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Downtown Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines Update


The City has initiated work on a comprehensive analysis and update of the Downtown Plan Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines ("UDAG" or "guidelines") for the purpose of implementing the 2009 Downtown Plan. Originally adopted in 1986, the guidelines are recommendations for site design, building form, architectural and landscape character to assure that new development contributes to Downtown's urban design goals and is compatible with the character of existing downtown districts. They should be used by DRB as they consider the merits of proposed projects and by the developers/land owners who prepare development proposals. They are also useful to the community who may be impacted by a project and wish to comment.

The guidelines establish the City’s design expectation for Downtown influencing the general character of new projects so Downtown will preserve its essential qualities as it develops. Lastly, the guidelines must correlate with the zoning ordinance both informing and supporting its provisions by providing a finer level of detail and discussions not found in the zoning ordinance.

public involvement opportunities

Community involvement and your input in the process are important to a successful outcome. Significant outreach has already occurred on this project in the form of open houses, focus group discussions, testimony at public hearings and numerous other meetings with stakeholder groups and interested individuals.  Going forward, there will be additional opportunities for your participation as a draft of the revised guidelines is completed and distributed.  At any time prior to formal adoption, city staff is available for meeting with interested citizens and with stakeholders who may be directly affected by the guidelines rcommendations.  Upcoming opportunites for further involvement include:

  • DRB Hearing - Anticipated for December 2013 to review draft UDAG.  Details are to be determined and posted in accordance with City policies.
  • Project Open House - Anticipated in January/February to obtain citizen comments.  Details are to be determined and posted in accordance with City policies.
  • DRB Hearing - Anticipated for March 2014.  Results of the open house will be shared with DRB.  Details are to be determined and posted in accordance with City policies.
  • DRB Hearing - DRB adopts UDAG update April/May 2013.  Details are to be determined and posted in accordance with City policies.

Completed Outreach and findings are summarized below:

  • UDAG update kick-off meeting and Open House.  The link below leads to the presentation given at the project kick-off meeting held October 2011.

Public Meeting Presentation (pdf/425kb/9pp/October 2011)

  • Focus Group Meetings - Identified and measured community attitudes and preferences on key downtown design issues directly related to revisions to the Downton Zoning Ordinance and to the UDAG update.  The link below leads to a draft summary of the Focus Group findings. Focus Group Input Summary (pdf/1mb/11pp)  




extended project history


Approval of the UDAG
For the implementation of the !984 Downtown Plan


Visioning processes (City Shape 2020, Scottsdale Visioning) Periodic review affirmation and update of citizen shared values and vision for the community.


Downtown Town Hall  
A community visioning program involving over 100 community members and opinion leaders conducted in anticipation of the 2009 Downtown Plan update.


Downtown Plan Update
A comprehensive update of the 1984 Downtown Plan carry forwards many of the plans concepts and adding new concepts and approaches. Involved over 700 citizens in a series of interactive workshops, open houses and public hearings.


Downtown Task Force Conclusion and Recommendations to City Council 
Citizen Task Force appointed to review the downtown plan and make recommendations on the Plan’s implementation.


Downtown Zoning Ordinance Amendments
Identified by the 2009 Downtown Plan as a priority Implementation program along with the revisions to the UDAG and Plans for Urban Neighborhoods.


Downtown Design Guidelines and Zoning Ordinance Focus Groups
Series of meetings with stakeholder groups where key design issues were discussed.


Open House
Discussion involved project concept, approach, timeline and opportunities for further public involvement.

Dec 2011

Final Draft Completed
Under review by legal staff anticipated adoption Summer 2012

Oct 2011 - ongoing

One-on-one meetings with stakeholders.


Downtown Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment Modifications
Modifications to zoning ordinance provisions related to development wthin the Downtown Area.

Dec 2013

Anticipated UDAG update draft.

Feb 2014

Anticipated Open House
Public comments on draft.

March 2014

Anticipated Development Review Board Hearing

April/May 2014

Anticipated Development Review Board adoption.


Staff Coordinators


The updates are being coordinated by the following staff:

Related resources



If you have any comments or questions on the modifications to the Downtown Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines, submit your comments to planninginfo@scottsdaleaz.gov.


Questions? Contact Current Planning at 480-312-7000.