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CITY AND COUNTY STREAMLINE DEVELOPMENT PERMITTING SERVICES WITH CO-LOCATION
The Phoenix City Council and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement to streamline the development process by opening a Maricopa County Service Counter within City Hall. The counter will be located at Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington St., second floor.
In addition to existing permitting services in the city’s Planning & Development Department, the services will now include Maricopa County Environmental Services (MCESD) and Air Quality (MCAQD) departments permitting functions.
“Phoenix and Maricopa County are stronger when we work together,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “This is a great example of creative thinking focused on eliminating red tape and difficulties for business owners.”
“By co-locating county permitting functions at the city of Phoenix we create a seamless process – and a one-stop-shop – for those looking to develop in our city,” said Vice Mayor Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency and Economy Subcommittee. “There is not a finish line when it comes to innovations and efficiencies such as this. We will continue to look for additional ways to streamline processes and provide better customer service to encourage development in our city.”
Board chairman Andy Kunasek, praised the effort. “Phoenix City Council members Tom Simplot and Bill Gates were instrumental in putting this together,” he said. “And our staffs worked hard to make this happen. I hope this can be one of many partnerships between the county and Phoenix and other cities,” Kunasek added.
Craig DeMarco, founding partner of Upward Projects including Postino, Windsor and Federal Pizza, agreed. “When Phoenix and Maricopa County work together to streamline the process, it gives us more time and energy to focus on operating great restaurants,” DeMarco said. “We fully support this objective.”
“This long overdue partnership is possible because of the common sense, vision and commitment of County Supervisor Andy Kunasek and County Manager Tom Manos,” said Councilman Tom Simplot. “It will save a few steps for new businesses and improve communication and consistency along the way.”
“Business owners will now be able to get their permitting in one place – a ‘one-stop’ shop,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio. “It only makes sense to find ways to accommodate small business owners so they can save time and money and focus on creating jobs.”
As part of the development process, customers of the city’s Planning & Development Department are required to get permits from MCESD and MCAQD for projects such as restaurants, special events, septic tanks and dust control. This improvement will now allow owners to more efficiently pick up their permits.
“It’s always good when we can make doing business with government easier and more sensible for businesses and residents,” commented County Manager Tom Manos. “This will probably reduce the number of trips to government offices for those seeking permits.”
The counter is scheduled to open for business February 2014 during city business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Images courtesy of City of Phoenix
Last week DPJ provided a step-by-step overview of the process behind the choice of Roosevelt Housing Associates (RHA) “The Row” proposal for developing the property along 2nd Street north of Roosevelt that also includes the historic Leighton G. Knipe House. City staff has requested that the Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee recommend City Council authorization to enter into a development agreement with RHA.
There was some initial community concern raised regarding aspects of “The Row” proposal, so staff’s initial recommendation to approve was withdrawn from the Subcommittee’s November 6 meeting agenda.
As stated in an updated report submitted to the Subcommittee, this gave both city staff and RHA time to meet with representatives from the community to gain input and answer questions about the project. In the past month, they met with community groups, including the Downtown Voices Coalition, Evans Churchill Community Association, and Garfield Organization. Additional meetings were held with the leadership from Roosevelt Action Association, Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, and the Roosevelt Row Merchants Association. The City also responded to and offered to meet with individuals who contacted the City directly regarding the proposed development.
Following a dialogue with City staff and RHA at their neighborhood meeting, the Evans Churchill Community Association drafted a letter of support for the project, stating, “In a neighborhood that is both vibrant and in transition, such as Evans Churchill, careful consideration is needed to prepare a development that contributes to the community in a meaningful way, is financially sound, and can be successfully accomplished. The Roosevelt Housing Associates proposal meets those objectives. We look forward to engaging with the developer to ensure their project brings maximum benefits to our neighborhood and the surrounding downtown community.”
Based on the feedback, RHA agreed to make several changes to their proposal to enhance its appeal to the community and help integrate the project successfully into the existing neighborhood. The changes include:
1) develop approximately 15-20 percent of the units as market rate, with no age or income restrictions, creating a diverse, mixed income project;
2) require all tenants to sign an affidavit acknowledging they are moving into a vibrant arts district;
3) develop the street-level units as live-work artist studios;
4) actively market the project to artists; and
5) dedicate a portion of the common area space for local artists to prominently display their works.
Pending City Council authorization, City staff and Roosevelt Housing Associates will continue to work with neighborhood groups throughout the design process.
Event Parking Concerns
Another pressing concern for the community surrounding the proposed development was the need to develop additional public parking solutions to support the increasing number of events and other activities in the area. To ameliorate this concern, City staff have made a recommendation that the net proceeds from the sale of the property be applied to the planning and development of a district parking solution for the Evans Churchill/Roosevelt Row area, east of Central Avenue and north of Roosevelt Street. City staff will work with the community, property owners, business owners and stakeholders in the coming months to evaluate and develop options, and will return to the Subcommittee early next year with specific recommendations to address the parking issue.
The Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee will meet again on Wednesday, December 4, to review the changes to the proposal and make a recommendation to the whole council to proceed with negotiations with RHA on the development of the proposal. The meeting is open to the public.
If You Go
What: Phoenix City Council Meeting of Downtown, Aviation and Development Subcommittee
Where: Phoenix City Hall, 1st Floor Atrium, Assembly Rooms A, B, & C, 200 West Washington Street
When: Wednesday, December 4, 9:30 a.m.
In September, City of Phoenix staff approved moving forward with the negotiations with Roosevelt Housing Associates for the “disposition and redevelopment of City-owned property on Second Street between Roosevelt and Portland Street.”
Upon hearing this decision, there was a flurry of rumor and reaction that swept through the downtown community. We decided to dig deeper and get the facts straight about the underlying RFP (request for proposals) process and how the decision was made to move forward with Roosevelt Housing Associates.
Parsing the Process
In September 2012, the City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department (CED) issued the “Notice of Request for Proposals to Develop or Redevelop Urban and/or Mixed-Use Development Projects on Property Within Downtown Phoenix” (RFP-CED-2012-UMD01).
The RFP is identified as a two (2)-step process:
- Step One is a review of qualifications based on an executive project summary submitted describing the proposed project.
- If the Step One submittal is accepted and approved to move on to Step Two, such approval will be provided in writing by the City. Step Two is a review of a full RFP proposal, including specific business terms.
The RFP for the historic Leighton G. Knipe House (1025 N. 2nd Street) and surrounding area (RFP-CED-2012-UMD01-A4 – Addendum 4) was issued on May 9, 2013.
The deadline for Addendum 4 proposals was 12 noon, June 7, 2013. Four proposals were submitted:
- DAVIS (Mike Davis is an owner of an adjacent property)
- Rainey Development LLC/Butler Housing Company Inc. (Wayne Rainey is an owner of an adjacent property)
- Roosevelt Housing Associates
- Urban Sol Development LLC
The Step One Review panel convened on June 13, 2013. Four individuals served on this evaluation panel:
- Rob Cox – Project Management Assistant, CED, City of Phoenix
- Don Keuth – President, Phoenix Community Alliance
- Eric Johnson – Economic Development Program Manager, CED, City of Phoenix
- Kevin Weight – Senior Planner, Historic Preservation Office, City of Phoenix
During both the Step One and Step Two reviews, scoring was reached using the consensus scoring methodology. How does the consensus scoring methodology work? Each evaluator independently reads and scores the proposals prior to the evaluation team meeting. This process affords each evaluator the opportunity to independently analyze each proposal, make notes relating to observations, strengths and weaknesses, and questions regarding a vendor’s proposal.
The individual evaluators then come together at the evaluation team meeting. This meeting is designed to allow the team to arrive at a consensus. Consensus is reached through discussion and debate that allows each evaluator to inform the team of the rationale for his/her individual scores and/or correct misconceptions of the individual evaluators. Once a consensus is reached, the results are documented with supporting comments. This document becomes the formal evaluation results representing the recommendation of the evaluation team.
At the conclusion of Step One Review panel, two proposals scored high enough for the panel to recommend that they advance to Step Two of the review process: DAVIS and Roosevelt Housing Associates.
Upon review of this recommendation, city management and staff made the decision to send all four proposals on to Step Two in the process, which enabled all four of the original applicants to submit a more in-depth, complete proposal.
“In the interest of making this process as comprehensive as possible, we elected to allow all four proposals to advance and allow each proposer to submit their best ideas in a detailed proposal,” said John Chan, Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Director. “The second step of this process provided the opportunity to assemble a diverse panel with broad representation including neighborhood and business community leadership in the evaluation process.”
The deadline for the Step Two proposals was August 30, 2013. All four of the original applicants submitted more detailed proposals.
The Step Two review panel convened on September 18, 2013. Six individuals served on this evaluation panel:
- Dianne Barker – Board Member, Roosevelt Action Association
- Molly Ryan Carson – VP Development, Ryan Companies US, Inc.
- Michelle Dodds – Historic Preservation Officer, City of Phoenix
- Cory Kincaid – Board Member, Evans Churchill Community Association
- Jeremy Legg – Economic Development Program Manager, CED, City of Phoenix
- Dan Klocke – VP Development, Downtown Phoenix Partnership
- Jeff Moloznik – VP Development, RED Development
The panel reached a consensus to recommend moving forward with the Roosevelt Housing Associates proposal. Their proposal includes building a mixture of live/work housing for artists, senior housing, and workforce housing, and redeveloping the historic Knipe House as a craft brewery and art gallery.
On September 20, 2013 Scott Sumners, CED Deputy Director, made formal recommendation to John Chan to move forward with Roosevelt Housing Associates and enter into negotiations for the disposition and redevelopment of city-owned property on Second Street between Roosevelt and Portland Streets. The recommendation was approved on the same day.
Where is the process now?
As of today, the negotiations between the City and Roosevelt Housing Associates are in process.
We will continue to delve into more details as the negotiations and project moves forward.
It may not be immediately visible to the casual eye, but there is a diverse cross section of people and organizations who are busy creating a thriving root system to support long-term urban livability in Phoenix.
They work both independently and in collaboration to create a sustainable urban landscape that thrives on walkable neighborhoods; entrepreneurial local businesses; an arts and culture suffused environment; innovative mixed-use development, and access to healthcare. Over the next several months, DPJ will take a closer look at the people and projects that are transforming downtown Phoenix into a sustainable 21st century city.
Consider Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) a primary root. Through its partnerships, SCC is making progress in areas as wide-ranging as housing, community development, public health and transportation. Because of the success of this unique collaborative, the Living Cities Network, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropic collaborative of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, met in Phoenix last week for the very first time to learn more about the innovative work being accomplished by SCC locally.
The Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a unique non-profit partnership of thirty-five entities powered by a $20 million fund privately financed by the Raza Development Fund and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Included in the collaborative are lenders; city officials from Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa and their staffs; financial institutions; local foundations; public health professionals; built environment professionals; private businesses; and community groups. Through the fund, the SCC mission is to create an economic catalyst for Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe connected to development along the METRO Light Rail, which means putting into place critical pieces, including underlying policies and tangible outcomes, to complete the sustainability puzzle.
Shannon Scutari, SCC’s co-founder and director explains the significant role for the collaborative as “keeping the conversation going.”
“It’s our job to help connect the dots,” Scutari said. “We break down the development process into easily consumable bite-size steps that create positive outcomes for everyone involved.”
“SCC,” she continues, “provides the glue between builders, city officials and staff, the developers and the neighborhood groups.”
To be truly sustainable, SCC members know that urban growth has to move beyond suburban sprawl, boom-and-bust models to a new paradigm that embraces infill development; increased density with mixed-use development and mixed income housing; access to public transportation; community healthcare; locally-spawned, entrepreneurial businesses; and the incorporation of the arts at every level of public life.
“This is one of the hardest landscapes to get funding in place,” said Scutari. “It has to be multi-faceted to get off the ground.”
“If it wasn’t for the collaborative members doing all the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting – the foundational work – we wouldn’t stand a chance in being attractive to companies, investors and developers who are looking at the Phoenix core as a place to invest in innovative ways.” said Scutari.
SCC Members participate on steering committees focused on policy areas that are most important for redefining urban vibrancy: housing, public health, community development, financial tools, and transportation. Scutari points out the importance of “setting the table” to make this new paradigm effective, saying, “It’s about turning public policy into public action.”
Scutari praises Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s work in making the SCC successful. “A tremendous amount of credit should go to the City of Phoenix and Mayor Stanton for making infill, adaptive reuse and transit-oriented development a priority. The mayor has been a real leader in this space.”
She also notes that Metro Light Rail has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Mayor Stanton, Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, and Mayor Mark Mitchell of Tempe and their staffs to collaborate across city lines in ways that maximize resources and create a winning outcome for each community. Listen to their comments in the video below.
SCC and others who are creating a new vision for a livable, sustainable Phoenix are just beginning to make a difference through the development of projects like The Newton at Camelback Rd. and Third Ave. and Union at Roosevelt at 1st Ave. and Roosevelt St., to name just a few.
Additionally, SCC has been involved with innovative partnerships with SeedSpot, Co+Hoots and LocalFirst to support commercial ventures connected to the light rail line that will attract and create jobs and economic opportunities. And while the impacts are only just beginning to be felt, the relationships being developed are creating a strong root system of trust and success that bodes well for the future of our urban core.
Native American Connections (NAC) could not have picked a better day for their ceremonial “Top Out Celebration.”
Urban Living on 2nd Avenue (“UL2″) welcomed its first visitors this morning, which happens to be Bike to Work and School Day. The residential project is located at 650 North 2nd Ave. (southwest corner of 2nd Ave. and McKinley), just a block away from METRO Light Rail.
With this in mind, perhaps the most significant statistic cited during the proceedings was that future UL2 residents will not need a car because of its proximity to light rail, thereby saving residents over ten thousand dollars each year in transportation costs.
So, let’s see… A transit-friendly location in a good neighborhood? Check. A “trail blazing” nonprofit as developer? Check. Affordable, quality, rental housing in the heart of downtown Phoenix? Check and…check.
Let’s call this a win for downtown Phoenix.
Construction began in September 2012 and is scheduled to complete in December 2013.