Armory Park Commentary & News

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Historic Review Players

If you follow the AP listserv, you already know that there is a lot of confusion regarding the historic review process in Armory Park (and probably the other four HPZs).  The Historic Review Improvement Initiative (HRII) is a small group of your neighbors trying to drive improvements to the process. As a byproduct of our efforts, it sometimes becomes obvious that there is some misunderstanding within our community. The Roles of APNA (our neighborhood association) and APHZAB (our historic board).

APNA has no official role in the historic review process. They are concerned with preserving the historic character of Armory Park as we all are. They can be influential within the community and possibly with city government but have no official voice greater than any of us have. Anyone speaking for the community has credibility only to the extent that residents and property owners lend their support. The city website shows 136 Neighborhood Associations on its map. APNA is one of many.

APHZAB is an official part of city government. They are the eyes and ears here in Armory Park of the city’s historic preservation staff. If you start a proposed project with an informal review (optional, but recommended), they are the first people you will talk to. For a formal review, you must start with Michael Taku at the city who will work with you to create an adequate package (good luck), will take your historic review fee, and will eventually provide the APHZAB with an HPZ number which allows the APHZAB to begin a major review. For a minor review, Michael will schedule an onsite visit by an APHZAB member, a city/county board member and himself. The outcome from either process is a recommendation to the PDSD director who has decision authority. An appeal to mayor and council is possible. There is an HZAB (historic review board) for each of the five HPZs (historic zones).

While neither board has a great deal of power, the historic board’s recommendations have official standing and often prevail. Neither group taken a public position on improving or clarifying the historic review process; maybe we can encourage them to do more. Someone needs to. That is why we started our initiative.

If this raises questions or you want to learn more, please ask. Group organizers are: Michael Means (micasaadobe4@gmail.com) and Ken Taylor (ken@kmtaylor.com).

Historic Review Improvement Initiative

We are a grass roots initiative in Armory Park with an objective to cause positive changes to the historic review process and ensure Historic Preservation Zones (HPZs) remain vital and visible reminders of the history and cultural heritage of Tucson. We are concerned that the process for approving the preservation and rehabilitation of properties in Tucson’s historic districts discourages proper maintenance by property owners as needed to preserve the historic character of our community. An unreasonably difficult review process can even discourage people from buying HPZ properties. Adequate maintenance and strong property values are essential to maintaining our historic properties.

We feel the negative influence is now being felt in Armory Park and probably the other four HPZs. Community feedback on the desired outcomes we identify below will be very valuable. We will gather data here and in the other historic neighborhoods to support fact-based recommendations to decision makers.

Our overall objective is to make it easier for property owners to maintain or develop their respective properties consistent with historic standards. An onerous, burdensome process is unnecessary and is often a significant barrier to the preservation of our neighborhood. Following is a list of some desired outcomes from our initiative.

  • A simple step-by-step process for property owners to prepare for minor and major
  • A process that shortens the timelines for review and approval, and minimizes cost
    impacts to applicants.
  • Guidance based on established standards, not inconsistent subjective opinions.
  • Consistent enforcement of compliance with historic standards.
  • A modified approval process for conduct of routine maintenance that should not
    require a review, fee or permit (e.g. replace a broken window, patching stucco,
    replacing deteriorating boards and other like-for-like activities)
  • Improved customer service by city employees who treat owners as their customers and are held accountable for their performance and conduct.
  • Implementation of metrics within applicable city departments to improve performance measured against established organizational objectives.
  • A customer feedback process for continued organizational improvement.

We value and look forward to your feedback on our initiative. We expect to be working on this for the next several months. If you feel other items should be added to our list, please tell us. We can be reached as follows: Ken Taylor, 520-301-7113,
ken@kmtaylor.com or Michael Means, 520-548- 4122, micasaadobe4@gmail.com.

Armory Park Election Details

I was curious about the election results in Armory Park (precinct 45) so I went to the city website and extracted the following information:

Precinct 045
REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL             1,197
BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL                            247
BALLOTS CAST – NONPARTISAN                 0
BALLOTS CAST – Democrat                      228     92.31%
BALLOTS CAST – Republican                     15       6.07%
BALLOTS CAST – Libertarian                       0       0%
BALLOTS CAST – Green                                 4       1.62%
BALLOTS CAST – BLANK                               2       0.81%
VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL                                   20.63%
VOTER TURNOUT – BLANK                                    0.17%
********** (Democrat) **********
Council Member Ward 6
KOZACHIK, STEVE                                      221      97.36%
WRITE-IN                                                         6         2.64%
********** (Republican) **********
Council Member Ward 6
RODRIGUEZ, MARIANO                              13        92.86%
WRITE-IN                                                         1          7.14%
********** (Libertarian) **********
Council Member Ward 6
WRITE-IN                                                         0          0%
********** (Green) **********
Council Member Ward 6
CEASE, MIKE                                                   4      100%
OATMAN, MICHAEL                                      0           0%
WRITE-IN                                                         0           0%

Precinct 45 is larger than Armory Park. It extends roughly from Broadway to 22nd and from I-10 to the railroad tracks. So these figures include the barrios and some residents to our south. These people are residents of our extended neighborhood and seem to share our political orientation.

Voter turnout in uncontested primaries is always low, about 20% in this case. The turnout for Steve Kozachik is particularly significant here. He needed no votes to advance to the general election, nevertheless, 221 voters made the effort to cast a ballot for him. The bad news: there are probably less than half of Precinct 45 residents registered to vote and only about 20% voted. The good news: 93% of voters chose Steve.

I hope and expect that this level of support will continue into the general election.

Large Vote for Steve K.

This is good news and I expect Armory Park made a significant contribution to the outcome. Remember, Steve was not running against a primary opponent in this election. That means his supporters made the extra effort to cast their ballot for him even though he would be the Democratic candidate even with no votes. I feel most of you see what I do: Steve is the most competent and energetic member of our council. Thoughtful people will not agree on every subject but I hope we agree that Steve is good for our community and city. The next election is for score; rehire Steve as our council member.

Dear friends,

The official results from the primary are posted on the city website. If you’re relying on the mainstream media for coverage, you’d come away thinking this is a neck-and-neck race. Thanks to your tremendous support, it’s anything but that.

Your involvement in this money-free campaign resulted in a new record for a city council primary election. Over 5,500 of you voted to return me and my staff to our jobs serving Ward 6 and the city this November. The media hasn’t published that number. I believe you deserve to know.

That’s virtually the same number of people who voted for all three Ward 3 candidates in the Democratic contested primary – combined.

That total is over three times the number of votes my Republican opponent labored to get. Based on his financial reports, he spent over $7,500 to gather fewer votes than the second place finisher in the Ward 3 contested primary. Speaking of contested, the media continues to report the winner of the only contested Ward 6 primary, but fails to mention that he received a total of 55 votes. Hey, I like and respect the Green candidate, but if the media wants to place this race into proper perspective, that’s 5,500 versus 55.

We are now entering the final stretch of the campaign. There are eight weeks until the general election. Ballots will be mailed out in about a month. Despite the overwhelming numbers, I am taking nothing for granted and commit to you that I will continue reaching out and connecting with as many constituents as possible between now and election day.

Yet, you deserve to know the truth about how the primary ended. You also deserve to be thanked for the great support you have shown as I ask to be rehired for another term serving this great community.


  Steve Kozachik

APHZAB Approves 3, Debate Continues

I am trying a different approach in covering August’s meeting. To have more precision on the board’s formal actions and to make my job a little easier, the board’s Legal Action Report is reproduced verbatim. It is shown in italics to differentiate from my comments.

Informal Review, 617 S 3rd Ave. Debora Oslik, property owner. Proposed fence. In Ms. Oslik’s absence, she had a friend present on her behalf. Members expressed support for 617 S 3rd 2adding a trellis wall facing 3rd Ave. on the south side of the house for privacy, 6’ high if the wall facing the street were built flush with the house façade and 4’ high if the wall were extended out to the sidewalk. Members suggested using plantings to provide screening if the shorter wall provided insufficient privacy. No formal action taken.  The property is on a corner lot and so has no proper rear yard. It is fenced on the street side with a low fence that gives no privacy. The board’s recommendation allows for a privacy screening feature from the SW corner of the house to the south property line. The second option adds nothing significant to privacy. Of course, plantings are also an option since landscaping is not subject to historic review. Continue reading “APHZAB Approves 3, Debate Continues”

How to Support Steve K.

I have said in a previous post here that I support Steve Kozachik for re-election to the Tucson City council. He is the most articulate and thoughtful council member and we are fortunate to have him represent our ward 6.

Steve Kozachik 2017I hope there are many others in Armory Park who appreciate Steve’s work and would like for him to continue serving us. If you want to keep up with his re-election campaign, go to his website at https://www.votestevek.com/. He is not asking for campaign contributions or for you to post signs urging his re-election. You can talk up his value for our community and city. You can even host a coffee meeting of your friends with Steve if you wish. His website will help you show your support.

Change at Five Points

The August APNA board meeting had an interesting discussion about development of the lot at the NE corner at Five Points. The project is titled The Baffert Mixed Use Building at 5 Points. The Baffert family once owned the property. Our late neighbor, Annie Laos, was a Baffert. Larry Kappler, the developer/owner of the property, made a good presentation to the board asking for support of the project.

View Looking Northeast

The key issue is the allowed building height. The proposed project would be restricted to a height of not over 44 feet. If the property is moved out of the historic zone without an agreement, it could be much taller. Since there is no legal mechanism for waiving height restrictions in an HPZ, another mechanism is needed to make the development economically viable. I won’t go into the technical details but an innovative approach termed doughnut rezoning (part of the property rezoned) will allow a compromise between protecting our HPZ and allowing economically feasible development of an otherwise unproductive vacant lot. Continue reading “Change at Five Points”

APHZAB Hears Need for Improvements

At its monthly meeting, our historic board heard a presentation by Michael Means regarding the Historic Review Improvement Initiative. This effort by a number of Armory Park property owners is motivated by the inefficient and often unhelpful nature of the city’s historic review administration. The historic board struggles to perform its vital historic preservation mission while handicapped by an unnecessarily frustrating administrative process fostering ill will among property owners. Community support is essential for a fully effective historic preservation program. Continue reading “APHZAB Hears Need for Improvements”

What’s Your Plan for Jobs?


Dear friends,

Before you support a candidate for public office, it’s important you know they stand for something more than just campaign platitudes. My opponent says he “values good jobs.” So do we all. The question is, what’s your plan for attracting them?

At the recent Metro Chamber forum all he had to offer was to say he supports the Rosemont Mine. Among other things related to Rosemont, he evidently doesn’t understand that the city has no permitting or zoning decision making authority on that project.

Eight years ago when I was first elected, we were in the midst of a recession. People were being laid off in every sector and we faced an operating deficit of over $44 million. Moving our economy was clearly the #1 priority. Yes, I “value good jobs” too.

Since then we have instituted job creating development incentives that have been key to spurring economic growth. Our Primary Jobs Incentive has resulted in multiple projects of over $5 million in investment, jobs paying over $52,000 annually with employers who offer over 75 percent of employee’s benefits. Our Government Property Leased Excise Tax is one of the factors that has resulted in over $500 million in private sector growth in the downtown core. And there’s more.

We have instituted site specific sales tax incentives to help with public infrastructure needs. The downtown core, and greater Infill Incentive Districts have helped businesses move in with new jobs throughout the downtown region. Our HUD 108 bridge loan was directly responsible for making the AC Marriott Hotel project a success. There is now Certificate of Occupancy relief, cross training of project inspectors, impact fee deferrals, dedicated project managers, water infrastructure incentives, and on and on.

Results? Raytheon is adding 1,975 new high-paying jobs. Vector Space. Comcast. Home Goods. Caterpillar. Hexagon Mining. City Park. Marist on Cathedral Square. 1 East and 1 West Broadway. La Placita. A new university area hotel. New retail and mixed use throughout downtown.

My opponent has a cliché to offer. I have a track record. It includes working with many of you throughout the community, both public and private sector, to come up with incentives and processes that have us on an upward trajectory as we climb out from the recession.

I invite my opponent to share his specific plan, beyond simply saying he’d like somebody else to build the Rosemont Mine. Contact the Star at Tucson.com, or the Tucson Sentinel at tucsonsentinel.com. Or try KVOA.com, KOLD.com or KGUN9.com. Let us all hear your plan for bringing the jobs we all value.

This job is more than simply rhetoric. I have a record of success, the results of which you can see.

Steve Kozachik

Then and Now for Tucson Downtown


Dear friends,

In the past eight years since I was first elected, Tucson has seen enormously positive change in multiple areas.

Then – we were mired in litigation with the Rio Nuevo Board, faced a $44 million dollar operating deficit, were under investigation from the state auditor general, had negative bond outlooks, and the general trust in local government was low.

Now – after eight years of hard work, the city is headed on an upward trajectory.

Not only have we resolved all of the legal issues with Rio Nuevo, but the city and the new Rio Board are partnering in millions of dollars of projects throughout the downtown core.

Not only is the operating deficit gone, but for the past two years we have ended the fiscal year with structurally balanced budgets.

This mayor and council has ensured all of our financial actions, development agreements and investment incentives are fully transparent and consistent with the state constitutional gift clause. Combined they have led to over $500 million in private sector investment in our downtown area.

Every one of the three major bond rating agencies has eliminated the negative outlook on our ratings.

Trust? The best example is Proposition 101. Every ward in the city passed our roads and public safety ballot question by over 10 points. With a 62% margin, the voters said ‘yes’ to the work we’ve been doing, trusting us with another five years of funding to continue that work.

I’m asking for four years to continue serving Tucson. Let’s keep building on the successes we’ve achieved together. Ours is a good story – one of hard work, and positive outcomes.