The Flagstaff Regional Plan Is NOT My Plan

By Elisha Dorfsmith

“It (the regional plan) is guiding not only government agencies but everyone else.”
 — Eva Putzova (Friends of Flagstaff’s Future Board Member. Regional Plan Advisory Committee Member)

The Flagstaff Regional Plan is being touted as a plan created by the people of Flagstaff for the people of Flagstaff. What we’re not being told is that this document was created by a one sided Citizen Advisory Committee of only 15 people along with City and County staff.

Public input was taken and community outreach was done but it was done in a way that only put a very positive spin on the plan and discouraged people from sitting down and actually reading the whole thing.

A simple way to test people’s knowledge about the regional plan is to ask them what they think of it. About 99% of the time they will look at you with a question mark on their face and ask what the regional plan is. When someone does recognize the name of the plan ask them how they like it. They will tell you that they have not read it and don’t know much about it. This has been my experience over and over and over again.

Still, we are being told that this is “our plan” and that it’s what everyone wants for Flagstaff. Manufactured consensus created the illusion that this plan is the vision of Flagstaff Residents and the community as a whole. Did you help write the plan? Did you have a say? Did you voice your opinion on the plan? If you’re an average Flagstaff resident, the answer is no.

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting certain council members and Eva Putzova of the Citizen Advisory Committee and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future said that enough public input has already been compiled and the current draft should be the final draft. Any future changes and amendments were strongly discouraged.

Reading through the document I was shocked to see in the Open Spaces section of the plan (page 4 of that section) where it says Friends of Flagstaff’s Future will be a non-profit partner with the City. Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to sit on the advisory committee and be able to write my organization into the plan and tell Flagstaff Residents that it’s what they want.


Many Flagstaff residents consider Friends of Flagstaff’s Future to be a bit on the extreme side of things, politically or otherwise. Are they sure this is our plan? Could it possibly be that this is Friends of Flagstaff’s Future’s plan and they think we’re too stupid to realize that?

We are also being told that people with concerns are reading too much into the Regional Plan and that it is simply a guide or vision for the City to casually consult. We are being told that if it is passed it won’t be equivalent to laws or rules that we have to follow.

While they tell us this, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future is already looking at how they can use this plan to change laws they don’t like and force things like a stricter energy code. The following is from one of their recent newsletters:

“The City Council unanimously voted to update the Energy Code to 2009 standards with some amendments. This happened after weeks of opposition from Mayor Nabours and Councilmembers Oravitz and Brewster. F3, along with other citizens concerned about energy conservation and costs in our community, supported updating to the 2012 standards, but due to the opposition supporters of the 2012 code were forced to compromise. The proposed Regional Plan, however, has strong Energy Conservation language. If this section passes intact after council review and voter approval, we may be able to revisit this issue next summer.”

Oh, I guess the regional plan DOES have the force of law. I’m so surprised.

The Devil Is In Appendix B

Guess what you won’t find on the Regional Plan website? You won’t find a direct link to Appendix B which has the strategies for implementing the plan. In order to find Appendix B you will need to download the whole plan and go to page 278. This is where the really good stuff is. We’re told that this list is unedited but Eva Putzova (Friends of Flagstaff’s Future) and a couple council members prefer that it remains unedited. They have opposed any changes to the Regional Plan document and that includes Appendix B.


There are 242 strategies to implement the plan listed in Appendix B. Above is a screen capture of 6 of them. (click to enlarge)

I have picked out a handful strategies in Appendix B that really throw up red flags for me:

“Continue to educate the public on issues of personal safety and crime prevention by emphasizing that all citizens need to play a part in crime prevention, in partnership with their police, in order for it to be effective.”

Don’t you just love the police state? Don’t you love spying on your neighbor? I know you’re anxious to turn in that little neighbor kid who rides his bike without a helmet and breaks the bike helmet ordinance that was passed a few years ago. Cops couldn’t bust that kid without your help!

“Emphasize the role of law abiding community members, governmental agencies and the private sector in the development of successful crime prevention efforts.”  

You’re a cop, I’m a cop, we’re all cops!

“Allow and use neighborhood police substations.”

Sweet, we all want a police substation right down the street from us. It will make life super easy for cops who want to fly their spy drones around the neighborhood making sure that our weeds are cut and not violating the property maintenance ordinance (which is also in the plan) and we’re not washing our car on a day we’re not allowed to.


Police departments across the country are anxious to get their hands on drones to patrol neighborhoods.

“Create area plans and neighborhood plans; support these plans with regulatory techniques.”

Get with the “plan” or pay a fine or go to jail!

“Implement a general public education campaign for basic preservation achievement and appropriate remodeling techniques for the average homeowner.”

What exactly does it mean to do an appropriate remodel? My friends at the City and County and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future…I’m so happy you want to spend my tax dollars on programs to teach me how to do my remodel appropriately.

“Direct walkway and bikeway routes to schools, parks and community facilities shall be provided.”

Shall? Do you know what shall means? Shall means SHALL! What if the City can’t afford it? What if it’s not practical. What if whatever. This kind of language does not work for me.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. This is not the kind of stuff I would put in MY plan.

While some kind of “plan” is mandated by law, I think I can say with confidence that this plan as it is currently written, is not a plan that accurately represents the majority of the people of Flagstaff and it must be changed. I encourage you to read the plan and contact the Flagstaff City Council and County Board of Supervisors with your suggestions and concerns.

You can read the proposed plan here (be sure to check out Appendix B):

Pages from Flagstaff-Regional-Plan-2-S

Below is my letter to the Flagstaff City Council about the public input process:

Good afternoon Mayor and Council,
I watched the live stream of last night’s council meeting with great interest as the process for reviewing the Regional Plan was discussed. I was very discouraged to see so much resistance to public input by some council members and the Citizen Advisory Committee. I was especially frustrated to see Eva Putzova of Friends of Flagstaff’s Future stand up and say that the public had their chance for input and allowing public input now is disrespecting the process. 
Yes, there was a process for public input. Yes, many members of the public submitted comments through that process. I personally filled out the survey for the plan and submitted several comments for suggested changes as the process required.
My biggest concern was the fact that the plan included a Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO) as a possible solution to many of Flagstaff’s problems. As you may remember, you chose to stop pursuing a PMO at your January 8, 2013 meeting.
During the Regional Plan review process, many meetings were held across the City to explain the plan and take questions and suggestions from the public. I talked with Roger Eastman and Kim Sharp at one of these meetings and asked them why a PMO was included in the plan. They said that including a PMO was an oversight and that it would be removed when the next draft came out.

I currently serve on the Sustainability Commission and during a Commission meeting I once again asked Roger Eastman to confirm that the PMO language would be removed when the next draft was released. He told the whole Commission that it would not be there. Just to be safe, I suggested that the Commission include a note along with our other recommendations to remind Eastman and others to remove the PMO language. The rest of the Commission agreed. That reminder was formally submitted through the required process.
When the most recent Regional Plan draft was released, I skimmed it over and to my surprise the PMO language was still there but it had been moved to a different part of the plan. Previously it had been in Appendix B and now it is on page 191. I made a big deal about this on my blog and on social media and was contacted by Kim Sharp who said the PMO language was supposed to be removed and they forgot. Honest mistake or not, it’s still in the plan and it needs to go.
I have been told that the newest draft of the Regional Plan is called the “Public Hearing Draft”. If this is true I find it quite ironic that public input is being discouraged at this point and that people are saying that allowing public input disrespects the process.
As someone who worked within the process and was ignored, I think it’s safe to say that the process is disrespecting me and other members of the public who were not listened to. If this is really the people’s plan and something we will want to vote for on election day you need to listen to and respect what the residents of Flagstaff have to say. Otherwise it’s the plan for special interest groups and the plan for people with an agenda and it is NOT “our plan”.

Thanks for your time.


Elisha Dorfsmith
Flagstaff Resident


  1. September 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

    “Police departments across the country can now fly drones weighing up to 25 pounds, as long as the aircraft stay within sight of the operator and fly no higher than 400 feet (so as not to get in the way of commercial aircraft).”

  2. Bill Tippett
    September 8, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Of course there is plenty of oversight to make sure there will be no abuses.

  3. September 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Eva Putzova of the Regional Plan Advisory Committee and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future says public input at this point is disrespecting the process. A couple council members agree.

    What does Kim Sharp (City of Flagstaff) have to say? This is what she said when the most recent draft was released:

    “The Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030: Place Matters Public Hearing Draft (August 2013) has been released. This community vision policy document will now go through multiple public hearings, critique and further updating, in accord with the City and County Planning & Zoning Commissions, City Council and Coconino County Board of Supervisors. Come out to speak your mind on this vision, help make it an even better document! There is further editing needed, and it will take the Flagstaff community to do that.”

    Thank you Kim. I’m glad at least one person involved with the plan respects the public input process.

  4. joyiris
    September 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I believe Elisha has written an excellent explanation of some of the problems with the Regional Plan. I am especially concerned that the PMO language was not removed. With all the follow up Elisha did to try and insure that this language was removed, the fact that it was not, AND that it was moved to a different section, strikes me as highly suspicious. I hope many will attend Monday’s meeting at 4pm so Council and County can hear many of these concerns.

  5. Sophia K.
    September 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    If this Planning is the way for drugging PMO in, who needs it? The answer is — City Government. They, who suppose to serve us, need more and more money for their programs, which could be comparable with ones in big cities. And in their plans, citizens of Flagstaff have to pay for them in one way or another.

  6. Lou
    September 10, 2013 at 1:05 am

    I want to express my gratitude, Eli

  7. Lou
    September 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Don’t know what happened. My comment was posted incomplete. I start again
    I want to express my gratitude, Elisha, for your vigilance. You are truly a freedom loving individual who makes a difference in our community. I am very grateful.

  8. Slim
    September 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Facing a strong likelihood of amendment challenges to the PMO, moving it out of a particular section and into another, would keep focus off of the earlier section of containment and allows more procedural protections for that section.
    –In explanation: Where a procedure introducing an amendment(s) to section “F” begins, parliamentary procedure invites easily placed revamping of the entire section “F”.
    General gripe of likely (isn’t it obvious?) flimflammery:
    –“Disrespecting the Process” of the extra-governmental, extra-legal body by Respecting the Actual, Legal, Municipal Process. Good Blaspheme!
    –From your photo of appendix B (subtitle: Things a 4 year-old would be embarrassed to try) :
    “funding of volunteer services”, “Enhance police department knowledge of public perception”, “Encourage crime prevention (with building and zoning) criteria, codes and regulations”.
    While generally agreeing with your “police state” meme, I feel a little different spin apart from your well stated particulars–That being, fear-mongering the public to pay for an unknown number of “substations” AND the unmentioned departmental changes which would necessarily increase command structure while disassociating the force (however subtly).

    Great writeup and coverage. Thank you.

  9. Sam Adams
    September 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    “The Flagstaff Regional Plan is being touted as a plan created by the people of Flagstaff for the people of Flagstaff. What we’re not being told is that this document was created by a one sided Citizen Advisory Committee of only 15 people along with City and County staff.”

    I would add: using the United Nation’s Agenda 21 as a boilerplate.

    Eugenics and neo-feudalism coming to your home town. Yippeeee!!!

  10. Chris Lincoln
    January 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I’m quite certain that I’ve never read a more simplistic and uninformed basis for the formation of an “opinion” ever. The analysis of information and events is pedantic and hyperbolic bordering on propaganda. I would be most interested to know where you received training in public policy analysis. I hope to steer young minds clear of where ever you received your decrepit analytical training.

  1. September 8, 2013 at 9:08 am
  2. September 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

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