Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

As of this date Planning Staff has not informed me about the future plans of Mr. Froke’s project for 70 town houses on 5 acres zoned for Low Density Residential on the west side of 83rd Avenue. That is because there have been meetings between Mr. Froke and the Planning Department but no finalization of any plan. As you may recall, it was tabled by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) on April 28, 2002, with the applicant to decide when it will be reheard by the P&Z.

Recently I received an email from an old friend. This person lived in Glendale for 40 years and was extremely active in the community, having also served on many boards and commissions. This person read my previous blog on the Planning Commission meeting of April 28, 2022. The comments in the email really highlight one of the prime directives of the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z): “I have just skimmed over the report you made of the planning commission’s meeting to address the 83rd Avenue proposal.  I completely agree with you that this is totally out of bounds.  While I didn’t read the whole transcript, I did enough to know that the commission members seem to have had no training on what their duties are. They are to uphold the general plan.  The people have voted on the general plan, and no one or two people are competent enough or have the authority to overturn the public’s desires.  The property owner cannot do whatever he/she wants with their property; they must be held to the zoning regulations and the general plan.”

What is a General Plan? The city states, “A General Plan provides vision and policies that determine how a city will grow and develop in the future. The City of Glendale’s General Plan is a long-range comprehensive plan that guides development in the City by addressing various elements such as land use, housing, growth areas, urban design, military and aviation, open space, circulation, fiscal public health, environmental planning, energy, etc.”

Arizona State Statues requires municipalities to adopt, update, and readopt their General Plans every ten years. The Glendale City Council adopted an updated General Plan on April 26, 2016 and it was approved by Glendale voters on August 30, 2016. It is called Envision Glendale 2040.

Envision Glendale 2040 states, “The General Plan is designed as a policy and reference document to guide future development, projects, and programs.  It is used to determine how and where growth should occur, ways to wisely invest capital improvements, and techniques for enhancing and sustaining Glendale’s quality of life. Using a holistic approach, this plan looks to achieve a citizens’ directive for moderate, well‐managed growth.”  It also states, “Locational placements for private and/or public development investment are coordinated on the Land Use Map.  It is not a zoning map, but it does reflect the types and intensities of current land uses as well as intended development massing with which future zoning decisions are expected to be consistent.”

The Plan offers guidance on General Plan Amendments, and I found this provision very interesting: A Major General Plan Amendment can be applicable for less than 20 acres when,

“The Planning Director may determine an amendment as “major” if it is less than the minimum areas (20 acres) in the above table but: 1) the infrastructure demands are not offset by private investment or privately‐constructed extensions or expansions to publicly‐provided systems: and/or 2) the change has a substantial impact on the neighborhood or on furthering the goals of the General Plan.”

When you look at item 2, “the change has a substantial impact on the neighborhood…” It seems that going from 1 to 2.5 units to an acre to 20 units to an acre within a specific area general planned as low density residential, would certainly have a substantial impact on the neighborhood and should have been considered a Major General Plan Amendment.

Major General Plan Amendments are more complicated and can only be considered by the city at two specific times per year. However, I wonder why this request was not considered by the city as a Major General Plan Amendment?

Perhaps the P&Z Commissioners need a refresher course on their duties and responsibilities. They should be reminded that it is their responsibility to uphold the General Plan…you know, that document approved by Glendale’s voters. Any request for a change must be made by the applicant showing that it offers no “substantial impact on the neighborhood.” Mr. Froke took every opportunity to avoid the issue of density and never made the case.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


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