I was dismayed to hear Michele James, executive director of the Friends of Flagstaff’s Future nonprofit, call into city council’s April 27 work session to endorse a proposed downzoning of Flagstaff’s urban core.
The downzoning would be terrible on several fronts. First, it would preemptively block desperately needed housing, ensuring that housing costs continue to soar and force out middle-class and low-income residents. Second, by blocking housing in the urban core, it would prevent more residents from living close to the amenities and civic space of downtown. Third, blocking housing in Flagstaff’s urban core would drive development to Flagstaff’s periphery, necessitating the destruction of large amounts of forestland.
And the families in those developments, because of their distance from the urban core, would be heavily car-dependent, worsening traffic congestion and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Friends of Flagstaff’s Future are clearly no friends of Flagstaff.