General Plan Series #4
By Don Hadder
The City of Scottsdale is part of a large metropolitan region; its development impacts adjacent communities. In turn, what happens outside its borders impacts how development functions within its borders.
For most of the areas surrounding Scottsdale, future land uses essentially are already established or will be. Three adjacent areas have enough volatility to impact future uses in Scottsdale.
The first is the “Rio Verde Foothills” area that is east of Scottsdale and north of the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. This roughly 23-square-mile area is not incorporated in any town or city and is regulated by Maricopa County. The Rio Verde Foothills Area Plan that the county has adopted accommodates only low-density single-family residential uses. No schools, offices, retail uses or other non-residential uses are part of the plan.
Assuming one house for every 2 to 3 acres, the total number of homes across this area could range from 5,000 to 7,500. Only two roads are entering this vast area: Rio Verde (from Scottsdale) and Mustang Way/Forest Road (from Fountain Hills). Assuming that traffic from this area splits in both directions, the impacts on Rio Verde/Dynamite Road would be roughly 25,000 to 38,000 trips per day. This traffic will also lead to a greater demand for service and retail uses in northern Scottsdale than what the resident population would typically support.
The second are of volatility is the portion of northeast Phoenix bounded by the CAP aqueduct on the south, Cave Creek Road on the west, Jomax Road on the north and Scottsdale Road on the east. This area is also roughly 23 to 24 square miles.
However, in terms of planned and zoned land uses, this area is much more intense. The currently approved plans in Phoenix would accommodate around 100,000 dwellings units of all types. As an entire city, Scottsdale, with a land area of about 185 square miles, currently has a little over 110,000 residences. This area’s overall density could be 6 to 7 times that of the entire City of Scottsdale.
This area is also planned for a very wide range of employment, service, retail and civic uses. In and of itself, it would be one of the largest cities in Arizona at build-out. Of particular note is that at the northwest corner of Scottsdale Road and the Pima Freeway (101), the approved zoning allows for buildings up to 190 feet tall.
There is substantial development already in this area, particularly at the Desert Ridge project, as well as the American Express and Mayo Hospital campuses. As this area continues to develop over the next decades, it will have significant impacts on transportation systems, visual character, retail and service provisions and demands for public services. In general, the most intense land uses of this area are along the Pima Freeway corridor and lessen to the north. There will be a need for additional transportation corridors parallel to the freeway to relieve the possible congestion at the freeway interchanges.
The third of these areas is the freeway corridor within the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. Unlike the other areas, this one will have no residential units. Therefore, as can already be seen by current development along this corridor, the freeway will be lined on both sides with employment, service, retail and recreational/cultural uses. This development will likely reduce the viability for some employment, service and retail sites in Scottsdale’s southern and central parts. It will also create greater demands on the traffic carried by the Pima Freeway. On the other hand, it will also tend to increase the demand for housing in nearby areas of Scottsdale.
The impacts of these areas will occur over the next 20 to 30 years. There are infrastructure limits and hurdles that will affect the development timing and patterns of each of these areas, but each one is of a magnitude that will impact parts of Scottsdale in both predictable and unpredictable ways.
Don Hadder is a retired city planner, long-time resident of Scottsdale and a local historical resource.
See Don’s entire series HERE.
Get more news like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting news and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing. Here is last newsletter you missed. Now you are all caught up.
Something went wrong.