Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs gave an overview of the temporary sign waiver program. The Town Council approved a temporary sign waiver program from August 2, 2010 through February 1, 2011. To date, the Development and Infrastructure Services Department has received forty four (44) applications, of those, thirty five (35) have been issued. Of the thirty-five businesses that were approved under the temporary sign waiver program, seventeen (17) businesses were required to submit economic data. At this time, sixteen (16) businesses have submitted data.
Approximately 75% of the businesses showed an increase in business and 25% of the businesses showed a decrease in overall business.
Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs stated that it was difficult to make an accurate analysis of whether or not the sign code waiver worked for the following reasons:
-Temporary Sign relief occured during the Holidays
-Large number of snowbirds were in Town
-Number of businesses still used other means of advertising
-No year over year comparison
Staff is recommending to let the temporary sign waiver program expire on February 1st as well as not allowing the use of A-frames.
Councilmember Solomon stated that he would like staff to bring back design guidelines for freestanding banners.
Discussion ensued amongst the Council regarding the temporary sign waiver program and the economic data that was submitted by the businesses that utilized the sign waiver program.
Mr. John Piccoli, owner of Ace Hardware, stated that he gave a large amount of data to the Council to review. Mr. Piccoli said that he was able to hire workers because the signs have brought in more business and he urged the Council to look over the sign waiver program and improve it.
Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs clarified that new businesses can display banners two times a year for a period of thirty days. Seasonal or Special Event banners can be utilized four times a year for a period of thirty days. Temporary signs on the day of the event are allowed four times a year for a one day period.
Oro Valley resident Mr. Bill Adler stated that the temporary sign waiver program is a good idea even though the results were inadequate and the abuse was excessive. There is evidence that the sign waiver program has helped. Mr. Adler stated that he would support the sign waiver program throughout the year.
Oro Valley resident Mr. Don Bristow said that sales were up before the sign waiver program started. The sign waiver program is difficult to analyze because of all of the variables. Tools are in place to help the businesses. Mr. Bristow said that the Town should look at ways to better educate the citizens and developers regarding the sign code.
Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs clarified that the temporary sign waiver program started August 2, 2010.
Mayor Hiremath recommended having the temporary sign code waiver program end once the sign code is adopted so that there is no gap.
Discussion ensued amongst the Council regarding the temporary sign waiver program and the suggested time frame to end the program.
Councilmember Garner stated that he had initially not supported the program and still did not support it. The reason was becuase A-frames were being allowed and that was in direct conflict with the Town Zoning Code. There were no standards for A-frames. He had seen A-frames that were hand painted, of varying sizes, lengths and quality. If standards for banners were being developed, he did not want to leave out standards for A-frames.
Councilmember Solomon stated that A-frames create less clutter than banners but there needs to be enforcement.
Councilmember Gillaspie stated that A-frames degregate the area and don't look as nice and don't draw in high end business.
Councilmember Garner stated that the Town should scutinize businesses who claim hardships in order to qualify for the temporary sign waiver program.
Vice Mayor Snider inquired as to the enforcement guidelines for the temporary sign waiver program.
Development and Infrastructure Services Director Suzanne Smith stated that the signs are inspected when they are first displayed to make sure that they do comply with what was approved on the plan. Code compliance has also re-initiated their bi-weekly - weekend sign compliance runs.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Gillaspie and seconded by Vice Mayor Snider to sustain the temporary sign waiver for thirty (30) days after the adoption of the new sign code.
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Planning Division Manager David Williams gave an overview of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO) and stated that the purpose of the ESLO is to implement the community vision of conserving natural, cultural and scenic resources within the community.
The ESL Ordinance will also bring requirements together in a cohesive manner so that it helps facilitate the planning process.
Mr. Williams outlined the ESL process and stated that the foundation of the process has been built on public input. Mr. Williams exclaimed that the basis for the science of the ESL came from the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP). The SDCP for Pima County was developed by over one hundred research scientists and cultural resource specialists. The Town of Oro Valley refined the county plan by performing on the ground mapping to clearly identify resources and to take growth expectations into account.
Planning Division Manager David Williams outlined the Resource Management Areas which consists of three tiers. These tiers represent the amount of open space that must be reserved.
-Tier I 66%
-Tier II 25%
-Tier III 0%
The proposed ESL Ordinance also addresses the hillside code in order to:
-Target Specific Slopes
Mr. Williams discussed the inclusion of a Cultural Resources section which the code has been previously silent on and gave an overview of the Scenic Resource Category.
Mr. Williams stated that the Town of Oro Valley proposed ESL Ordinance has distinct benefits which include:
-Creates certainty of open space requirements
-Respect economic development objectives
-Approach respects current economic conditions
-Tools to develop in challenging terrain
-Comprehensive array of incentives
-Opportunities to decrease infrastructure costs
Discussion ensued amongst the Council regarding the proposed ESL Ordinance.
Mr. David Godlewski with the Southern AZ Homebuilders Association thanked the Council for their willingness to research the ESL Ordinance. Mr. Godlewski stated that this is a very significant land use regulation and urged the Council to move cautiously and listen to all of the input given.
Ms. Amber Smith with the Metropolitan Pima Alliance (MPA) stated that she was encouraged by the discussion tonight and thanked staff for working very diligently on the ESL Ordinance. Ms. Smith said that the MPA focuses on a collaborative process in order to create sustainable land use policy. A major issue for the MPA is that the Town asks for many things but doesn’t guarantee that they will follow through if those criteria are met.
Mr. Richard Maes, representing Rancho Vistoso and the developer Vistoso Partners stated that he has worked with staff on this very complex issue. Mr. Maes stated that if the proposed regulations were in effect when Stone Canyon was developed, it wouldn’t exist under the regulations proposed in the ESL Ordinance. It is not financially viable for developers to give up the majority of their property before they ever build the first roadway. Mr. Maes felt that the guideline that stated that a rooftop should not be seen from a park or a Pima County walking trail is extreme. Fifteen to twenty foot setbacks for fences, swimming pools, ramadas and buildings are extreme. Mr. Maes also stated that it is unrealistic to redo the Archeological-Cultural Resources guidelines every ten years.
Oro Valley resident Ms. Mary Walker, a retired environmental chemist, thanked the Council and staff for all of the work that they have done on the ESL Ordinance. Ms. Walker urged the Council to continue to preserve the Oro Valley land in order to protect the wildlife. The protection of ESL will enrich the life of present and future generations. Ms. Walker stated that she was concerned with the protection of property values.
Oro Valley resident Mr. Don Chatfield exclaimed that he was thrilled to be here and happy to have the Council bring the ESL forward. Mr. Chatfield stated that the time is right to bring the ESL forward because it is good for business. The Town should take advantage of its natural surroundings. Mr. Chatfield said that he believes that the document is ready to adopt.
Councilmember Gillaspie clarified that the ESL Ordinance is to streamline and make more efficient the regulations that will apply to the property once the rezoning is granted. The current codes will make it more difficult on pieces of property because the current General Plan talks about significant resource areas which are not defined.
Mayor Hiremath closed the public hearing.
MOTION: A motion was made by Mayor Hiremath and seconded by Councilmember Hornat to continue Ordinance (O) 11-01 to the February 16th Council meeting and any questions from Council will be submitted to Planning Manager David Williams or Assistant to the Town Manager Kevin Burke and then distributed to the rest of the Council and the Council sub-groups will continue to be briefed regarding the ESL matters.
MOTION carried, 4-3 with Garner, Gillaspie, and Solomon opposed.