Cantor: 2035 General Plan Update envisions a well-rounded Scottsdale future

Oh, Mr. Henninger, it is complicated, isn’t it? It has just gotten away from the people who want power without working with all these different people with different ideas getting in the way.

Divide and conquer that is how you get your way.

Nancy Cantor

Somebody sold that load of effluvia to would-be leaders in order to get “their way” for the future of our city.

For a while now developers and their individual visions for their individual projects without consideration for the people the project would immediately impact, that attitude has lead the way.

It’s not all one-sided because “we the people” have not paid attention to, or learned what we as taxpaying citizens must do to maintain the fabric of our community.

Participate or don’t participate, both have consequences.

A General Plan provides a guide for making these choices by describing long-term goals for the city’s future as well as policies to guide day-to-day decisions. These guidelines are not laws, but they do express the strong vision and values of the people, but in our city it seems to be very easy to ignore them whether long-term goals or making everyday decisions.

Zoning amendments? Give’em what they want.

Codes and ordinances? Waive those whenever asked.

Standard Operating Procedures? Bend or ignore them they just get in the way.

We have the 2001 General Plan and the 2035 General Plan Update, both documents have Vision and Values statements offered by the citizens who worked on them; the last being collected through a Town Hall process and surveying over 1,000 residents.

Community Values in the year 2025, (contained in the 2001 General Plan approved by the “people”) states that Scottsdale will be a community that:

  • Demonstrates its commitment to environmental, economic, and social sustainability and measures both the short and long-term impacts of our decisions;
  • Creates, revitalizes, and preserves neighborhoods that have long-term viability, unique attributes and character, livability, connectivity to other neighborhoods in the community, and that fit together to form an exceptional citywide quality of life (i.e. the whole is greater than the sum of its parts);
  • Facilitates human connection by anticipating and locating facilities and infrastructure that enable human communication and interaction; and by promoting policies that have a clear human orientation, value and benefit;
  • Respects the environmental character of the city with preservation of desert and mountain lands, and innovative ways of protecting natural resources, clean air, water resources, natural habitat, and wildlife migration routes, archaeological resources, vistas, and view and scenic corridors;
  • Builds on its cultural heritage, promotes historical and archaeological preservation areas, and identifies and promotes the arts and tourism in a way that recognizes the unique desert environment in which we live;
  • Coordinates transportation options with appropriate land uses to enable a decreased reliance on the automobile and more mobility choices;
  • Maintains or improves its high standards of appearance, aesthetics, public amenities, and levels of service;
  • Recognizes and embraces change: from being predominantly undeveloped to mostly built out, from a young town to a maturing city, from a bedroom community to a net importer of employees, and from a focus on a single economic engine to a diverse, balanced economy;
  • Simultaneously acknowledges our past (preservation of historically significant sites and buildings will be important), and prepares for our future;
  • Promotes growth that serves community needs, quality of life and community character;
  • Recognizes and embraces the diversity of the community by creating an environment that respects the human dignity of all without regard to race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical attributes.

General Plan Update 2035 begins with a values statement that was created by the people, in a Town Hall process similar to the Scottsdale Town Enrichment Process that guided our city’s growth from the town of Scottsdale to the incorporated city of Scottsdale. It reads:

These values will be at the forefront of our decision-making in implementing our vision, community aspirations, and goals found in the General Plan and shall be the basis upon and shall be the basis upon which inconsistencies in the General Plan are resolved (values listed are of equal importance):

  • Respect Character and Culture – Enhance and protect Scottsdale’s unique features, neighborhood identity, character, livability, southwestern heritage, and tourism through appropriate land uses and high standards for design. Create vibrant and attractive places that accommodate a variety of ages and incomes and support the arts and multi-cultural traditions.
  • Conserve and Preserve the Environment – Lead the region in the stewardship and effective management of the Sonoran Desert environment and conservation of natural resources and open spaces for the visual, physical, and personal enrichment of everyone.
  • Collaborate and Engage – Promote strong, visionary leadership that is transparent, responsive, and efficient; collaborates regionally; respects and honors our community values; recognizes the benefit of interactive community involvement and volunteerism; and embraces citizens as active partners in decisions that affect their neighborhoods and city.
  • Foster Well-Being – Promote a culture of life-long physical and mental health, safety, and well-being for residents, visitors, employers, and employees.
  • Connect the Community – Connect all community members across geographic, cultural and generational boundaries by cultivating a welcoming environment; respecting human dignity; recognizing and embracing citywide and regional diversity; and striving for cost-effective, adaptable, and innovative mobility options.
  • Revitalize Responsibly – Vigorously evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of decisions to ensure that development and redevelopment support and maintain the unique features and identity that make Scottsdale special, and contribute positively to the community’s physical, fiscal and economic needs and high quality of life.
  • Advance Innovation and Prosperity – Embrace a diverse, and innovative economy to sustain our high quality of life through a variety of businesses, health and research institutions, and educational, technological, tourism and cultural elements.

If you can restore the confidence of the people in the governance of the city you will have accomplished quite a bit, but that means dealing with the infrastructure funding in a way the people feel there are no hidden agendas. And if you can convince leadership that having and following a plan for future development is better than here, there, and everywhere, it would go a long way.

One last thing, the Town Hall that created the 2035 visions and values, had folks from all over the city, all socio-economic levels, from McKellips Road to the Road to Bartlett Lake, students, and small business people who live here too and retirees new to our city and those who have lived here for decades. It was multicultural, multigenerational and all took the job seriously. Wish leadership did.

Editor’s Note: Nancy Cantor is a resident of Scottsdale

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