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Q. Why do we need to update the Regional Plan?

A. Arizona law requires every community with over 2,500 residents to update their general plan every 10 years. Our last general plan, or Regional Plan, was ratified by the voters in 2001. The Arizona State Legislature extended the 10-year deadline for updating the Plan in 2010 to 15 years in light of the economy and the limitations on Arizona cities and towns at that time to complete such a planning endeavor. The Flagstaff Regional Plan was adopted by the Flagstaff City Council on January 14, 2014 and is now scheduled to go to the voters for ratification in May 2014.

Q. Why is the Regional Plan being voted on?

  1. Arizona law requires that each city's general plan must be approved by voters before taking effect. County general plans do not have to be voter-approved; consequently, voters outside the City limits will not vote on the Regional Plan.

Q. What is the significance of the Regional Plan?

  1. As mandated by state law, the plan covers a range of topics with information on current conditions and our vision for the future as it relates to the topic at hand. In addition, the Plan outlines carefully developed goals and policies to realize the future vision. As a policy guide the Plan provides a framework for other detailed planning documents and planning tools, such as the zoning code, strategic plans (perhaps for a neighborhood or other area of the City), and master plans (utilities, parks and recreation, etc.).

Q. What is the difference between a goal and a policy?

  1. A goal is the desired result a community envisions and commits to achieve. A policy is a deliberate course of action, mostly directed at decision makers in government, but also may be for institutional and business leaders, to guide decisions and achieve stated goals.

Q. Why is it called a Regional Plan?

  1. The Plan emphasizes a regional approach rather than just a local jurisdictional approach to regional problems and issues. The City and County chose to partner on the Regional Plan even though they were not required to do so by state mandate. The Plan addresses a wide variety of issues that do not end at the City’s boundaries, therefore, incorporating the larger geographic perspective makes the plan more meaningful and provides a tool for continuity in the way we grow as a region.

 Q. Who developed the Regional Plan?

  1. The City Council and County Board of Supervisors appointed a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) with members from the greater Flagstaff community. The CAC included a diverse cross-section of citizens from business, development, environmental, and real estate interests, as well as interested citizens. Incorporating thousands of community members’ ideas and opinions, the conclusions from a community survey prepared by Northern Arizona University, and a diligent and dedicated CAC, the Flagstaff Regional Plan has been developed by Flagstaff residents.

Q. What kind of community feedback/involvement was involved in the development of the Plan?

  1. After a citizen survey, thousands of public comments, and hundreds of public meetings, the final Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030: Place Matters document was drafted. Each draft of the plan received and incorporated hundreds of suggested edits. During the City Council’s review of the Regional Plan last year, many people addressed the Council to express their support for the Plan, or to suggest changes. By the end of the year, the Council provided direction on what changes were needed, and as late as January 14, 2014 when the Plan was unanimously adopted by the Council, further edits and changes to certain policies were made.

Q. How will the Regional Plan be used?

  1. The Flagstaff Regional Plan is used for decision making so that Flagstaff City government is accountable for publicly derived policy outcomes and goals. It provides goals and policies to help determine physical and economic development within the Flagstaff region. The Plan will be used as a guide, or roadmap, for the future of the City and the region, and will also serve as a benchmark for citizens, developers, and public officials. It will provide all these groups a standard to evaluate future proposals and decisions concerning the region’s future development.

 Q. How does the Regional Plan support and protect property rights?

  1. The Regional Plan does not affect existing property rights or entitlements, and it differentiates between currently undeveloped land and land that is preserved as open space. The Plan does not call any property ‘Open Space’ unless it has been purchased or legally designated for conservation purposes, since vacant undeveloped land always has the potential for development consistent with zoning entitlements. The Open Space chapter outlines all legal and financial tools to acquire/buy vacant land for conservation purposes. The maps also include notes stating that existing development rights remain and that the ‘maps’ are illustrations for a future vision.

Q. What is new in the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 compared to the former RLUTP?

  1. Much of the Regional Plan maintains and builds upon the goals, policies, and approach of the 2001 RLUTP. For example, the vision, guiding principles, and desire to promote a more sustainable Flagstaff remain the same, and the Plan continues to find a balance between economic growth and natural resource preservation. There are however, a number of important differences as listed below.
    • The former Land Use Map that provided fairly precise land use designations has been replaced by a more generalized Growth Illustration that maps the region as being either urban, suburban, rural, or for employment. Activity centers in which more compact development is encouraged are also mapped.
    • Since the Growth Illustration is less specific than the former Land Use Map in the RLUTP, greater emphasis will be placed on evaluating goals and policies when applying the Regional Plan or evaluating development proposals.
    • Goals and policies in many chapters have been strengthened to reflect the desires of community residents, including open space, water resources, energy, and heritage preservation.
    • Consistent with state law, new housing and economic development elements have been added.

Q. Will the plan affect taxes?

    A. No. Approval of the Regional Plan will not carry any added direct cost to taxpayers.

Q. If approved, when will the Plan take effect?

  1. The new Plan will be effective once the election results in favor of the plan are made official.

Q. What happens if the voters do not approve this plan?

  1. If this Plan is not approved, the City's current general plan, (RLUTP 2001), will remain in effect until a new plan is approved by the voters. It is likely that additional information would be sought from the community to determine whether we should re-adopt the 2001 Plan with some amendments, or edit the Plan that was not ratified and bring a revised version to the citizens at a future election. 

Q. Where is the Regional Plan available to review?

  1. Printed copies of the Plan are available at City Hall at the Planning and Development Services Section front counter, 211 West Aspen Avenue; the main Flagstaff/County Library, 300 W. Aspen Ave; and the East Flagstaff Community Library, 3000 N. 4th St, Suite 5. Each chapter of The Plan is available on this website as a PDF.