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Flagstaff City Council

Pictured from left to right are Councilmembers Eva Putzova, Scott Overton, Mayor Coral Evans, Councilmember Celia Barotz, Vice-Mayor Jamie Whelan, Councilmembers Charlie Odegaard and Jim McCarthy.

Flagstaff City Council will take the first steps toward possibly amending the city’s transect zoning codes Tuesday evening. City staff will give Council a primer on the difference between conventional and transect zoning during a Tuesday evening workshop.

The workshop is at 6 p.m. in the Flagstaff City Council Chambers at City Hall, 211 W. Aspen Ave. Council will not vote on the matter.

Transect zoning has been a hot topic since Core Campus announced two years ago that it planned to use transect zoning to build The Hub, a 591-bed apartment complex geared toward students.

In Flagstaff, developers building within the transect zone overlay, which covers most of the downtown area, have their choice as to which city zoning code they want to follow: conventional zoning that separates by land use or transect zoning.

Transect zoning gives certain incentives, such as having to build less parking, in order to get developers to build more mixed-use buildings in the downtown area. The idea is to encourage development to focus more on the function of the building or development rather than what specific types of uses, such as commercial or residential, are allowed in an area.

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Core chose transect zoning and originally asked for a zoning change in order to swap which street the retail shops would be located on for The Hub. That zoning request was denied by a supermajority of Council after numerous residents and Stand Up! For Flagstaff, a group of citizens, opposed the height and mass of the five-story building and the number of residents it would house. The surrounding neighborhood consists of smaller one- and two-story buildings. Core is moving forward with the construction of The Hub using the existing transect zoning.

The controversy over The Hub opened a discussion on what types of development Flagstaff residents want to see in their neighborhoods and how to create a zoning code and regional plan that fits those ideas.

Council will also discuss what kinds of activities the city would like to focus on for its allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. The funds are typically used to support job creation or housing programs for low- to moderate-income residents.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday is a discussion on whether the city will sign on to a recent Coconino County ordinance requiring e-cigarettes, the liquid used in e-cigarettes and any accessories to be stored in such a way that a person buying the item has to ask for help from store staff. Smoke or vape shops that prohibit customers under the age of 18 and card anyone who looks younger than 27 are exempt from the ordinance.

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The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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