Aspen Heights has withdrawn its application to rezone more than 36 acres of land in Flagstaff for a new, 714-bed student housing complex on Woody Mountain Road at West Route 66.
The move came a day after nearby residents opposed to the project filed a petition requiring at least six votes on the seven-member council to approve the rezoning.
The rezoning was due for a second and final vote at the Dec. 2 Flagstaff City Council meeting but was pulled from the agenda on Wednesday. The council had give preliminary approval to the rezoning by a 5-2 vote on Nov. 18.
Dana Kjellgren, Aspen Height’s zoning attorney, also filed a letter with the city saying the company planned to withdraw its rezoning request. She did not give a reason for the withdrawal. She did point out that the property owner, Landmarc Capital & Investment Company, which is different from Aspen Heights, was moving forward with annexation application for 3.14 acres of land connected with the project and planned for commercial development.
Mayor Jerry Nabours said he had heard that a petition signed by some nearby property owners had been submitted to the city in an effort to force a super-majority vote of the Council on the project.
According to a memo from City Attorney Michelle D’Andrea to Council, a petition protesting the rezoning was submitted to the City Clerk on Nov. 25.
Arizona Revised Statutes and the city’s Zoning Code require a super-majority vote of the Council, if at least 20 percent of the residents living within 150 feet of rezoning request file a petition opposing it. A super-majority vote would require at least six yea votes from Council.
City officials confirmed that the 14 people who signed the petition lived within 150 feet of the project and met the 20 percent requirement. Neighbors, including the U.S. Naval Observatory, had raised concerns over light pollution, noise, safety and inefficient sprawl during previous rezoning hearings.
“We conclude that the petition is sufficient to require a super-majority vote (of Council) under Arizona Revised Statutes … and City Zoning Code Section …,” she wrote.
City spokeswoman Kim Ott explained that the situation is similar to the one involving The Standard, another student housing complex that withdrew its zoning request earlier this year and then submitted a new plan at the beginning of November.
A developer that withdraws its zoning request to the city can resubmit the request at any time in the future as long as there is some change to the plan, she said. If a zoning request is denied by Council, a developer has to wait a year before they can resubmit their request.
Suzanne can be reached at (928) 556-2253.