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Tue, Oct. 22

Airport area, apartment complex top agenda items for Prescott council

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PRESCOTT - In three meetings on Tuesday, the Prescott City Council will deal with issues ranging from economic development in the airport area, to plans for a 160-unit apartment complex, to changes in the schedule for council meetings.

The meetings will take place at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tuesday. Two of them - the 10 a.m. special meeting, and the 3 p.m. voting session - will be open to the public. The 1:30 p.m. meeting will be a closed-door executive session to discuss a contractual merit increase for City Judge Arthur Markham.

The day will begin with a presentation by Economic Initiatives Director Jeff Burt on a strategic planning process for the area surrounding the Prescott Airport.

Recent discussions have focused on updating the vision and creating an action plan for the airport area. City Manager Craig McConnell said a strategic planning process would take about six months to a year to complete.

During the voting meeting at 3 p.m., the council will first consider issues that were discussed at last week's study session, including the site plan, Planned Area Development (PAD) designation, and water allocation for the Willow Creek Apartments, 3149 Willow Creek Road.

The project's five-acre parcel is located east of Willow Creek Road, and southeast of Montaña Drive, and is accessed by an unnamed road right-of-way at the northwest corner.

Under the PAD designation, the developer would be able to increase the density from the 153 units that would be allowed under the existing high-density multi-family zoning to 160 units, with some requirements for open space.

At last week's meeting, council members were mostly supportive of the plans, although some concerns came up about the density of the project and the apartments' access, which would be at an un-signalized intersection on Willow Creek Road.

In other action, the council will discuss:

• The city's unsewered areas and a possible aquifer protection fee, which was proposed in a 2008 report at $0.70 per month.

• Changing its procurement code to increase the threshold for requiring City Council approval from the current $10,000 to $20,000.

The issue came up at last week's study session, when Councilwoman Jean Wilcox questioned the appearance on the agenda of minor purchases. Maintaining that the council should be spending more time on policy and less on purchases, she suggested a change in the threshold. Several other council members voiced similar concerns.

If the council does make the change, it would be at least the fourth such change over the past 20 years. A city memo notes that the council set the level at $10,000 in 1993, and then increased it to $20,000 in 2004. In 2011, the council lowered the threshold back to $10,000 in the interest of transparency.

• Change the schedule for council meetings. Prior to 2010, the council had long conducted four regular meetings a month - two study sessions and two voting sessions. A 2010 change led to several years of conducting two main voting sessions, with various workshops and caucuses in between. In late 2013, the council changed back to the four-meeting schedule.

Now, Councilman Charlie Arnold has asked the council to consider a revision that would include three regular meetings a month: a study session/workshop on the first Tuesday of the month, voting sessions on the second and fourth Tuesdays, and no regular meeting on the third Tuesday.

• Consider the city's 2014 Legislative agenda.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks

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