Guest Editorial: The 2035 General Plan Looks Backward, not Forward

By Tim Stratton

Ballots will soon arrive seeking approval of the 2035 General Plan. People are asking me, “Why should I support something I have heard so little about?” That’s a great question. Why haven’t voters heard more on the 2035 General Plan? What is hiding in this 296 page document that most people will never read? Maybe the answer is that there is little in the 2035 General Plan worthy of your support. Is this the best Scottsdale can do? I hope not.

The 2035 General Plan is not an improvement over the existing plan, and is full of platitudes and empty words. In order to get the plan approved by Council it has been watered down and neutered to the point of lacking a coherent vision. Worse yet, it places the City adrift as it relates to comprehensive land use planning and invites bad decision making on zoning, will result in potential tax increases, and will lead to diminishing property values.

After much analysis I have come to the conclusion that the 2035 General Plan doesn’t warrant support. This plan focuses more on secondary issues and less on vision and action. It fails to respect and uphold individual property rights, diminishing our property values. It does not protect small businesses and promotes further government regulation and overreach. Irrespective of which side of the development debate you are on, it leaves much to be desired. Most notably, an acknowledgement of the diverse character of our community is absent by the fact that the plan fails to establish a western area overlay district. Even Phoenix recognizes the importance of maintaining a rural character in certain parts of the city. What does our plan have to say about that? Nothing. It fails to respect our diverse character.

The plan doesn’t go far enough to safeguard your property rights. All it does is create more confusion and uncertainty—two things Scottsdale can do without. The plan also pays lip-service to our older residents who wish to remain in Scottsdale. The plan mentions aging in place for seniors, but provides no action or mechanism to make this happen. Our seniors deserve better.

With all this bad land use policy comes bad fiscal policy too. Good land use preserves and protects our community and allows us to maximize property tax revenues, make smart budgeting decisions, and enhance our underlying tourism and retail base. This plan does none of these things. It fails to protect our critical tourism industry and it says nothing about the short-term vacation rental crisis that is ruining Scottsdale neighborhoods and stealing tax revenues from our legitimate hotels and resorts. It also fails to address the issue of housing availability.

Scottsdale is known for its bold leadership and has historically set the trend in Arizona. The 2035 General Plan does not reflect the high standards of our community. Vote NO on the 2035 General Plan. We need leaders with vision on City Council who are committed to developing a general plan for Scottsdale that is fiscally responsible and sets the right tone for responsible and balanced growth. Vote NO on Proposition 463.

Tim Stratton is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council