

Let me live!While walking to the Mayor’s State of the City address a week ago, we came across this just-trimmed — okay, “hacked” — tree, along with many other similarly-trimmed trees up and down the street.  Hmmm…  if shade, sustainability, and going “green” is a priority for our fair city, shouldn’t trees be given the chance to, well, grow?

Republic asks, “help mayor with priorities for 2nd term”

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, photo USA Today[Source: Arizona Republic editorial] — Mayor Phil Gordon concedes that the state of his city is… complicated.  And the nature… the priorities… of his second term seem more in flux.  Seven months ago, he seemed more determined than ever to push an even more ambitious public agenda throughout the city.

  • A comprehensive west side revitalization program.
  • A second publicly financed hotel in downtown.
  • An affordable housing initiative for the inner city.
  • The relocation of the Arizona State University College of Law to the downtown campus.
  • Extension of the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative to acquire more acreage, build regional parks and maintain current ones.

But the economic downturn and a grinding budget-cutting exercise last month have forced city officials to readjust.  It is not the right time to launch expensive new projects, not when sales-tax revenues have flattened and may even fall.  Not when residential construction has dropped to a trickle.  Not when diminished housing values and foreclosures threaten property-tax receipts.

Ever the optimist, and perhaps seeking a legacy beyond that which he already has, Gordon has recently been convinced that America’s fifth-largest city needs to boost its international profile, seeking a share of the expanding global trade that seems as inevitable and promising to some industries as it worries others.  But if you were advising the mayor and the new council, what would you tell them?  Given the looming recession, one that may extend another year or even longer, what should the priorities for this year, and the next few years, be?

We want to her from you.  Please respond to any or all of these questions.  How would you describe the state of the city? Explain.  What citywide priorities should the council focus on?  For example, specific crime problems?  Making it easier to do business in the city?  Development standards?  Planning?  What should be the mayor’s focus during his second term?

Send comments to central.letters@arizonarepublic.com, or to Phoenix Republic, 200 E. Van Buren, Phoenix AZ 85002.  Or fax them to 602-444-7985.