You’re right – students aren’t the problem with the Hub development.
We agree with your March 14 editorial — students are not the problem: The presence of NAU and of students in Flagstaff help make it the place we all love. We also agree that pointing fingers for the problems we are currently seeing in Flagstaff isn’t helpful.
Our non-profit organization, Stand Up for Flagstaff, continues to actively oppose the Hub. We think the city made a mistake when it approved the Hub for Mikes Pike, towering over the much smaller homes and businesses in the neighborhood, maximizing traffic and providing inadequate parking. That’s why we’re appealing the decision in superior court on April 21— not to assign blame, but to correct the problem and keep it from happening again.
We agree that insufficient and unaffordable housing for students — and for working people and families — is a big problem in Flagstaff. We don’t think the solution is to place enormous, private, luxury dormitories in congested, historic parts of town. Such private dormitories in other university communities have displaced viable, historic neighborhoods, and that could happen in Flagstaff. There are other more appropriate places in town for huge dorms, places that could be improved by their presence if well designed.
Many students don’t want to live in dormitories at all, whether on campus or off campus; they want to live in real Flagstaff neighborhoods. For those students, there aren’t yet enough houses, guest houses, duplexes and triplexes — student housing that does fit into neighborhoods.
Students are our neighbors. If there’s a problem — like noise, parking or trash — neighbors talk to each other to solve it. But when 500 or 600 students live in a private gated community next door and a problem affects the neighborhood, neighbors may see no alternative to calling the cops. A neighborhood that has to call the cops is a neighborhood that first deteriorates, then disappears.
Flagstaff loves students and students love Flagstaff. We welcome students into the conversation about how we can protect and preserve neighborhoods where everyone lives.