The City is updating the Zoning Code related to Transect Zones. I applaud them. But it’s not enough, and it never will be. Transect Zone improvement cannot prevent another Hub development. It is important for Flagstaff to understand; Transect Zones are optional. Nothing requires a developer to follow Transect Zone rules. Developers can choose to follow underlying Zoning, and ignore Transect Zones completely.
And therein lies the problem. Since the early 1990s much of Flagstaff has been zoned for building heights and masses that you wouldn’t want in your neighborhood. City Council is virtually powerless to change them without your help. Any changes to the underlying zoning can run afoul of Proposition 207 (Arizonans passed in 2006). Stated plainly, someone can sue the City if they don’t like the zoning code changes.
The only way to change the underlying zoning is a grass-roots effort. Your neighborhood must bring the City a proposal for new zoning, one that is acceptable to the neighborhood majority. Only then can the City consider a zoning change.
But there’s a catch. You have to act before a big development comes to your neighborhood. You must make the changes before someone buys the land and submits their plans for another Hub. Because complaining at that time is too late – they can sue under Proposition 207.
Transect Zones are a good thing, but they are optional and cannot fix zoning issues in Flagstaff neighborhoods. Only you can.