What are your three greatest concerns regarding Flagstaff’s future and what steps should we take to help address them?
Lack of safe, affordable housing. Make a community priority and budget city resources; effective incentive policy; continue to find funding.
Climate change. Transportation and building energy are two of the biggest GHG emitters. Design transportation that’s more efficient than private automobiles; municipal buildings energy retrofits; renewable energy production.
How we guide change: creating a city that’s inclusive, well designed, creates meaningful work opportunities, fosters a culture of creativity, and celebrates the beauty and benefits of a healthy natural environment. Much outside our control, impact what we can: build parks and trails, get out of our cars, create art and innovate.
1. High cost of living: The lack of affordable housing affects all sectors of our economy. The City Council, in collaboration with the development community, should revise the Incentive Policy for Affordable Housing.
2. Dramatic changes in Flagstaff’s character. Flagstaff has experienced tremendous growth with new enormous student housing projects and subdivisions. I’m concerned that it won’t be long before Flagstaff has morphed into a city many don’t recognize. It’s hard to undo what’s been done, but the City can have conversations about the Regional Plan during the update process.
3. The city budget: Flagstaff is in the midst of recession so the Council is going to have to make some hard decisions about what is essential and what the city can do without.
The three greatest concerns facing Flagstaff are economic stability, balanced growth and equitable housing for all. While issues will change with time, our values will remain to help guide us in our decision making. Good communication, including listening to all sides of what our community values, will be the cornerstone. Respect for ourselves, each other and our environment will build a more resilient foundation. Lastly, equity. Until we are all represented by a voice at the table there will be gaps in our system. It is our job to fill those gaps. This is our town. We decide the future!
Reasonably priced housing is a primary issue. We need to encourage builders to be part of the solution by eliminating unneeded rules, while keeping appropriate rules. We need to open up land south of I-40 for new family housing. Next, we need to limit development to that which protects existing neighborhoods. We need reasonably sized building to protect our character, but we don’t want Phoenix-style sprawl.
Finally, we need a Council that listens to the residents and has forward thinking. We need a balance between new blood on Council and enough experience that appropriate decisions are made.
My three concerns are growth, sustainability, and climate change action. We’re limited in our ability to stop growth due to state preemptions leaving us in a position to act more responsively than preventatively. Sustainability is key since we’re still using fossil fuels for electricity production, our recycling rate is only at 7% of our waste, and we’re close to exceeding the groundwater capacity of our 100-year plan. In addition, climate migration from areas such as Phoenix where record-breaking heats are still occurring seems likely. We’re feeling the pressure to grow and this should be a concern to all of us.