By Laraine Rodgers
Updating the current 2001 General Plan was top of mind for candidates and voters during the 2020 Scottsdale City Council election. As the new councilors and mayor take office in January, there will be a revised 2035 General Plan draft ready for review through an extensive public hearing process in 2021.
The 2020 General Plan Citizen Review Committee (CRC) was tasked with reviewing and revising the 2035 General Plan draft created by the 2014 General Plan Task Force. That group used the current 2001 General Plan with amendments as its base.
The purpose of the CRC is to review the content of the draft plan during public meetings and make suggestions for proposed adjustments. The CRC’s work will conclude with a final draft for review by the community, city boards and commissions, the Planning Commission and City Council. The council will send the approved plan to the November 2021 ballot for voter ratification.
Many concepts from the 2001 General Plan remain, according to Long Range Planning at the City of Scottsdale, though many new or enhanced concepts are included in the 2035 draft, including:
- The foundation for the vision statement: Scottsdale’s Shared Vision and CityShape 2020.
- The three-levels of planning: General Plan, Character Area Plan, and Neighborhood Plan established in CityShape 2020.
- A substantial focus on community character and design.
- The mix and distribution of land uses citywide.
- Recognition that Scottsdale is primarily a residential, Sonoran Desert community and that the automobile will continue to be the primary form of transportation for the next 20 years.
- Scottsdale’s leadership role in environmental stewardship and open space preservation.
- The existing Growth Areas (Old Town, Airpark, and McDowell), but with specific rather than generalized boundaries.
- The existing Character Areas.
- Four major General Plan amendment criteria that focused on changes in land use, acreage, Character Area conformance, and water/sewer infrastructure.
The following are some aspects of the 2035 draft that are different from the 2001 General Plan and in particular to this update process:
- New vision statement, community values, and organization of the overall plan.
- Enhanced emphasis on tourism, fiscal sustainability, open space, community health, arts and culture and safety.
- Enhanced focus on community character, such as transitions/buffers and contextual compatibility.
- Shift from a primary focus on new development to revitalization, redevelopment and preservation.
- Three community-added elements: arts, culture & creative community; healthy Community; and tourism.
- Revised Character Area Planning map showing existing/adopted plans and possible boundaries for future Character Areas.
- Removal of ambiguous designations from the Land Use Map.
- Expanded and more specific General Plan amendment criteria.
- A list of implementation programs to carry out the plan and evaluate annual progress.
The fate of a new General Plan, the primary tool for guiding the future of the city, will soon be in the hands of the community, its residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Get ready to be a part of this critical public process!
Laraine Rodgers is a former chief information officer, long-time Scottsdale resident and civic leader and director of operations for SCOTT.
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