The Flagstaff City Council has directed city staff to work toward adding approximately 60 affordable housing units in town.
The city is sorely lacking in affordable, low income housing. Many two-bedroom rentals are more than $1,200 per month, making Flagstaff one of the most expensive cities in Arizona in which to live.
Flagstaff is about to apply for federal housing funds through a proposal to build the homes. Staff recommended up to four parcels of land owned by the city.
One of the plots suggested was a very popular corner along Highway 180 and Schultz Pass Road, on the way to Snowbowl Ski Resort. It's a favorite spot for residents and tourists alike to stop and take pictures of sunflowers with a backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks.
More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition to remove the Schultz Road property off of the list, citing its uniqueness to Flagstaff, iconic beauty and the fact large natural gas lines run under the property. It is on one of the busiest roads in the city, often having traffic backups of several miles when visitors are driving to Snowbowl.
About half of the citizens who packed the meeting room suggested those opposed to the Schultz property just don't want low income housing in their middle-class neighborhoods. They further suggested that those opposed to the Schultz property prefer having a beautiful piece of property versus caring for low income residents. Others disagreed on their motives.
After more than three and a half hours of speakers from the audience, the council voted to take the Schultz property off the list of potential affordable housing sites, at least for now.
The council then added a different piece of property off Lone Tree Road in its place. The city has until March 1, 2018 to finalize its proposal.