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4/23/2013 10:44:00 AM
Low turnout at P&Z meeting about Williams General Plan
Only 12 people attend meeting to discuss plan and offer comments, commissioners hope for more community involvement at June meeting
Rick Counts of Counts Planning facilitates a discussion about the Williams General Plan between Williams Planning and Zoning commissioners and community members during the April 18 P&Z meeting. Marissa Freireich/WGCN
Rick Counts of Counts Planning facilitates a discussion about the Williams General Plan between Williams Planning and Zoning commissioners and community members during the April 18 P&Z meeting. Marissa Freireich/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter


As Williams grows in the next 10 years, residents hope to see more development and an improved city image.

About 12 people gave suggestions about what to include in the city's general plan at the April 18 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Rick Counts of Counts Planning facilitated the meeting and asked for comments about the seven elements of the general plan, which is due for its ten-year update.

For the land use element, Planning and Zoning Chairman Buck Williams said the city's appearance from the freeway is important.

"The land around the freeway needs to be developed to attract people," he said. "Right now all you can see is a mobile home park and an overabundance of train parts."

Participants also suggested Williams have more affordable housing and multifamily housing, as well as industrial development near the airport.

For the circulation or transportation element, one resident said an access road running along I-40 between Grand Canyon Boulevard and Airport Road would be helpful.

Participants also suggested additional north/south through streets for when the train blocks traffic and additional east/west through streets, such as extending Rodeo Road to Seventh Street.

Commissioner Greg Brooks said the way the streets are laid out works.

"What we need is improvement on what we've got," he said.

Williams agreed that the roads need work.

"If you want to go down Grant Street you almost need four-wheel drive," he said.

While discussing the water resources element of the general plan, participants suggested implementing gray water recycling for landscape irrigation.

During discussion of the cost of development element of the plan, City Manager Brandon Buchanan told the commission the city council is determining whether to continue collecting impact fees under new legislation.

Participants named the land around the airport, the area around the freeway, the area on Mountain Man Trail between Bearizona Wildlife Park and Garland Prairie Road, and the area near Williams Junction as possible growth areas, the fifth plan element.

Some in attendance said Williams could use a dog park, make use of some Arizona Department of Transportation property and have city ownership of the shooting range for the open space element.

For the final general plan element - environmental planning - participants discussed noise quality, dust on dirt roads, air quality, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative and fire restrictions.

During the concluding comments portion of the meeting, the group discussed the quality of development along main streets of the city. One audience member brought up the Dollar General store set to open on Grand Canyon Boulevard, saying it could have been something else, like a restaurant.

Commissioner John Holst said in the past, the Planning and Zoning Commission tried unsuccessfully to adopt a Main Street ordinance that would have addressed the issue. The commission said it would consider putting something similar in the general plan.

The commission agreed that increased attendance at the meetings is vital.

"That's why we want you to talk to your friends. Talk to your enemies. We need input to make this work. The only way this is going to improve our town is if the town participates in the improvement itself," Williams said.

Counts plans to return to the Planning and Zoning Commission with some preliminary findings for the general plan in June.

Related Stories:
• Williams P&Z to discuss general plan tonight
• Update to Williams general plan underway


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Axe The Man

Linda, I like the boardwalk effect. Williams paper-you're the only voice this town has. Please advertise the meetings using all the media access you can. This includes the Seligman radio stations and Navajo stations?

Posters in schools, chamber of commerce Flagstaff newspapers, grand canyon media and imposter in your window!


Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: Bobby Patricca

Ron Pauly, I have talked about doing drag races at the airport for years. Unfortunately, everytime I bring it up, I am quickly shot down with the claim that because Federal funds got used for the airport, and that prohibits "non-aircraft activities" from happening on the runway. How accurate this is, and whether there is a way around it, is something I would love to get clarification on.

The other thing that would be a nice thing to bring to Williams and the airport, if possible, in terms of motorsports enthusiasts is an SCCA Autocross event. Flagstaff used to hold these 3 weekends each summer at the NAU campus in one of the parking lots, but when NAU repaved the lot that was used, they didn't want the autocross to come back and "ruin the parking lot", even though Autocross does absolutely no damage to a surface as long as the surface isn't already torn up. People would come and stay for whole weekends from Phoenix and elsewhere, because the summer temperatures cause the Autocross crowd to not hold events during that time of year. They absolutely loved coming up north every summer. If Williams could get that happening out at the airport, it would bring some very good tax revenues to the City, especially since we have lost the HOG Rally and the Renaissance fair keeps getting pushed back every year.


Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

I bring up the idea of an eigth mile drags at the airport,every once in a while,with no responce.It would bring people here who would spend money and help with jobs.
The town has several confusing identities,rt66 folks.Cowboys,Mountain men and the latest,medevil sword fighting stuff.To bad the airport was never developed.The town could use some more small production type jobs similar to KC Hi-lights.


Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: Fred Thompson

Growth? What kind of growth? Cleaning up the town is fine. What we don't need is more people living here. Why ruin a nice little town with tons of people?

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: what what

Linda the sidewalks in downtown are nice, they don't need to be changed to old rotten wood. Give it a break already

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: William And concerned

I agree, Linda. I also think that if the p&z commission used the radio waves to announce up coming meetings that that would be a big help. Use all the free media access you can. Jobs are abundant in Williams. Just look around, the roads, prospective boardwalk down Main Street , up keep of old buildings and so forth are first and foremost. We can make Williams a place where people will want to visit again and again. We also can vote out the dregs who are the good ole boys.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Creager

I have said this before. What about making the sidewalks out of wood? Like is an old western town? I also think that dressing up the store fronts with corbels and new paint would help.I believe that Williams need to be restored to an old western or southwest look.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Bobby Patricca

Perhaps if there had been more public notice of when the meeting would be, more would have been there. I know that I wanted to attend the meeting but was never aware of exactly when it would be. Thankfully it sounds like several participants brought up things that I agree with 100%. The area right by the freeway looks absolutely deplorable. The railway scrapyard, the leftover junk from the asphalt plant, the backside of a couple of industrial businesses, and the most expensive gas this side of California are what we greet our potential tourists with.

This should be our #1 priority as a city, be active and go out and chase businesses that could potentially be here and make the area much more attractive to the people passing through and coming into town. Dollar General isn't going to do a single thing to improve the quality of life in Williams. Look at Family Dollar. Yes, people use it, but they employ a half a dozen people at the most, and there's never more than 10 people in the store at any time I've ever gone in there. Will a second "dollar" store accomplish anything more than that? That was a prime piece of property that could have been any number of things that would have helped the local residents (Walgreens anyone?)

The airport is a close #2. It's an absolute joke that the airport area was announced as a future industrial park in 2001, when I was a freshman at WHS, and not a single thing has happened out there and my 10 year high school reunion is a year away.

The streets are slowly but surely getting there, thankfully, so I think we are already going down the right path there. Obviously some street repairs just can't come soon enough (Grant Street, the 7th Street railroad crossing, Airport Rd, Rodeo Rd, and Edison repairs would make a WORLD of difference to residents and tourists alike).

I am very concerned that this article doesn't really directly mention the most important issue facing our town today and in the next 20 years. JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS!!!! I cannot stress the importance of JOBS in Williams enough! I have been adamant about this topic for quite some time, and I will continue to beat this drum either until I die, I am forced to leave Williams myself due to not being able to properly start and sustain a family of my own, or something actually happens on this subject. I challenge our city leadership with one question. What opportunities are there in Williams for a WHS graduate, or a WHS graduate that attends college and is considering coming home? The answer is clear to everyone, I hope. None. Unless you want to bus tables or serve at a restaurant, where are the youth going to work? We need to GIVE the land away to bring someone like Schuff Steel/SCA/Gore to Williams! These places pay anywhere from $15 to $20 PER HOUR to start! If you get a workforce in Williams making those kind of wages, people will stay in Williams, buy houses, pay property taxes, and become more active in the community. This will be nothing but a 100% positive for Williams both in the present and 20 years down the road.

Please, Williams News and City leadership, make it known to all in the public when these types of meetings will be held again. The future of Williams is in the balance, and the General Plan for the next 10 years will be a big part of how the future transpires, along with how our city leadership moves forward.




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