Alaxandra Pucciarelli and the Planning and Development staff are owed many thanks for their tireless work and expert analysis of the application by Trinsic Development to rezone the Auza property and coming to a sound recommendation for denial. I thank this staff for their courage and the Planning and Zoning Commissioners as well who unanimously agreed to recommend denial due to serious violations of our Regional Plan.
But now on to the City Council, who must render the final decision.
What factors now could possibly reverse this otherwise sound recommendation by the commissioners? The City Council is likely and understandably concerned with the big picture that may include the demand for housing overall, including affordable housing and provision for the poor. Need for infill due to lack of infrastructure on our city’s margins may also have an influence on how they think about their upcoming decision. Balancing this to an extent are the many non-profit organizations in Flagstaff who exist to help provide for the poor.
But here’s the thing -- the Plan and Code are our laws. Laws mainly serve two functions: they enable, but they also protect and preserve. The needs that City Council is concerned about are indeed important. So Flagstaff can and should be justifiably proud of its past and continuing efforts to meet demand for housing and being caring to the poor.
But there is a balance between the two functions of law here. There is an overriding principle that they can apply, and others will immediately understand it. It is that the “rule of law” is king, not revenue. The Regional Plan is supported by about 70% of our residents and embodies all that we hope for with regard to development going forward as well as what we consider important to preserve and protect. We must never act outside of the rule of law.
Please protect this highly venerated concept by making your views heard at the City Council public hearing June 18 at 6 p.m.