Category Archives: legislation

Snowflake Council rehashes historic preservation ordinance

[Source: Donna Rescorla, The Independent] — Snowflake’s proposed historic preservation ordinance was under discussion again at the Oct. 14 council meeting. Town Manager Paul Watson presented a summary of the questions answered by councilors after the previous meeting. Asked whether the town should have an overlay district or just designate specific homes and businesses, all agreed they should have a district but some thought it should only be along Main Street rather than the area that has already been designated a historic district. That district is in the original town site. Most councilors thought property owners in the district should just receive recommendations if they want to change the look of the building or demolish it rather than having them adhere to certain restrictions. “Are we opposing having restrictions at all?” Councilor Charlie Hendrickson asked. “This would have no teeth or little. We need to have stronger control on those buildings that are designated as historic homes.” Hendrickson listed the Flake Mansion, Smith Home, Freeman Home and Stinson Museum, saying the town helped pay for renovations on these buildings and continues to pay for their operation and maintenance. Councilor Dean Porter said if the ordinance had no restrictions, they could stipulate that historic homes would have to have any changes approved. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

West Desert Preserve supporters make case for Trust land reform

[Source: Tim Hull, Green Valley News] — For many years, conservation groups and citizen coalitions have been trying to amend the state constitution to allow a small portion of Trust land to be permanently removed from the auction block and preserved as open space, which is a concept that didn’t really exist at statehood, when all that wild open space in Arizona was, understandably, something to be bridged and filled rather than celebrated and saved.

The Adamsons (pictured) are on the front lines of this effort, which has found a new and optimistic life in the form an initiative for which supporters are now gathering signatures in hopes of a statewide vote in November. Bill believes that to have usable open space within walking or biking distance of his home is essential to the good life, and it is this belief that has immersed the former aerospace engineer and marketing executive in the murky, often disappointing world of State Trust land reform for the last several years.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tim Hull, Green Valley News.]

Budget adjustment bill signed for State Archives Building

[Source: Doug Kupel] — The Legislature passed and the Governor signed an FY2008 budget adjustment bill (HB2620) for the Arizona State Archives Building. This is good news because the bill limits the Archives Building funding cut to $2 million instead of the $3.5 million that had been proposed. In addition, the Library and Archives agency cut was limited to $233,000 instead of the proposed $270,500. The more moderate cut will allow the building to open on time this summer. If you’ve had contact with the Governor and/or individual legislators regarding the building please send them a short thank-you note.

Suggested language

Dear Elected Official:
I was pleased to learn that the FY2008 budget adjustment bill (HB2620) limited the funding cut for the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History building to $2 million. While this is still a significant reduction, it will allow for a measured and logical move into the new building so it can open on time this summer. Thank you very much for supporting this more moderate budget cut for
the building. A larger cut would have been a serious setback.

It has been a difficult birth for the new State Archives building. As with any newborn, responsibility does not stop with delivery. The new building will need proper care and maintenance for years to come. Your continued support will be needed in the future: for equipment, for staffing, and to restore items eliminated in the FY08 budget such as shelves. I appreciate your support of this compromise solution and look forward to the day when Arizona can dedicate the building to many years of productive use.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Proposition A: The Phoenix parks and preserve initiative

On May 20, 2008, a special election in the City of Phoenix will be held. The campaign for the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative is in full swing.

Background

For the past 10 years, Phoenix voters have invested in outdoor places through the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative. Initiated and passed by 80% of Phoenix voters in 1999, the Initiative has raised over $220 million to build new parks, improve community parks, and purchase pristine Sonoran desert preserve land.

Investments made possible include:

  • Community and Neighborhood Parks: Established or renovated 52 playgrounds, 23 shade structures, 35 armadas, 14 restrooms, new sports lighting at 30 parks and 19 fields, and accessibility modifications at more than 25 parks.
  • Regional Parks: Developed regional parks, including Paseo Highlands, Steele Indian School, Desert West, Pecos Park, Cesar Chavez Park, as well as the Cave Creek Recreational Area and Camelback Ranch.
  • Sonoran Preserve: Purchased 3,759 acres of Arizona State Trust Land, with another 650-acre acquisition planned for this year.

Current funding expires next year, and due to significant population growth and urban sprawl the need for parks and the need to preserve precious parts of our natural desert environment are only growing. Supporters of the Initiative encourage voters to vote “yes” on Proposition A.

What you can do

  • Learn more about the Initiative by visiting http://www.phxparks.com/
  • If you would like a speaker to visit with an organization that you’re affiliated with, contact Tony Motola at 602-462-2291 or info@phxparks.com
  • Watch your mailbox. Vote-by-mail ballots will be mailed the week of April 21.
  • Vote either by mail, at early voting locations, or on May 20, 2008.

Lawmaker hopes to revive bill calling for off-highway vehicle fee

[Source: Danile J. Quigley, Cronkite News Service] — A state representative pushing for legislation that would make off-highway vehicle owners pay a registration fee said Thursday he can still prevail despite the bill’s defeat in a Senate committee. “It’s not over until the fat guy shaves his beard, and I’m growing my beard back,” said Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, who was clean-shaven after sporting a beard. HB 2573 would create a $20-25 fee for each off-highway vehicle to maintain and build trails, restore damaged areas, educate riders and provide more law enforcement. It also would make certain activities misdemeanors, including driving off paths in a manner that damages wildlife, property or natural resources. A bipartisan group of co-sponsors and a diverse coalition ranging from off-roading groups to environmental organizations supported the bill, saying it would help protect landscapes and preserve the pastime in Arizona. The bill failed Wednesday in the Senate Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee on a 3-3 vote. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Congress moves closer to preserving Western beauty

[Source: Faye Bowers, Christian Science Monitor] — This swath of desert is in full bloom. The mountainsides blanketed by towering saguaro forests are now dotted with yellow and orange Mexican poppies, purple lupine, and white chicory. The monument is home to three wilderness areas and two historic trails. These 487,000 acres sit along a corridor between Arizona’s two largest metropolitan areas, Phoenix and Tucson, where demographers predict the population will increase from 5 million people to more than 10 million by 2040.

That’s a key reason, many conservation and wildlife advocates say, Congress should permanently designate this national monument and more than 800 additional federally managed properties as the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The House Natural Resources Committee moved toward that Wednesday, voting the National Landscape Conservation System Act out of committee. The bill can now be scheduled for a vote by the full House. The Senate, meanwhile, is ready to vote on a similar bill. “Congress … took a major step toward permanently recognizing the National Landscape Conservation System,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “These places are living history books of the American West, and by unifying them into a single system under the [Bureau of Land Management’s] careful management, we are ensuring that these irreplaceable treasures … are preserved for future generations.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Tucson developer: City rules costing me $12 million

[Source: B. Poole, Tucson Citizen] — A local developer was poised to sue the city Wednesday, claiming a change in the city building code sucked more than $12 million of value out of 23 midtown properties. The change – which requires, in part, surveys to determine the historic significance of properties targeted for demolition and of ones nearby – applies to homes within the 1953 city limits. It severely reduces property values, developer Michael Goodman said Monday.

“No developer wants to . . . tie up a piece of property that he is going to work on for months and months, expending a tremendous amount of money and effort only to be told that you can’t . . . tear it down,” he said. Goodman said he thinks the code change was aimed specifically at stopping him and other developers from doing something the city has in other ways encouraged – infill development. The suit is among the first in the state to test the state Property Rights Preservation Act, approved by voters in 2006. The law requires governments to compensate property owners if land-use laws reduce their property’s value. Goodman’s claim is the second major case in the state to test the act; the first being in Flagstaff, said Clint Bolick, a Scottsdale attorney representing Goodman.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Renee Bracamonte, Tucson Citizen.]

Starving our parks

[Source: Arizona Republic] — Watch out! Falling plaster! Arizona’s state parks are literally crumbling. Chunks of plaster are coming off the walls at Douglas Mansion in Jerome. Parts of the sidewalk around the historic building are closed off to protect the public. The Legislature slashed park spending and raided the capital funds in the budget crisis of 2002. The money wasn’t restored when revenues were rolling in. Arizona State Parks, with jewels that range from the underground wonders of Kartchner Caverns to the scenic and recreational pleasures of Picacho Peak (pictured), has an operating budget of $26 million – about $4 per Arizonan. Now, with the state facing a massive shortfall, the legislative budget proposal would slash park spending further. On top of that, there’s a breathtakingly illogical proposal to cut park fees. Senate Bill 1458 would shrink the cost of an annual pass by 20 percent for Arizona residents. It passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs on a 4-3 vote.

The standard annual pass is $50, and it covers up to four adults in the same vehicle. It’s good for any state park any day, except for the Colorado River parks on weekends and holidays. The premium pass, $125, is valid everywhere at anytime. It’s a price signal that any economist would embrace, encouraging use of the mobbed river parks on weekdays. And compared with the cost of other types of recreation, the park pass is a smoking deal. Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, says he introduced the bill because his constituents complain that they already support state parks through taxes. Except they don’t. Lawmakers haven’t raised the operating budget for parks in six years. The price of gasoline and utilities has gone up so much that state parks sought supplemental funding of $500,000 to pay the bills. The department has been forced to tap the State Lake Improvement Fund, which gets the share of gas tax attributable to boating, to pay for $3.1 million in expenses. Senate Bill 1110 would strip that authority.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Ron Niebrugge.]

Bill would lower cost of annual state-park passes

[Source: Mike Rich, Arizona Republic] — A bill that would require the Arizona State Parks Board to charge residents 20 percent less than non-residents for their annual state-park passes is working its way through the Legislature. The Arizona Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs passed the bill by a vote of 4-3 and sent it to the Rules Committee. “Residents of the state already pay into the park system through taxes, so they should have to pay less,” said Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, author of the bill. Gould said he introduced the bill because his constituents have complained about the growing cost of the passes. The State Parks Board raised its prices on annual passes in January. The price for a standard pass – for residents or non-residents – went from $45 to $50 and the premium pass went from $100 to $125. “My constituents don’t think it’s fair to pay these high prices when they are already paying into the park system,” Gould said. Gould added that if there is in-state and out-of-state tuition at the state’s universities, “there is no reason why the same concept should not be applied to state parks.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]