The March 22nd council vote on The Hub was the most discouraging council action I have seen in my four years as Mayor. Hub's rezoning request was denied. They needed six votes. They received four. As a result The Hub will now be built as a less attractive, less functional apartment complex. Not out of spite, but because their existing zoning and the flood plane dictates it.
The rezoning would have resulted in 3 stories along the streets and a row of shops along Mike's Pike. (Note that in the top photo to the right there are 4 stories along the street. The Hub had agreed to reduce that to 3 stories.) The architecture would be red brick. Now because of the March 22nd vote, we will have 4-5 stories and a foundation wall along the sidewalk of Mike's Pike (the lower photo).
The meeting was unusual because the rezone required a "super majority" of the council. This was because some of the nearby property owners filed a formal protest. Six votes were needed to pass. Voting in favor of the more attractive plan were me, Jeff Oravits, Karla Brewster and Scott Overton.
Unfortunately, Coral Evans, Eva Putzova and Celia Barotz would not support the rezoning and so we get a lesser project as a result. And, we walked away from a $500,000 contribution toward a parking garage on the southside.
The March vote came after the council listened for weeks to the public express concerns about the project. It was clear to me from the start that many Flagstaff residents were alarmed by the project. I admit I was taken aback by the original plan (ironically, the plan that will now be built as a result of last night's vote.) As an elected official I want to follow the public's wishes, but as an elected official I also must follow the law, the zoning code and the regional plan. I firmly believe there is nothing the city council can do to "stop the Hub." We can, however, take steps NOW to review the zoning code and revise it in a way that it reflects the community's concerns.
I am also disappointed by the way in which the entire process was portrayed to the public. There was a perception that a "no" vote would somehow save Flagstaff, but that is exactly the opposite of what happened. The evening of the vote I watched in disbelief as three of our council members ignored the reality of the situation. Their vote will leave a lasting impression on our town.
It was not a good night for Flagstaff's future.
This is the final plan that was approved in June. 4-5 stories straight up, no shops. This is a poor example of city infill. This is what Flagstaff will live with thanks to a minority of city council members, including my opponent.
This picture shows the re-zone request, with shops along Mike's Pike. Also, the final plan amended the above depiction -- instead of four stories it would rise only three stories along Mike's Pike.
Jerry Nabours for Mayor