What is a Specific Area Plan?
A Specific Plan or Specific Area Plan is a tool for the systematic implementation of the general plan. It establishes a link between implementing policies of the Town’s adopted General Plan and the more specific development proposal(s) in a defined area of Town. The plan may be general in nature or more detailed depending on the particular characteristics of the area being defined.
A Specific Area Plan incorporates, and further defines, elements of the adopted General Plan such as land use, transportation, open space, economic development and infrastructure. It may also provide more detailed elements such as character and vision design guidelines which are more specific to the area that is the subject of the plan.
The Specific Area Plan process is authorized under Arizona Revised Statute which provides for public notification process and a recommendation from the Planning Commission followed by consideration and adoption by Town Council.
If approved, the document provides potential developers, existing land owners, and Town departments with a framework to analyze development projects in the specified area using the goals and themes that characterize the area.
Purpose of 2015 Specific Area Plan project
This project was conceived as a result of the Town receiving several requests for Major General Plan Amendments (GPA) in 2013 that generally requested an increase in density for lands designated for Residential use and conversion of lands designated for Industrial/Employment use to Residential use. These requests brought to light two key questions: Why is there a trend to develop more homes beyond what the current adopted General Plan allows? And, why are there no applications to develop industrial properties in the areas already designated?
After analyzing these questions, staff and the GPA property owners determined that a Specific Area Plan approach to development rather than multiple singularly focused General Plan Amendments offered the best opportunity to ensure the proper development of the areas, and to maintain consistency with the intent and vision of the 2008 General Plan, recent economic changes, and trends in development around the East Valley. In February 2014, Town Council authorized staff to begin the process of establishing two Specific Area Plans: one in the North sector of Town, and one in the South sector.
The purpose of the 2015 Specific Area Plan project is to comprehensively address today’s challenges faced by both the Town and property owners within the study areas. Current challenges have introduced uncertainty as well as disconnect between shared goals and our shared vision for prosperity and success. It is our hope that these plans provide a basis for proactively enabling responsible management of future investments in these areas, towards the building of a vibrant and sustainable community, with benefits for all.