Scottsdale Draft Sustainability Plan Being Examined: What Should We Look Out For?

Last year, Scottsdale voters voted in favor of adopting the Scottsdale General Plan 2035 last year, a significant win for Mayor David Ortega (considering that a decade previous, it did not pass), although it came far from a mandate with only a 5 point win. But a win is a win, and soon thereafter the work began to start to implement this guide path towards a better city.

This process is a long and winding one, as any large scale municipal project can be. Another step forward recently happened and will be continuing soon, as the Scottsdale City Council recently reviewed some draft elements of the sustainability aspect of the plan. More specifically, the introduction, air quality and water sections were recently discussed, and draft sections on energy, waste and heat will be addressed in a Council Work Study Session in March 2024.

Some of our more conservative readers may recoil at the mere mention of the word “sustainability” and yearn for a more simple (and Republican) time where sustainability was not a word in our lexicon. But perhaps it’s an unnecessarily politicized word. For instance, water is obviously a critical resource in our area, and air quality is often on the minds of many, as is heat. There is room for conservation to intersect with quality of life concerns that impact everyone.

The Scottsdale Environmental Advisory Commission (SEAC) is a seven member commission that helped build this framework and will be tasked with ensuring that it aligns with the city’s goals and the vision of the 2035 General Plan. All in all, not only is the concept is compliant but ostensibly a positive one. After all, who doesn’t want a cleaner environment?

That said, we have already seen the potential perils of moving too far towards a sustainable utopia. For instance, the “road diet” concept, where driving lanes are stripped away in favor of walking or biking lanes, has already become a hot-button issue, with councilmembers and candidates alike lining up to pan the idea as an example of progressive ideals run amok.

Politicians will always use the available weapons to bludgeon their opponents, but positively and negatively. But it’s crucial for us to see it through a sober lens. Which recommendations will actually benefit our quality of life, and which ones add little value? That remains to be seen.

Here at the Arizona Progress and Gazette, we do our best to engage you on local issues not just for the sake of information, but hopefully to inspire you to become more proactively engaged citizens. Your set of eyes is just as crucial as ours, so we encourage you to follow along on your own and draw your own conclusions. We are all better off with an actively engaged citizenry, after all.