Regional Plan Amendment
The City of Flagstaff adopted a Major Plan Amendment on climate change and climate action to the Flagstaff 2030 Regional Plan.
The amendment revises pages IV-11, IV-12 , and X-19 of the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030: Place Matters (Regional Plan). View the new pages here. The revisions align the Regional Plan Climate Change and Adaptation pages with the City’s climate action work and the 2021 Carbon Neutrality Plan.
Learn more about the Regional Plan Amendment for Carbon Neutrality
The City has adopted a major amendment to the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030. The amendment is within the Climate Change and Adaptation section of the Environmental Planning & Conservation Chapter - pages IV-11 and IV-12. View the new pages here.
What is the amendment?
The changes to pages IV-11 and IV-12 include:
- Changes to the narrative
- Revisions to goals E&C 2 and E&C 3
- Revisions to policies E&C 2.1, E&C 2.2, E&C 3.2, and E&C 4.1
- Addition of four policies: E&C 2.3, E&C 2.4, E&C 3.5, and E&C 3.6
In addition to the text revisions on the Climate Change and Adaptation pages, this amendment also includes a wording revision to policy T.8.1, in the Transportation chapter (located on page X-19). The changes include:
Goal and policy revisions:
- Goal: E&C.2:
- Original: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Amendment: Achieve carbon neutrality for the Flagstaff community by 2030.
- Policy E&C.2.1:
- Original: Policy E&C.2.1. Encourage the reduction of all energy consumption, especially fossil-fuel generated energy, in public, commercial, industrial and residential sectors.
- Amendment: Policy E&C.2.1. Encourage the reduction of energy and material consumption.
- Policy E&C.2.2:
- Original: Promote investments that strengthen climate resiliency.
- Amendment: Promote investments that create a more connected and efficient community, decrease emissions from transportation and building energy, and strengthen climate resiliency.
- Goal E&C.3
- Original: Strengthen community and natural environment resiliency through climate adaptation efforts.
- Amendment: Prepare Flagstaff’s community systems and resources to be more resilient to climate change impacts, and address climate change in a manner that prioritizes those most impacted and ensures the costs and benefits of climate adaptation and mitigation are equitably distributed.
- Policy E&C.3.2:
- Original: Review and revise existing regulations, standards, and plans (codes, ordinances, etc.) to reduce the community’s vulnerability to climate change impacts.
- Amendment: Review and revise existing regulations, standards, and plans (codes, ordinances, etc.) to reduce the community’s vulnerability to climate change impacts and reduce the disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities.
- Policy E&C.4.1:
- Original: Assess vulnerabilities and risks of Flagstaff’s natural resources
- Amendment: Assess vulnerabilities and risks of Flagstaff’s natural resources in the context of anticipated climate changes and resulting changes to Flagstaff’s systems.
Four new policies:
- Policy E&C.2.3: Review and revise existing regulations, standards, and plans (codes, ordinances, etc.) to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions.
- Policy E&C.2.4: Promote developments that help the community achieve carbon neutrality through strategies that reduce the project’s emissions from transportation, energy, and consumption.
- Policy E&C.3.5: Improve the ability of vulnerable community members to adapt and thrive amidst the pressures of climate change.
- Policy E&C.3.6: Commit to equitably distribute the burdens and benefits of climate action policies and investments to all segments of the community.
A policy revision for policy T.8.1, in the Transportation Chapter:
- Policy T.8.1:
- Current: Promote efficient transportation connectivity to major trade corridors, employment centers, and special districts that enhances the region’s standing as a major economic hub.
- Amendment: Promote efficient transportation network connectivity to and within major trade corridors, employment centers, and special districts that enhances the region’s standing as a major economic hub.
What is a major plan amendment?
“The Flagstaff Regional Plan is a dynamic document that can be updated, revised, and improved over time to respond to emerging issues, new ideas, and changing conditions.” - The Flagstaff Regional Plan.
The State and the City of Flagstaff outline specific requirements of major plan amendments. These are outlined in Chapter III of the Regional Plan and the Flagstaff City Code, Title 11, General Plans and Subdivisions.
There are several types of major Plan amendments. This amendment is a text amendment, which adds or deletes a goal or policy in any chapter of the Plan.
Why was this change necessary?
This text amendment updated the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030’s discussion of climate change and climate action to align with the City of Flagstaff’s climate action goals. The climate action work of the City evolved rapidly after the 2014 adoption of the Regional Plan, creating a gap between the guidance provided in the Regional Plan and the City’s declared climate goals and the ambition of its climate actions.
This gap was exemplified in the Regional Plan’s discussion of greenhouse gas reduction targets.
- The original Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 climate change and adaptation section set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Goal E&C.2.: reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- In 2018, City Council set a goal to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
- In 2020, City Council declared a climate emergency and set a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, effectively reducing emissions to net zero. The achievement of this goal will be guided by the Carbon Neutrality Plan, which was adopted by the Flagstaff City Council on June 15, 2021.
While these goal statements all support City action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do not conflict with one another, there existed a significant gap between the ambition and requisite actions of these goal statements, reflecting the growth in the urgency of climate action.
This amendment restored alignment between the Regional Plan and the City’s climate goals, clarifying the carbon neutrality goal and the types of climate action the City will take. This amendment aimed to reduce confusion, increase transparency, and provide decision-makers with support when making decisions based on the City’s climate action goals.
What are the benefits of this change?
This amendment to align the Regional Plan and the City’s well-established climate action goals provides several benefits to the community. First, formally recognizing the climate action efforts of the City of Flagstaff and its partners increases understanding within the Flagstaff community. This amendment helps readers of the Regional Plan understand the extent of the City’s climate goals, how the City is taking climate action, and where to look for detailed information on the implementation of the Regional Plan goals.
This amendment also increases transparency. Since the 2018 adoption of the Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, the City of Flagstaff has endeavored to incorporate climate change concerns and climate action into its decision-making processes. However, the broad nature of the original Regional Plan greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal did not specify the extent of emissions reductions needed. Prior, in the development review process, staff and other decision-makers did not have strong climate action goals and policies to refer to for guidance in decision-making. Meanwhile, some applicants provide details on the environmental features or climate benefits of their projects. Strengthening the Regional Plan’s climate action goals and policies clarifies the importance of climate action and provides both applicants and decision-makers with a more current reflection of the City’s climate change and climate action priorities.
Completed public process:
|October 27th, 2021||Citizen's Review Session at the Planning and Zoning Commission, 4:00 pm.|
|November 10th, 2021||Hearing One at the Planning and Zoning Commission, 4:00 pm.|
|November 16th, 2021||Work Session at the Flagstaff City Council, 3:00 pm.|
|November 17th, 2021||Hearing Two at the Planning and Zoning Commission,4:30 pm.|
|December 7th, 2021||Meeting for Adoption at the Flagstaff City Council, 3:00 pm.|