Special City Council Meeting
Public Hearing – Interviews for District 3 Council Vacancy
The Surprise City Council interviewed six applicants seeking the vacant District 3 council seat in a Special Meeting, September 5. The term expiration for the appointment will be December 31, 2018 and the remainder of the original four-year term will be placed on the next scheduled Council election in August 2018. The names of those interviewed are: Patrick Duffy; James Hodge; Randal Kidd Jr.; Kevin Loken; Gisele Norberg; and Gary “Doc” Sullivan.
Patrick Duffy is a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and for the past 9 years has worked part-time as a City of Surprise Recreation Leader 3. He has lived in Surprise for eight years, two of them in D3. Duffy was a member of the Surprise Municipal Property Corporation Board and through his city service has been part of numerous Community and Recreation Services events including Spring Training support, Relay for Life events and Cal Ripken All-Star games. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.
James Hodge has lived in D3 for seven years and is an Assistant Manager at Discount Tire Direct. He has served as a youth baseball coach, youth flag football coach and volunteered as a score keeper for numerous city rec tournaments. He founded and operated the Sandra Lynn Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit that assisted families with funeral expenses through fundraising events.
Randal Kidd Jr.is a Transition Specialist with the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind- Phoenix Campus. He has lived in Surprise for eight years. He is Vice President of the Deaf Community of Surprise and participated in the Surprise City Academy this spring. Kidd holds an Associate of Applied Science in Information & Computing Studies from Rochester Institute of Technology and is working towards obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from Arizona State University (May 2018).
Kevin Loken is a District Supervisor at XPO Logistics and has lived in D3 for less than a year. He has a Master of Arts in Management from National University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cal-State Fullerton. His grandfather, Carlo Leone, has served on the Peoria City Council for nearly 20 years.
Gisele Norberg is a member of the Surprise Planning & Zoning Commission and has lived in D3 for nearly two years. Norberg is the owner and independent distributor of AdvoCare International. Her family’s construction business provided her with experience in commercial and residential development. Norberg ran unsuccessfully for the D3 Council seat in 2016. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington State University- Vancouver with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology.
Gary “Doc” Sullivan is a former Surprise City Councilmember (2003 – 2007), serving one of those years as Vice Mayor. He was a member of the former Surprise Economic Development Advisory Board. He has lived in Surprise for 17 years. Sullivan is retired and previously worked in sales for Cox Communications.
Public comments regarding the applicants can be submitted to the City Clerk through the close of business on Tuesday, September 12. Comments received through this outlet will be sent to Council and posted online by the end of the following business day.
You can learn more about the applicants here: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/3652/District-3-Council-Applicants
City Council Work Session
Update on City Projects
Public Works Assistant Director Karl Zook provided an update on city projects.
Bullard Avenue – Peoria Avenue to Greenway Road is scheduled for construction beginning Spring 2018. The design phase is 95% complete and includes restriping for two lanes in each direction, protected bike lanes, two new traffic signals and landscape median. This project will be grant funded with a city contribution.
Bell Road Adaptive Signal Improvements on Bell Road between Avenue of the Arts and Cotton Lane has begun. This project includes upgraded vehicle detection and new software to monitor traffic demand in real time. The software deployment is 60% complete.
Bell Road Pavement Preservation includes pavement preservation on Bell Road from Grand Avenue to Parkview Place. Both east and westbound lanes will be completed. The project start date is September 17 and should conclude by the end of the month.
8 Acre Park Fencing is under construction. Construction began last month and should conclude by the end of this month. This project includes 2300 feet of 8 foot tall decorative fencing with pillars to match the aesthetics of our Surprise Stadium fencing.
Eight new pickle ball courts with LED lighting are also under construction. Construction began on August 23, and the anticipated completion, pending weather delays, is the end of November. This project also includes the relocation of our volleyball courts.
Earlier this year, City Council approved improvements for Surprise Farms Park that included an additional 10 acres of open space park area. Construction on the improvements began on July 10. Sod was completed at the end of August. The green fence will be removed later this month after the turf is established.
Other updates included the Dysart Road median (estimated completion in Spring 2018), 115th Avenue and Union Hills Drive drainage improvements (currently 55% complete, project should be complete in summer 2018), Bullard Avenue water line (construction began in early July and will be complete in October) and the South Plant perimeter wall (project in design for low-bid with an estimated completion of spring 2018).
City Council Meeting
Surprise Community Outreach Grant Program Recommendations
Staff presented the Surprise Community Outreach Grant program recommendations made by the Committee on Community Outreach, Partnerships and Grants. This year, staff received 32 applications with funding requests totaling more than $261,000. City Council set aside $65,000 with this year’s budget for this program. Council discussed increasing the funding for next fiscal year.
After much discussion, the funding recommendations were approved with one modification.
Citywide Temporary Sign Policy Adoption
The City Council approved an updated Temporary Sign Policy for the city at their Tuesday Regular Meeting. The intent of the policy is to better align with the current needs of businesses and residents and temporarily waives the Surprise City Code Section 113-47, but only as to Article V, of the current code, beginning thirty days after the adoption of this resolution until it is repealed.
During the recession council approved a temporary sign policy in 2012 that allowed:
- A-Frames (1 per business; cannot be located on a street, sidewalk or within visibility triangle)
- Banners (1 per business; must be placed on building)
- Sign Walkers (Required a no fee permit from the City and must meet insurance criteria)
That policy was repealed by council in February 2017. Following months of public comment, council agreed to once again approve A-Frame and other temporary signs under the revised Temporary Sign Policy:
- A-Frames (Class 1 Temporary Signs): may not exceed 24 inches in height or width (placed 1 hr before event/removed 1 hr after event; 1 sign per intersection, no further than closest arterial) and must be associated with a lawful temporary event.
- A-Frames &am; Pedestal (Class 2 Temporary Signs): portable sign may not exceed 45 inches in height and 36 inches in width commercial hours are during business hours of the advertising business; signs must be within 15’ of the customer entrance and associated with a lawful commercial use.
- When a Class II Temporary Sign is in conjunction with a Lawful Temporary Event located within a -residential zoning district, not more than four (4) such signs shall be utilized (45 inches in height and 36 inches in width). Such signs may be placed no further than the closest arterial street and be placed between the hours of 4:00 PM Friday to 11:00 PM Sunday.
- Banners w/ ventilation flaps only: 1 banner per building (1 sf per linear foot of building elevation; if an active construction project banner may be placed on construction site fence (30 SF)
- Sign Walkers: operational hours 7 am – 7 pm; may not restrict pedestrian/vehicle access; 2 single-sided signs not to exceed 3 sf/ or 1 double-sided sign not to exceed 12 sf; electronic message signs are prohibited
The revised changes allow for temporary event signage, such as real estate open house signs; neighborhood events, etc…
Signage that remains prohibited under the policy includes:
- Animated Signs, flashing/blinking/rotating signs, inflatable signs (latex or Mylar balloons), permanent banner signs/pennants, searchlights, streamers, signs that emit audible sound
- Vehicle Signs when the vehicle is placed in a location not approved for vehicular parking or storage
- Signs located on trees/utility poles/public benches/ or public right-of-way
- Signs containing vulgar/ profane messages, hate speech/ language intended to incite violence
- Signs which are located within any sight visibility triangle of any street/driveway intersection, located in a median and/or as required by the Surprise Engineering Development Standards
- Signs not expressly permitted as being allowed under this policy, or by specific requirements in another section of Surprise Unified Development Code, are expressly prohibited
For a complete listing of the requirements under this policy please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/signcode.
Events & Meetings
West Valley Veteran Center Tour
Vice Mayor Todd Tande and I, along with city staff, attended a tour of the West Valley Veteran Center on Thursday, August 31. The Maricopa County Community College District, in partnership with Surprise and many other West Valley cities, has invested in a new West Valley resource center to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life. The center is located at the former Visitor Center at Luke Air Force Base. This initiative will provide veterans with assistance services related to counseling, housing, education, careers and much more.
Walmart Grand Re-Opening
Walmart, located at 13770 W. Bell Road, hosted a grand re-opening on Friday, September 1 to celebrate their recent remodel. Walmart also utilized the event to raise money to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey!
Mark Your Calendar
Second Sundays in the Park Fall Concert
The city is kicking off its fall series of “Second Sundays in the Park” concerts on Sunday, September 10 from 2-4 p.m. This family-friendly event will take place in the center of Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, and will feature live variety music from The Steven P. Project.
Families are encouraged to bring a picnic or purchase food from the onsite vendors and enjoy the live entertainment. For more information, please contact the City of Surprise Community & Recreation Services Office at 623.222.2000 or visit us online at www.surpriseaz.gov/specialevents.
General Obligation Bond Meeting Dates Announced
Surprise residents will consider three separate General Obligation Bond questions to fund 10 capital improvement projects in the areas of Public Safety, Traffic Congestion Mitigation and Pavement Preservation on Tuesday, November 7. The city is hosting several public meetings to help educate our residents on the bond.
Those meetings are as follows:
Tuesday, September 26 (6 p.m.): City Hall- Council Chambers, 16000 N. Civic Center Dr.
Wednesday, September 27 (6 p.m.): District 4 Community Meeting open to all residents, Community Center, 15832 N. Hollyhock St.
Thursday, October 5 (10 a.m.): District 5 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway
Monday, October 9 (10:30 a.m.): District 2 Community Meeting open to all residents, Sun City Grand Cimarron Center Agua Fria Room, 17100 W Clearview Blvd
Thursday, October 12 (7 p.m.): District 5 Community Meeting, Sun Village Community Association, 17300 N. Sun Village Parkway
If you cannot attend one of the meetings, city staff will come to your neighborhood HOA, community group, or club meetings to provide facts related to the bond election. We already have several booked throughout the city’s districts! Please contact the City Manager’s Office at 623.222.1100 to schedule a date.
In addition, the city will also have educational information available at various Fire-Medical Station Open Houses (Sept. & Oct.), Fiesta Grande (Oct. 14), G.A.I.N Night (Oct. 28). The details for the events are posted on our city calendar at www.surpriseaz.gov. You can learn more about the bond projects, costs and voter registration information at www.surpriseaz.gov/decidesurprise
If any of the bond questions are approved by voters in November, the cost to residents would be administered via a secondary property tax. Currently, Surprise does not have a secondary property tax.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election is Oct. 10 by 5 p.m. This is a Ballot-By-Mail Only Election. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters on Oct. 11. In-person voting and ballot drop-off begins at Surprise City Hall – City Clerk’s Office, Saturday, Oct. 28 – Tuesday, Nov. 7, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Election Day (Nov. 7) voting hours will be extended to 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Bell Road & Grand Avenue ramps to be closed Sept. 18-24 for improvements
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has issued a project improvement announcement for the Bell Road Bridge and Grand Avenue.
The notice is as follows:
The on- and off-ramps at the Bell Road Bridge over Grand Avenue (US 60) will be closed Sept. 18-24 for roadway improvements both on and near the overpass.
The Bell/Grand ramps will be closed from 1 a.m. Monday (Sept. 18) to 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 24), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Drivers can use detour routes along Dysart and Litchfield roads to make connections between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. Bell Road will remain open for traffic traveling over the bridge.
During the week, crews will be removing the median island along westbound Grand Avenue near the Bell Grande Drive intersection. The change is designed to provide improved guidance for drivers making left turns onto Bell Grande Drive while clearly separating that traffic from vehicles using the westbound off-ramp at the Bell Road overpass. Drivers should use caution in the work zone and expect restrictions along westbound US 60 and left-turn closures at the Bell Grande Drive intersection.
Crews also will add sections of what are known as mountable, rounded curbs near the ends of the existing barrier walls separating the on- and off-ramps near the crosswalks on the Bell Road overpass. As an additional safety measure, yellow flexible safety posts will be placed near the ends of the ramp barrier walls. The changes are designed to help drivers with turning angles between Bell Road and the ramps.
The ramps first opened to traffic in February as part of ADOT’s $42 million project to build a new interchange connecting Bell Road and Grand Avenue. The improvements are the result of feedback from local drivers as well as staff at ADOT and the city of Surprise.
Did You Know?
Civic Center Drive Almost Complete
I am pleased to inform you that the much anticipated construction of Civic Center Drive from Bell Road to Paradise is almost complete. Despite the inclement summer storms, the project remains on track and we anticipate the opening of the road on September 13. The project includes one travel lane in each direction with a center median. At this time, there will not be any landscaping, streetlights or sidewalk included.
Hollyhock Library Extends Hours Due to Generous Nonprofit Donation
The city and Maricopa County Library District are excited to offer extended operating hours for the Hollyhock Library, located at 15844 N Hollyhock Street. In response to the recommendations provided through the recent library feasibility study, beginning Sept. 25 the Hollyhock Library will modify operating hours Tuesdays and Thursdays,1 – 7 p.m. The Hollyhock Library will offer extended hours on Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. beginning October 14.
The Surprise City Council would like to recognize the generosity of the non-profit independent organization, Friends of the Surprise Libraries. Since 2003, Friends of the Surprise Libraries has donated $185,000 in support of literacy and programs offered at the Northwest Regional Library and Hollyhock Library. Extended hours of operation will offer residents and local student’s access to study areas, computing stations and library resources.