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Facing $51 million in land use claims, Flagstaff will waive high-occupancy zoning enforcement for 70 properties

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Logjam on Mike's Pike

Cars sit in a traffic jam on Mike’s Pike Street as parents wait to get into the parking garage of The Hub student-housing complex in this 2018 file photo.

After being threatened with a collective $51 million in claims from property owners, the City of Flagstaff will waive the enforcement of a high-occupancy housing land use law for dozens of local properties.

The Flagstaff City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution precluding 70 land parcels from zoning code changes brought by the High Occupancy Housing amendment adopted by the council in November of last year.

The amendment placed stricter restrictions on density and the maximum number of bedrooms that can be built on a property. For example, if 20% or more of the apartments in a large development have four or more bedrooms, it is automatically considered high-occupancy housing.

In some cases, the designation requires developers to obtain a special use permit for high-occupancy land use -- which some claim can be costly. Other provisions, such as parking requirements, are considered by some to be additional challenges for future land developments.

In the claims made to the city, the property owners argued these types of zoning code changes reduced their rights to use their property, and subsequently, reduced the fair market value of the land.

The claims were filed under Arizona Proposition 207, passed by state voters in 2006, that requires the government to reimburse land owners when regulations result in a decrease in a property’s fair market value.

Christina Rubalcava, senior assistant city attorney, defined fair market value as “the most likely price which the land would bring if exposed for sale in the open market by a purchaser who buys with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which it is adapted and for which it is capable.”

Proposition 207 requires property owners to submit a written demand for monetary compensation based on the fair market value. The government, or in this case the City of Flagstaff, then has 90 days to either pay the compensation, amend the law or waive the enforcement on the property owner's parcel.

When asked, city officials did not indicate whether there has been any consideration to amend or repeal the related zoning code. A discussion on the city's High Occupancy Housing Plan, however, is scheduled for the upcoming city council meeting Tuesday, according to Flagstaff Interim Public Affairs Director Sarah Langley.

If the city failed to act on the claims, the property owners would have been permitted to file for compensation in the superior court. Rubalcava said the city received Proposition 207 claims on behalf of the 70 parcels of land beginning in July.

Adoption of the resolution waiving the enforcement for the 70 properties “will moot the pending claims for just compensation,” according to the city’s public meeting agenda.

Council’s decision comes after the Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, announced in July that it had filed more than $23 million in claims against the City of Flagstaff on behalf of property owners.

At the time, the group said the bill against the city was only expected to grow “as thousands more may have claims under state law.”

A total of 87 Proposition 207 claims have been filed with the City of Flagstaff in response to the High Occupancy Housing Zoning Code amendment, Langley said.

South Korea's first domestically produced space rocket reached its desired altitude but failed to deliver a dummy payload into orbit in its first test launch on Thursday.South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who observed the launch on-site, still described the test as an "excellent accomplishment" that takes the country a step further in its pursuit of a satellite launch program.Live footage showed the 154 foot rocket soaring into the air with bright yellow flames shooting out of its engines following blastoff at Naro Space Center, the country's lone spaceport, on a small island off its southern coast.Lim Hye-sook, the country's science minister, said Nuri's first and second stages separated properly and that the third stage ejected the payload a 1.5-ton block of stainless steel and aluminum at 435 miles above Earth.But she said launch data suggested that the third stage's engine burned out early after 475 seconds, about 50 seconds shorter than planned, failing to provide the payload with enough speed to stabilize in orbit.Officials from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the country's space agency, said debris from the payload would have landed somewhere in waters south of Australia. The institute was planning to form an inspection committee soon to analyze what went wrong and map out adjustments before the rocket's next test launch.The launch, which took place at 5 p.m., had been delayed by an hour because engineers needed more time to examine the rocket's valves. There had also been concerns that strong winds and other conditions would pose challenges for a successful launch."Although (the launch) failed to achieve its objectives perfectly, it was an excellent accomplishment for a first launch," Moon said in a televised speech."The separations of the rockets, fairings (covering the payload) and the dummy satellite worked smoothly. All this was done based on technology that is completely ours," he added.After relying on other countries to launch its satellites since the early 1990s, South Korea is now trying to become the 10th nation to send a satellite into space with its own technology.Officials say such an ability would be crucial for the country's space ambitions, which include plans for sending more advanced communications satellites and acquiring its own military intelligence satellites. The country is also hoping to send a probe to the moon by 2030.Nuri is the country's first space launch vehicle built entirely with domestic technology. The three-stage rocket is powered by five 75-ton class rocket engines placed in its first and second stages. It is designed to deliver a 1.5-ton payload into orbit 372 to 497 miles above Earth."The launch left some frustration, but it's meaningful that we confirmed we have obtained core technology" for space launches, said Lim, the minister.Scientists and engineers at KARI plan to test Nuri several more times, including conducting another launch with a dummy device in May 2022, before trying with a real satellite.South Korea had previously launched a space launch vehicle from the Naro spaceport in 2013, which was a two-stage rocket built mainly with Russian technology. That launch came after years of delays and consecutive failures. The rocket, named Naro, reached the desired altitude during its first test in 2009 but failed to eject a satellite into orbit, and then exploded shortly after takeoff during its second test in 2010.It wasn't clear how North Korea, which had been accused of using its space launch attempts in past years as a disguise for developing long-range missile technology, would react to Thursday's launch.While pushing to expand its nuclear and missile program, the North had shown sensitivity about South Korea's increasing defense spending and efforts to build more powerful conventionally armed missiles.In a speech to Pyongyang's rubber-stamp parliament last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the U.S. and South Korea of "destroying the stability and balance" in the region with their allied military activities and a U.S.-led "excessive arms buildup" in the South.While Nuri is powered by liquid propellants that need to be fueled shortly before launch, the South Koreans plan to develop a solid-fuel space launch rocket by 2024, which could be cheaper to build and prepared for launch more quickly. Such rockets would also be ideal for more sensitive space launches, including those involving military intelligence satellites.South Korea's space ambitions received a boost in recent years as the Trump and Biden administrations took steps to ease decades-long U.S. restrictions that capped Seoul's missile development before eventually allowing its ally to build conventional weapons with unlimited range and warhead weight. In easing the so-called missile guidelines, the U.S. also removed a limit on how powerful South Korea's

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