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Wash Modification

Process begins with

Sample of Application
for Wash Modification
Application Form

Key Resources


Floodplain & Stormwater
Management Ordinance

Scenic Corridor
Design Guidelines

Sensitive Design Program

Plan Review Resources

The goal of the ESL Ordinance is to leave washes in place and in natural conditions where practical. When necessary, modifications to natural watercourses and all walls and fences crossing natural watercourses shall be designed in accordance with the standards and policies specified in Chapter 37 of the City of Scottsdale Revised Code - Floodplain and Stormwater regulation, and the city’s Design Standards and Policy Manual (DS&PM).

An application for wash modification may be granted by the Zoning Administrator subject to approval of the design solution for the drainage facilities and subject to the finding that the purpose of the ESL overlay district (Section 6.1011) has been achieved. However, in no event shall the provisions of this section require greater area Natural Area Open Space (NAOS) dedication than are currently required by Section 6.1060 A, B, and C of this ordinance.

Wash Modifications will only be granted if the applicant complies with all of the following criteria:

  • Proposed modifications result in an equal or enhanced quality of open space

  • Modifications include restoration of the watercourse with vegetation of the same type and density removed

  • If the wash being redirected or modified, the wash must enter and exit the site at the historic locations, and the result of the modifications shall not impact drainage considerations for adjacent properties

  • If the wash is being diverted into a structural solution (e.g. underground pipe), the change must not impact the drainage conditions on adjacent properties and shall not reduce the integrity of any upstream or downstream corridor as meaningful open space

Applications must include a description of alternative watercourse management / engineering techniques considered for the site.


For more information on the ESLO Wash Modifications process and procedures, call 480-312-7800 or e-mail planninginfo@scottsdaleaz.gov .