City Council Work Session
West Valley Pops Band Sponsorship/Name Change
The West Valley Pops band performs free concerts in Surprise, throughout the West Valley and at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center. At their concerts, they collect canned food items which are distributed by West Valley food banks to those in need.
Staff has had a preliminary discussion with the West Valley Pops Band regarding a potential sponsorship opportunity. If approved, the West Valley Pops Band will change their name to the Surprise Pops Band. The annual sponsorship is estimated at $1,500 and would be managed through the City Manager’s budget via general funds.
General Plan 2035 – Open Space Character/Wildlife Corridor Discussion
Staff discussed the proposed Major Amendment to the Surprise General Plan 2035. The City Council was presented with further information related to the Wildlife Corridors, the Open Space Character Area, and the difference between the original staff recommendation and the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to City Council. The Council invited the public to speak, and City Council engaged in questions and discussions.
The City Council then held a Public Hearing to further engage discussion and listen to members of the public that elected to speak. As the discussion progressed, City Council voted to continue this item to a special meeting on Saturday December 19 at 9 a.m.
City Council Meeting
Verdugo Land Development, LLC requested a Minor General Plan Amendment and a Rezone/Major Amendment to the Verdugo PAD, together with a Preliminary Plat for a property located generally east of 163rd Avenue and south of the San Ysidro Road alignment.
The Surprise General Plan 2035 shows the area in question as Suburban Residential with a density range of between one and three dwelling units per acre (1-3 DU/Ac). At 29.64 acres, this would generate between 29 and 88 dwelling units. The proposed Minor Amendment to the General Plan, however, would generate between 148 and 237 dwelling units for the same land mass, which falls within the parameters of a Minor Amendment. The subject property lies within the currently approved Verdugo PAD, which calls for Suburban Residential, Commercial and Employment for this specific property, the latter two being contrary to the General Plan as currently approved. The related Major PAD Amendment seeks to change the zoning for a significant portion of the Verdugo project, which includes the transfer of approximately 15 acres of Medium Density Residential, and the deletion of approximately 12 acres of High Density Residential, in lieu of the approximately 29 acres of Medium Density Residential proposed for the subject site. If the related PAD Amendment is approved, there will be a net decrease of 12 dwelling units for the overall Verdugo PAD. The subject Minor General Plan Amendment will allow the Rezone/Major PAD Amendment to proceed.
Staff believes the proposed rezone, in conjunction with the related Preliminary Plat, is an overall improvement to the PAD and advances the goals and policies as established in both the currently approved General Plan as well as the proposed update to the Land Use Element of the General Plan. The Minor General Plan Amendment and the Rezone/PAD Amendment passed unanimously.
New Appointments for Boards & Commissions
City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Andrew Orlikoff to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees with a term expiration of June 30, 2017 and the appointment of Merrill Edelstein to fill a vacancy on the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission with a term expiration of June 30, 2019. City Clerk Sherry Aguilar issued the Oath of Office. Congratulations, Andrew and Merrill!
Surprise Parks & Recreation Master Plan
Community and Recreation Services (CRS) and Community Development staff collaborated with Jay Hicks, Master Plan Consultant to prepare an update to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The consultant prepared current facility and program inventory, benchmarking locally and nationally, summarized potential deficiencies according to planning area and projected populations, identified potential construction costs for our current 20 year CIP plan and conducted a public survey. Staff reviewed progress, survey results and resulting conceptual themes in January 2015. Several workshops were held with the CRS Advisory Commission that included goals, policy and objective development, as well as general design guidelines and principles.
The goals of the Master Plan include improving the residential quality of life by reinvesting in our existing parks; promoting active recreation, sports and sports tourism; providing a connected park experience and pursuing opportunities to create and acquire new parks and open space. The goal, by 2030, is to have a total of 1,200 acres of new public parks which includes one new 200-acre city park, six new 25-acre community parks and 847 acres of open space. The final draft was approved by CRS Advisory Commission on November 23, 2015. This update to the plan aligns with the General Plan update. City Council unanimously approved the Surprise Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update.
Events & Meetings
Adaptive Holiday Party
Councilman Todd Tande, Councilman Roland Winters and I attended the Adaptive Holiday Party at DreamCatcher Park and provided a welcome for the guests on Friday, December 11.
Second Saturday – December 2015
I volunteered at Radiant Church’s Second Saturday on Saturday, December 12. The event took place on the Radiant Church campus on Reems Road. Over 600 volunteers helped serve more than 2,500 kids gifts they can enjoy this Christmas season. I am grateful to be part of this life changing event for children and their families in our community each year. The generosity of the Radiant community was very touching and embodies what life is really about. Thank you!
Committee on Water Resource Planning Meeting
The Committee on Water Resource Planning, on which I serve as Chair, met on Monday, December 14. Due to technical difficulties, the Committee elected to defer the water portfolio update discussion to our next meeting. The Water Resource Management Director made a presentation to the Committee on the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) of Arizona. The Committee elected to move this item forward to City Council in January for recommendation to begin the WIFA process in order to utilize this funding vehicle for water related projects. Water Resource Management staff provided an update to the committee on proposed conservation programs and capital improvement projects which will be placed in the proposed FY17 budget for Council review.
Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting
Councilman Jim Biundo, Councilman Todd Tande and I attended the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting. Our very own Community Development Director Eric Fitzer was the guest speaker. Mr. Fitzer elaborated on our sign code as the City of Surprise has begun the process to amend the City of Surprise Sign Code.
Over the next few months, staff will be conducting stakeholder meetings and work sessions with the City Council. City staff has broken these work sessions into three signage types: Wall and Window Signage; Monument Signs and the Comprehensive Sign Program; and Temporary and Off-Site Signs. Staff has been able to reach out to 28 stakeholders who compose the sign industry, Surprise Regional Chamber, and the real estate and development communities’ interests and welcomes the opportunity to add additional stakeholders to the list. The sign code is a set of requirements, standards and guidelines to help govern outdoor advertising and signage within the City of Surprise and as such, they are very important to the aesthetic nature of the community as well as businesses and residents.
The Surprise Chamber announced a new Chamber program, a business-exclusive leads group. This new group will meet every Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m. in the Chamber conference room, located at the Chamber Conference Center at 16126 N. Civic Center in Surprise.
Reception for City Attorney
Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth hosted a reception on Tuesday, December 15 in honor of Robert Wingo who recently accepted the permanent position of City Attorney. Wingo joined Surprise in December 2013 as the Deputy City Attorney and became Chief Deputy in April 2014. He most recently served as the Interim City Attorney, following the resignation of the previous City Attorney in late October 2015.
“Robert is an outstanding attorney, but more importantly, an outstanding person. He has a heart of service and great strength of character,” says City Manager Wingenroth. “He is a humble leader, and a strong advocate for democracy, transparency, and the law.”
Wingo has 11 years of legal experience including prior service as the City Attorney for Page, Arizona (March 2012 – December 2013). He served as Page’s Assistant City Attorney five years prior to being named City Attorney for that community.
He holds a B.A. summa cum laude in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
The City Attorney is the chief legal adviser to the Council and City departments and represents the Surprise in all legal proceedings. The attorney also administers the City’s legal department, which includes city prosecutors and a civil division.
Legacy Traditional School Spelling Bee
I was asked to judge a spelling bee for Legacy Traditional School in Surprise on Thursday, December 17. Congratulations to the winners on their success in the first ever Legacy Traditional School Surprise Campus Spelling Bee! The winners were: First Place- Skylar D. and Runner Up- Parker K. Congrats to all 25 finalists from 3rd-8th grade!
Valley Metro RPTA Meeting
The Valley Metro RPTA Board met on Thursday, December 17. Several items were discussed and decided upon including the approval of Eric Anderson as the short-term Interim CEO until January 31, 2016. A longer-term Interim CEO is being considered from interested applicants.
All travel will be approved by the CEO and a report will be provided to the Board on a monthly basis. Furthermore, the General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will report directly to the Board.
Employee Appreciation Holiday Luncheon
The Employee Appreciation Committee hosted a luncheon for all employees on Thursday, December 17. City Manager Bob Wingenroth acknowledged several deserving employees for going above and beyond, and City Directors served food to the staff.
Mark Your Calendar
Cactus Road Sidewalk Ramp Project
A project to replace sidewalk ramps at 19 locations along Cactus Road will begin on Monday, December 21. There will be daytime lane restrictions between 7 am and 4 pm through January 5 as crews work from east to west along Cactus Road from 141st Avenue to 151st Avenue, including locations at the Bullard and Cactus intersections.
Lunchtime Theater in Surprise Continues
Lunchtime Theater continues in Surprise in 2016 with three more shows! Lunchtime theatre is presented through a collaboration between the City of Surprise, the West Valley Arts Council, Theater Works and the West Valley Symphony. The remaining three lunchtime performances will be held in the beautiful 2,500 square foot Arts HQ gallery. Performances include:
- January 13, 2016: “Jam Session with Maestro Kellogg and Friends” – West Valley Symphony. View event
- January 28, 2016: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – Theater Works presents a musical about the contemporary conundrum of “the relationship”. View event
- March 3, 2016: “City of Angels” – Theater Works presents a musical homage to the classic film. View event
All performances begin at Noon at the Arts HQ, 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ. Tickets are $9 for each performance. To order tickets, please call the West Valley Arts Council at 623.935.6384 or Susan de Jong at 623.214.7537. Each performance will be 45-50 minutes long.
Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch or pre-order from the City Café @ Surprise. To place a lunch order, please contact the City Café @ Surprise at 623.222.8900. Lunch orders from the City Café @ Surprise will be delivered to the Arts HQ before the performance.
World Series Day
Surprise Stadium will be recognizing the Kansas City Royals for the 2015 World Series win at the 1:05 pm game scheduled for Saturday, March 5!
Did You Know?
Surprise City Manager Receives Patriot Award
Surprise City Manager Bob Wingenroth was presented with a U.S. Department of Defense award Tuesday evening for his efforts to support veteran initiatives. Wingenroth received the Patriot Award from the Department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) office. This award recognizes supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for support of military services. The nomination was submitted by Staff Sergeant Timothy Suan, A U.S. Air Force Reservist and City of Surprise Intern. Congratulations Bob!
Major Rehab Funds Available
The City is currently accepting applications from income-qualified resident homeowners to participate in the Major Housing Rehabilitation Program. Eligible repairs include plumbing, mechanical, electrical, heating, cooling and accessibility. The program is funded through the federal HOME Investment and Partnerships Grant (HOME).
Projects are selected on a first-come, first-served basis, with special consideration given to projects that address health and safety issues. Funds are limited. For more information, please contact Jason Hughes at 623.222.3239.
Fall Tennis Tournaments
Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex has had a very busy fall hosting several tournaments over the last few months. Approximately 1,800 players from various USTA leagues participated. For more information on future tournaments, you can visit our website or USTA’s website at www.usta.com.
Work to improve Greenway & Dysart intersection begins Sunday
Work to improve the intersection of Dysart and Greenway Roads will begin Sunday, Dec. 20. The project will improve ride quality in the east and west directions and enhance pedestrian accessibility.
Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 24, 2016, pending there are no weather-related delays.
There will be phased lane restrictions during the project. There is a planned full closure of the intersection starting the evening of Friday, Jan. 15 and running through the evening of Sunday, Jan. 17 to complete the paving phase of the project. Detour routes will be posted to assist in navigating around the closure.
If you have any questions regarding this project, please call the Public Works Department at 623.222.6000.
Daytime road closures scheduled Dec. 21 & 22
Asphalt repairs in Surprise, west of the Loop 303, will occur on December 21 and 22; the daytime road closures will impact the following roadways:
- Southbound Verde Vista Drive, south of Greenway Road, will be closed December 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Southbound 175th Avenue, south of Bell Road, will be closed December 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and consider alternate routes during the closures.
Happy Holidays – From My Family to Yours!
At this time of year, I reflect upon how extremely grateful I am to work with truly wonderful people like you, the residents of Surprise, and my colleagues at City Hall including my fellow Council Members. I sincerely wish you a season of health, happiness and prosperity as you embark upon the new year. Best wishes to all of you in 2016, and God bless!
Please be advised that City Hall will be closed on Friday, December 25 and Friday, January 1 in honor of the upcoming holidays.
This will be the last newsletter for 2015. My newsletter will resume the week of January 4, 2016. Thank you!