Council to ponder expansion of C-1

A proposed expansion of the C-1 commercial zoning district faces what could be the final obstacle in its path to approval at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The ordinance has taken several different forms over the past few months, and after the Jan. 8 City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, yet another version of the expansion has been recommended to Council.

Development Services Director Gary Jeppson originally presented what is now titled Ordinance 1599-A, which added several C-2: Commercial, Community Business uses to the list of allowable uses in C-1: Commercial, Neighborhood Convenience areas.

Some of the C-2 uses, such as museums and parks, currently are allowed in C-2 areas only with conditional use permits, but they were moved into the C-1 ordinance as either permitted or conditionally permitted uses.

At the Jan. 8 P&Z meeting, some uses drew the ire of concerned citizens, compelling the commission to recommend changes to the proposed expansion.

P&Z advised designating each of the uses changing from C-2 to C-1 as conditionally permitted uses. CUPs require notice to all surrounding property owners within 150 feet of the property for which such a use is requested.

The commissioners also requested that language omitted from Ordinance 1599-A be reinserted into their proposed Ordinance 1599-B. That language includes a provision authorizing city staff to approve uses that are "closely similar" to expressly permitted uses. Such requests, therefore, would not require public hearings or P&Z Commission approval.

Restrictions

Both versions of the ordinance restrict operation hours of non-residential businesses in C-1 areas to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., although a property owner may request a CUP to operate beyond this restriction. Additionally, buildings are limited to 25,000 square feet and individual suites are limited to 10,000 square feet in each draft.

Development Services first considered the increase in permitted C-1 uses due to concerns about property owners requesting rezoning to C-2, which would allow many types of businesses that are not considered "neighborhood friendly." Because C-1 zoning is meant to act as a buffer between strictly residential areas and more intense commercial enterprises, city staff tried to pick out the less objectionable C-2 uses and fit them into the proposed C-1 expansion.

Due to fears expressed by citizens and business owners about the possibility of some new uses being inappropriate for certain areas, P&Z commissioners added the CUP requirement to their recommendation to Council. CUPs often include a yearly review requirement, which would allow citizens affected by a change to report any problems with the new uses. Those problems could spark a withdrawal by Council of the CUP.

Development Services staff will present the original expansion ordinance along with the P&Z draft to Council at Tuesday's meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, located at 310 N. Fourth St.

Other actions

Council will consider approval of a resolution adopting a plan, policy and procedure to provide city services to annexed areas, as required by Arizona Revised Statutes Section 9-471(O).

Council will consider approval of an ordinance annexing 640 acres west of the Arizona Game and Fish office, off North Stockton Hill Road.

Council will consider approval of amendments to regulations regarding political and campaign signs, as recommended 7-0 by the P&Z Commission.