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City may change land code to spur renovations

Citizen Staff Writer



The Tucson City Council is slated to talk at its meeting Wednesday about temporarily relaxing land use code requirements.

Councilwoman Nina Trasoff announced the idea Feb. 10 during a heated discussion of a proposal from Councilman Rodney Glassman to suspend for one year most fees that developers pay for new infrastructure.

Supporters of both proposals say they are intended to spur the area’s economy.

With a unanimous council vote, Glassman’s idea was sent to a task force assembled to recommend area stimulus strategies within 30 days.

The talks Wednesday will focus on a change made to the city land code in 1985 that forces businesses that make certain changes to a building’s size or use to comply with the city’s most recent rules.

“Full-code compliance” would be in effect if the new use required more parking or if the building, parking lot or property was expanded by more than 25 percent.

Small-business owners have complained that the rules make it too expensive to move into older buildings downtown and in midtown, even as the city is trying to encourage those properties’ reuse.

Trasoff wrote in a Feb. 11 memo to the council that she wanted to talk about changing or suspending the rules and have the city staff compile a more specific recommendation the council could vote on.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the council will hear whether Tucson Water Department is able to sell credits for a portion of this year’s Central Arizona Project allocation to nearby municipalities or private water companies.

Tucson Water officials proposed selling one-third of the allocation for this fiscal year and next at a meeting two weeks ago.

The sale would make up part of Tucson Water’s $15.4 million shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30. The deficit, officials said, was because of water conservation and slower development.

Approval of the department’s financial plan was put off until officials could market the credits to buyers willing to keep the water in southern Arizona. A vote is expected Wednesday.


What: City Council meeting

When: Study session starts at 2 p.m. Wednesday; regular session begins at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Mayor and Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda St.

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