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NOTE:

IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROVISIONS OF THE ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES AND THE FLAGSTAFF CITY CHARTER THE SUMMARIZED MINUTES OF CITY FLOODPLAIN BOARD MEETINGS ARE NOT VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTS.  ONLY THE ACTIONS TAKEN AND DISCUSSION APPEARING WITH QUOTATION MARKS ARE VERBATIM.  AUDIO RECORDINGS OF FLOODPLAIN BOARD MEETINGS ARE ON FILE IN THE CITY CLERK’S OFFICE.

 

SUMMARIZED MINUTES

SPECIAL FLOODPLAIN BOARD MEETING

 

September 15, 2009

5:30 p.m.

 

A Special Meeting of the Flagstaff Floodplain Board was held on September 15, 2009, convening at 10:18 p.m., in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 211 West Aspen Avenue, Flagstaff, Arizona.

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

The Meeting was called to order by Mayor Presler.

 

2.      ROLL CALL

 

On roll call, the following were present:

 

 

Mayor Presler

 

Vice-Mayor White

Councilmember Brewster

Councilmember Evans

Councilmember Haughey

Councilmember Overton

Councilmember Swanson - Excused

 

 

Also present were:

 

 

City Manager, Kevin Burke

City Attorney, Patricia Boomsma

 

3.

Consideration of Public Hearing:  Request for Variance to Floodplain Regulations, City Code Section 12-01-001-0006.7, for property located at 6900 E. Old Walnut Canyon Road, Flagstaff.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Open the public hearing.

Receive citizen input.

Close the public hearing.

 

The Water Commission recommends denial of the variance.

 

 

Vice Mayor White moved to open the public hearing.  The motion was seconded by Councilmember Brewster and passed on unanimous vote.

 

 

Tom Hieb, Stormwater Project Manager, informed the Council that Lon Franklin, the owner of the property, has proposed to expand an existing storage facility into the floodway on his adjacent parcel.  A variance is needed for the portion of the property within the 100-year Rio Floodplain.  The proposed site is currently zoned RR-E (rural residential existing).  The property would have to be rezoned to light industrial to allow the use under a variance.  Mr. Franklin doesn’t want to go to the expense of rezoning the property to light industrial unless he gets the variance first.  If this doesn’t happen, he would initiate the conditional letter of map revision process.

 

Mayor Presler moved to recess into executive session, seconded by Councilmember Evans.  The motion passed on majority vote with Mayor Presler and Councilmembers Brewster, Evans, Haughey and Overton in favor, and Vice Mayor White opposed.

 

The meeting reconvened at 10:35 p.m.

 

Mr. Hieb presented an aerial photograph of the 25-year flood that occurred in 1993 showing the entire area, including the existing operation and adjacent properties, under water.  The area where the expansion is proposed is in a floodway, and there is no floodplain area.  A floodway is the path of the flow of the water.  A floodplain is where the water spreads out and pools and where there is no current.  Nothing can be built in a floodway.  The expansion area when flooded is covered by moving water with a current.  Because there is no pooling of water on the proposed site, it is all designated as a floodway and has been since 1983.  Floodplain regulations don’t preclude the applicant from using the property; however, for the areas below the 100-year floodwater elevation, a variance would be required.

 

A pad could be built up so it is no longer in the floodplain, but that would create the need to dig deeper in another location to accommodate the displacement of the existing waters.  The applicant could go through that process with FEMA, but has chosen not to. 

 

Staff recommends denying the request for a variance as granting a variance without adequate justification could result in disciplinary action by FEMA, which could negatively impact the City and its residents.  The Water Commission and the FEMA representative for Flagstaff recommended denying the request.

 

Lon Franklin, the applicant, first received a variance to build the original yard in 1995 and then received a second variance in 2005 to expand.  He didn’t understand why a third variance on similar type of land is being recommended for denial.  He disagrees with staff’s contention that in 1995 the ordinance was misinterpreted, which allowed him to obtain the prior variances.  Mr. Franklin asserted that the FEMA representative was not opposed to a variance, but could not take that as a public stand. 

 

Malcolm Alter, Stormwater Manager, noted that the property does not have any unique physical characteristics that would create the exceptional hardship required for a variance.  The use of only part of the property, or the requirement to develop the property as required by the Floodplain Regulations, also does not impose an exceptional hardship.  The property not in the floodway can be developed and used as proposed in a way that fully complies with Floodplain Regulations.  It will likely be more expensive to the applicant than the current proposal; however, economic or financial hardship is not a valid reason for granting a

variance.  The Stormwater Regulations quoted by Mr. Franklin applies to floodplains and not to floodways.  His expansion is in the floodway.  Parking lots are acceptable in a flood fringe, but not in a floodway.  Moreover, FEMA interprets the regulations the same way that staff does, and there has been no communication to the contrary.

 

Mayor Presler moved to postpone the item for 30 days in order to give legal staff time to prepare for and give Council legal advice in an executive session.  The motion was seconded by Councilmember Overton and passed on unanimous vote.

 

4.      ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Board, the Special Floodplain Board Meeting was adjourned at 11:28 p.m.

 

 

                                                                         

MAYOR

 

ATTEST:

                                                                           

CITY CLERK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CERTIFICATION

 

STATE OF ARIZONA,

 

Coconino County.

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ss.

I, MARGIE BROWN, do hereby certify that I am the City Clerk of the City of Flagstaff, County of Coconino, State of Arizona, and that the above Minutes are a true and correct summary of the Special Floodplain Board Meeting of the City of Flagstaff held on September 15, 2009.  I further certify that the Special Floodplain Board Meeting was duly called and held and that a quorum was present.

 

DATED this 21st day of October, 2009.

 

                                                                           

CITY CLERK