Guest Editorial: General Plan 2035 Primer: Part 1 “Origins”

By Scottsdale Vice Mayor Betty Janik

The citizens of Scottsdale will be asked to vote on a new General Plan this November.  It is a mail-in only vote. Ballots will be sent out in early October to registered voters.

The goal of the General Plan (GP) is to guide the development of Scottsdale over the next decade to realize the Citizens’ Vision for their City. The State of Arizona requires that the GP be updated every 10 years. We are currently operating under the 2001 voter ratified GP. The past 2 attempts to approve a GP (2011 and 2015) were unsuccessful. The draft GP 2035 was designated as the baseline for the current effort. It was created by a 25-member, council appointed, Task Force that hosted numerous public meetings and workshops, between 2014 and 2016. A sizable amount of content in General Plan 2035 was retained from the 2001 plan. There is general agreement that our community has changed over the past two decades and a detailed review and update of the 2001 GP is in order.

The update process began in 2019 with data collection and analysis by staff that included a review of relevant studies, policies, and current conditions. This phase was completed in November 2019. Next up was a review by the Technical Advisory Committee, an interdepartmental city staff team, with suggestions for content update. Upon completion, GP 2035 was passed on to a newly formed CRC –Citizen Review Committee. The thirteen CRC members were appointed by the City Manager, with City Council approval, and tasked with reviewing the full draft GP. The CRC group consisted of one representative from each of the city boards and commissions with related content in the GP. The CRC, with guidance from staff, reviewed edits submitted by members of our community. Those judged appropriate were included in the GP. In December 2020, the CRC concluded its work and was disbanded. This ushered in step 4, the public hearing process as mandated by state statute. It included public outreach and presentation to relevant Boards and Commissions. Note that City Council (CC) has the final authority in sending the document to the citizens for ratification. In the interest of transparency, members of Council reviewed the document in great detail and considered hundreds of additions, deletions and/or edits submitted by citizen, citizen groups, and fellow council members. These changes were presented during open CC meetings (boring but necessary) and accepted by vote of Council members. Staff was outstanding at tracking and collating modifications. The final draft was approved by City Council unanimously at the June 22 Council meeting calling for a special election by mail for November 2.

Step 5 is now in your hands, ratification of “Scottsdale General Plan 2035.”

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