District 5 Update

September 6, 2018 • Newsletter

City Council Work Session

Surprise Transit Study Update

Last fall, the city awarded a contract to HDR to perform a transit study and implementation plan. As part of the study, the city emphasized public participation and involvement as a key component to the project. The goal was to inform and develop an early knowledge base from those who might utilize a future transit system, what would be required to promote ridership as well as key origins and destinations to service those users.

City of Surprise Transportation Planning Manager Martin Lucero provided an overview of previous studies, as well as existing condition and survey highlights. There were 1,743 surveys completed and 81% of those who completed the survey were Surprise residents. The majority of those stated they had a fair or even better chance to use transit if it were offered. The feedback received pointed to many wanting a major grid service followed by a centralized/local service and an express service, especially for those wanting to connect to Phoenix for employment.

As part of this study, there will be one final Transit Study Public Workshop on Tuesday, September 18 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. Based on the public responses from the study and Wikimap surveys conducted earlier this year, staff has compiled recommendations for various types of transit and transit routes that would best serve residents. Operational costs associated with the recommendations and possible financing options will also be discussed at this workshop. I encourage you to attend!

Surprise Stormwater Utility

On Tuesday, September 4th, Water Resource Management Director Terry Lowe presented to Council the history of the development of the City’s Stormwater Utility that was unanimously adopted by Council in November of 2016. This new service utility is dedicated to the management of the City’s stormwater-related activities.

In a developing community, the management of stormwater runoff is an often forgotten necessity that is realized during and after heavy rains that leave flooded streets throughout the City. In fact, the management of stormwater runoff takes many forms; most of which must occur whether or not it rains at all. In most developed areas throughout the country, an underground storm sewer system was constructed to convey stormwater runoff from streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops to natural outfall locations such as lakes, rivers, and streams.

However, in the Phoenix metro area, centralized storm sewer systems are rare, leaving the responsibility of stormwater management to be shared by the development community and local municipality. Also similar to many valley communities, anyone who develops a parcel of land is responsible for retaining an average amount of water, usually an amount equal to runoff generated from a 100 year / 2 hour storm event. Volumes that exceed the 100 year / 2 hour event enter the municipal conveyance system. For Surprise, this system consists primarily of the curb and gutter portion of city streets, manmade channels, and natural washes. In some cases, minimal underground piping is also installed to convey runoff to natural outfalls or to other systems in adjoining municipalities.

Mr. Lowe explained that prior to Surprise City Council’s adoption of the Stormwater Utility, the City of Surprise experienced many storms that caused significant flooding around the City. City Council asked staff to investigate ways to mitigate the flooding. It was soon realized that the rapid growth of the City had caused gaps in the storm system’s infrastructure and that the burden of Stormwater management was shared by many divisions and funding sources. To safeguard that Stormwater management activities remained constant, the formation of a new Utility was recommended. The Utility would generate a dedicated and reliable funding source to ensure consistent maintenance of existing infrastructure and committed funding source for the development of capital improvement projects to close the gaps. The Utility would also centralize the citywide stormwater regulatory responsibilities, adhering to the guidelines mandated by the Federal Clean Water Act, the State of Arizona, and Maricopa County.

Affordable Housing Development Update

In support of expanding affordable housing options in Surprise, the Housing Authority of Maricopa County is proposing the development of 100 multifamily units in the Heritage District (Original Town Site) in Surprise. The proposed development would bring a multi-million dollar investment into the Heritage District while providing Surprise and West Valley residents with affordable housing options. The proposed site is the current youth baseball field at Gaines Park. The field would be relocated across the street utilizing secured grant funding.

City Council Meeting

New Volunteer Members for Boards and Commissions

City Clerk Sherry Agular administered the Oath of Office to three new volunteers who will fill vacancies on a few of our Boards and Commissions. Congratulations to Rhiannon Miett (Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission with a term expiring June 30, 2020), Jacob Thomas (Disability Advisory Commission with a term expiring June 30, 2020) and Benjamin Boedecker (Personnel Appeals Board with a term expiring June 30, 2019). Thank you for your commitment to Surprise!

Amendment to Confinement of Animals Ordinance

Earlier this spring, I asked Surprise Police Chief Terry Young to research opportunities to expand upon our Confining Animals Ordinance (Chapter 10, Article II, Division 2, Section 10-82). This ordinance penalizes unsafe and unhealthy practices and highlights conditions such as temperature, access to food and water, and tethering, which impact animal health and safety. The ordinance includes provisions for severability, to establish an effective date and to repeal conflicting ordinances.

This approved amendment now provides better guidance for our residents as they pursue the safe and healthy confinement of animals and discourage conduct and actions that do not lead to a safe and healthy result. In addition, it provides guidance to assist our police department personnel as they provide guidance and perform enforcement.

Surprise Marketplace and Surprise Town Center Comprehensive Sign Program

After several meetings, including City Council Work Sessions, City Council approved the application for a major amendment to the Surprise Marketplace and Surprise Town Center Comprehensive Sign Program. The request is the result of signage that was lost due to the Bell Road bridge project which improved traffic operations and safety in the immediate vicinity of both shopping centers.

The city enacted the Bell Road temporary sign policy in March 2016 to assist businesses during the construction of the Bell and Grand bridge project. The project was completed in November 2016. We have since received numerous inquiries for permanent monument signage to replace signs which were removed due to the right-of-way expansion and utilities easement relocations along Bell Road. Originally, the sign program approved by the city allowed for signage along Bell Road to be at a maximum of 15 feet in height. Due to the topography of the road, amongst several other issues, the owners and operators of the shopping centers requested the maximum height of the signs increase to 45 feet and 36 feet, in addition to electronic messaging at the bottom of two of the signs.

Christopher Todd Community on Mountain View

City Council unanimously approved the Christopher Todd Community on Mountain View rezone from a Planned Area Development (PAD), Residential Ranch (RR), and Community Commercial (CC) to Residential High (RH-15) with a PUD (Planned Area Development) Overlay limiting the density to 11.15 dwelling units an acre and a final plat that abandon unimproved city right of way that will allow a site plan for approximately 223 single story rental units to develop while also providing a public access easement through this site and maintaining the pedestrian connection to the commercial center for the resident to the south of the development. The site plan is scheduled to be heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission on September 20, 2018.

Unlike the typical vertical apartment complexes that are two or more stories, horizontal communities are single story, and in the case of this particular community, are small luxury homes that are for rent. Buildings are grouped to create intimate courtyards, anchored by shade trees to support healthy neighborhood interaction.


Mark Your Calendar

Distracted Driving Law in Effect Beginning Today

Driving and using mobile devices that are not operating in a hands-free mode, is illegal within Surprise city limits effective today. The ordinance, which Council approved last month, penalizes driving and using a mobile communications device unless usage is in hands-free mode or if the driver is communicating an emergency situation to emergency personnel.

Ordinance violators will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 plus any other assessments authorized by law. Public safety personnel operating in their professional capacity are exempt from the ordinance. Drivers can continue to use two-way radio communication as long as they continue to safely operate the vehicle.

To read the ordinance, please visit: http://bit.ly/2MHsDTI. This ordinance is another tool in the city’s Drive Wise, Surprise campaign to encourage safe driving habits.

Surprise Fall Cleanup Event

The City receives many calls for this popular event each year! Fall is the perfect time to prune your landscape, clean out your garage and take advantage of the Fall Cleanup Event on Saturday, September 8. The event allows Surprise residents to drop off up to 2,000 pounds of residential waste free-of-charge at the Northwest Regional Landfill, 19401 W. Deer Valley Road, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items that will be accepted include lawn waste and other typical household refuse. Participants will be required to show proof of Surprise residency, via a driver’s license and electric bill showing the same home address.

NOTE: Hazardous waste items will not be accepted during this event.

For more information about either event, please call the City of Surprise Customer Service Line at 623.222.1900, or visit www.surpriseaz.gov/sanitation.

Surprise Industrial Job Fair

Mark your calendar for the Surprise Industrial Job Fair on Friday, September 14 from 9 a.m. until noon. The fair will be held at West-MEC Northwest Campus in the Lightbox, 13201 W. Grand Avenue. Several Surprise employers will be there! For more information, please contact Andrew Witzel at 623.222.1630.

Surprise Industrial Job Fair flyer


Did You Know?

RideChoice Transportation Program Enhancements

Surprise customers of Valley Metro’s RideChoice transportation program will soon see simplified ride booking and payment experiences, increased trip allowances, and an expanded provider network – including a new partnership with Lyft. RideChoice provides transportation at a deeply discounted rate to qualified seniors and people with disabilities, and Valley Metro has chosen Surprise as an early rollout partner for their new, enhanced program.

Beginning October 1, the following RideChoice changes will go into effect for qualified residents of Surprise:

  • Single phone number – Whether you are calling to request a trip, change or cancel a trip or check on a requested trip, you will call 602.716.2111. Representatives are available 24 hours per day, every day of the year, including holidays.
  • Expanded provider network – The network will include many of the current taxicab providers, as well as more wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The popular rideshare service Lyft will also be joining the RideChoice program. This means more vehicles and quicker service.
  • More trips – The monthly RideChoice limit increases from 16 to 20 RideChoice trips per month! AND for those of you who use RideChoice to get to work, school or medical appointments, the monthly limit increases from 40 to 50 trips per month.
  • Simplified fare structure – The RideChoice fare is not changing, but the rules are getting easier. It’s $3 for each trip that is up to eight-miles long. And if your trip is longer, it’s just $2 for each additional mile.
  • Cashless, cardless system – The RideChoice Fare Card is going away. Instead, you will simply provide a credit card, debit card or check routing number when you book your trip, and you are all set. There is no need to carry cash or a credit card when you travel.

These program enhancements come in response to customer feedback, and the city is excited to work with Valley Metro to deliver on what our residents told us was important to them and to move forward on an expedited timeline.

2019 Surprise Spring Training Schedule

Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, announced the 31-game 2019 Surprise Stadium Spring Training schedule. The City of Surprise will begin its 17th season of Cactus League Spring Training on Saturday, February 23 with the Royals taking on the Rangers.

The 2019 schedule features games every day from February 23 through March 24, with a double header on March 11. The Kansas City Royals will face each Cactus League team at home except the Oakland Athletics; and the Texas Rangers will face each team except the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners. The Surprise Stadium schedule also features multiple visits from the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Colorado Rockies. Game times, theme nights, promotions, and television coverage will be announced in the coming months.

Online tickets sales open Saturday, October 20 for season tickets, mini plans, and specialty ticket packages. Online sales for individual game tickets begin Saturday, November 17. All online tickets will be available for purchase at SurpriseSpringTraining.com. Group packages will be available beginning October 20 and can be purchased by calling the City of Surprise Sports & Tourism Department at 623.222.2222.

The Surprise Stadium Box Office will open for walk-up sales beginning Saturday, January 5.

2019 Surprise Stadium Spring Training Schedule

Feb. 23 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals
Feb. 24 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers
Feb. 25 Colorado Rockies vs. Kansas City Royals
Feb. 26 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Kansas City Royals
Feb. 27 Chicago Cubs vs. Texas Rangers
Feb. 28 San Diego Padres vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 1 Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 2 Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 3 San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 4 Colorado Rockies vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 5 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Kansas City
Mar. 6 San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 7 Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 8 Cincinnati Reds vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 9 Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 10 San Diego Padres vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 11 Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers (Sundancers Charity Game)
Mar. 12 Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 13 Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 14 Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 15 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 16 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 17 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 18 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 19 Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 20 Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 21 Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 22 San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals
Mar. 23 Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers
Mar. 24 Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers

Keep updated on Surprise Spring Training news and ticket information by following @SurpriseStadium on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by visiting www.SurpriseSpringTraining.com.