About 185 individuals attended the Flagstaff City Council meeting Feb. 16 where Core Campus presented their application to build a five-story student housing project between Mikes Pike and Phoenix Avenue.
The application was brought to the council after the Flagstaff Planning and Zoning Commission approved it in a special meeting Feb. 3.
Core Campus is hoping council approves two motions, a rezoning and a conditional use permit [CUP]. The CUP would allow Core Campuses’ residents to hold an individual lease signed by multiple roommates.
City staff advised the approval of the plan with six conditions. These included an additional 100 parking spaces and a height limit on Mikes Pike to five stories with a fifth only being allowed 40 feet back from the street.
The city received 61 comments on the proposed development. Of these, 56 were opposed to the development, two were neutral and only three were in support.
Community member and NAU alumna Sierra Jones felt the development was a bad decision.
“I live on Phoenix Avenue, so it’s directly impacting me and I think the historic nature of downtown is really important,” Jones said. “I think that the way we’ve seen other student developments go has not been regulated very well in the past, so I have a lot of fear how The Hub might turn out.”
The piece of land is currently split in half between two different zones — the T4 and T5 zone. The T4 zone allows for buildings described as holding multi-family units with limited business space. The T5 zone allows for buildings with business and residential space.
The council had many concerns about the project, including the fact that The Hub will only provide enough parking for 31 percent of available beds in its current state.
“I know the question of traffic impact is very important to a lot of the people in Flagstaff,” said Vice Mayor Celia Barotz.
Representatives of Core Campus said this was an adequate amount of parking spaces. They showed multiple examples of similar structures in other communities with even less parking, and pointed out that the more spaces they provide the larger the impact on traffic becomes.
“I don’t think The Hub is a good reflection of what Flagstaff is,” said community member and NAU alumni Sharon Baudelaire. “And when newcomers come here and see that, they’re going to have a very tainted idea of our values and what we believe here in Flagstaff.”
Public comments on the development were heard by the city council Feb. 23. The council is expected to vote on the decision Mar. 1.