Draft Character & Design

Scottsdale’s current Character & Design Element (PDF/7mb/17pps) was ratified as part of the City of Scottsdale General Plan 2001. The Scottsdale General Plan 2014 Task Force members utilized this document to create the Draft Character & Design Element (PDF/497kb/7pps) that will be incorporated into the draft SGP2014. This survey serves as means for you to give your input on the draft Charcter & Design Element.

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Draft Character & Design Element
Please read the Character & Design Element Introduction and Goals and Policies below, then rate and/or comment on each.
INTRODUCTION Scottsdale residents and visitors place extraordinary value on the diverse character and unique design qualities of our Sonoran Desert community. Each neighborhood setting holds an important image that, when grouped together, complete the Scottsdale mosaic. Whether in urban, suburban, rural, or native desert settings, the community as a whole provides a broad palette of experiences, visual expressions, and quality design.
Scottsdale’s rich heritage of quality design is a product of proactive plans, policies, standards, and review processes. Examples of this focus on character and design include a strong sign ordinance, the Development Review Board, landscaping standards, Natural Area Open Space (NAOS) requirements, the Indian Bend Wash greenbelt, scenic corridors, and the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO). Each represents creative and inspired solutions to community design opportunities and issues.
Good design sensitively responds to and strikes a balance among the character of the surrounding natural and built settings, as well as, the multitude of excellent regional, historical, cultural, and environmental resources. The beauty of our natural features, including the Sonoran Desert, mountains, and desert washes, provide a unique backdrop to the community, while well-designed neighborhoods, distinctive shopping areas and businesses, recreational and cultural facilities and the public realm combine to make a community that is attractive, desirable, and memorable.
The goals and policies of the Character and Design Element focus on the important aspects, connections, transitions and blending of character to ensure that our community continues to evolve as an integrated mosaic.
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GOAL CD 1 Determine the appropriateness of all development in terms of community goals, surrounding area character, and context.
POLICIES CD 1.1 New and revitalized development should respond to the regional, citywide, and neighborhood contexts in terms of: [] Scottsdale’s southwestern, Sonoran Desert characteristics, such as climate, native vegetation, topography, and history/culture. [] Scottsdale as a part of a larger metropolitan area with a unique image, character and identity within the regional setting. [] Relationships and sensitivity to surrounding land forms, land uses and transportation corridors. [] Compatibility with and sensitive integration into established neighborhood character. [] Contributions to citywide linkages of open space, growth and activity areas. [] Contributions to high-quality habitation, human well-being and life enrichment. [] Contributions to creation of new or reinvention of the existing character of an area, when necessary.
[] Physical scale relating to human experience. [] Visual impacts upon and accessibility to public settings, significant natural features and neighboring properties. [] Impacts on and sensitivity to the natural environment [] Public buildings and facilities that demonstrate these concepts and lead by example.
CD 1.2 Encourage projects that are responsive to the natural environment, climate, site conditions, and unique character of each neighborhood.
CD 1.3 (NEW) Tall buildings should demonstrate exemplary architectural quality, complement the skyline, incorporate human-scale qualities, and respond to the character of an area.
CD 1.4 Because character can cross land uses and include diverse community regions, ensure that all development is a part of and contributes to established or planned Character Types, which describe the pattern and intensity of development. The following general Character Types are found in our community:
[] URBAN CHARACTER TYPES consist of higher-density residential, non-residential, and mixed-use neighborhoods. These districts include apartments, high-density townhouses, commercial and employment centers, and resorts. Development in urban character types should have a pedestrian orientation with shade, activity nodes and useable open spaces that encourage interaction among people. Examples include Downtown Scottsdale, a mixed-use center comprised of distinct urban neighborhoods and the Resort Corridor with a concentration of major resorts and supporting uses along Scottsdale Road near Downtown.
[] EMPLOYMENT CORES are primary employment centers for the city. These areas are generally concentrated in the Greater Airpark, a mixed-use employment core with primary freeway corridor access. Employment cores support a wide range of activities, such as aviation, light-industrial, and regional and community level employment uses. These areas consist of multi-functional buildings with form following function, with emphasis on technology and corporate character.
[] SUBURBAN/SUBURBAN DESERT CHARACTER TYPES contain medium-density neighborhoods that include a variety of residential, commercial, employment centers and resorts. A wide variety of recreational and leisure opportunities are also integrated into the fabric of these areas. Pedestrian and bicycle linkages weave these neighborhoods together to create a livable community. The physical character of these districts varies widely throughout the community and is based on period of construction, surrounding topography, and natural features.
[] TOURISM/RECREATION AREAS consist of major natural and developed open spaces and recreational amenities located primarily along the Central Arizona Project (CAP) aqueduct corridor. The character of developments in these areas should accentuate the open space and resort-like amenities located within and surrounding the area. Existing facilities include, but are not limited to, the Tournament Players Club (TPC) golf courses, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, WestWorld Equestrian Park, and Taliesin West.
[] RESORT VILLAGES are concentrations of major resort facilities and master-planned communities with high-amenity tourist and residential accommodations, as well as, a variety of quality office, specialty retail, recreation uses, and employment.
[] RURAL/RURAL DESERT CHARACTER TYPES contain relatively low-density and large lot development, including horse privilege neighborhoods and low-density resorts, as well as, areas with particularly sensitive and unique natural environments. These areas provide a rural lifestyle that emphasizes preservation of the desert and equestrian character. The identity and natural desert character of this Character Type should be strengthened and maintained by: [] Preventing encroachment of nonconforming land uses and incompatible architectural styles; [] Protecting open spaces and vistas; [] Encouraging conservation of desert vegetation in common open space areas or individual lots; and [] Minimizing development impacts on the desert through clustering, preserving washes and natural drainage corridors, responding to topography, building low-profile structures, and using natural buffers (e.g. discouraging walls).
[] ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LANDS AND NATIVE DESERT CHARACTER TYPES include areas within the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO) overlay zoning district, as well as major protected desert areas. Sensitive areas in these Character Types should ultimately be preserved as natural open space, and all areas will follow the regulations of ESLO.
[] DESERT DISTRICTS include areas of all Character Types in the ESLO overlay zoning district, and may include areas with significant environmental amenities or hazards. Special care should be taken to minimize the impacts of development in these districts.
[] NATIVE DESERT AND MOUNTAIN DISTRICTS include the McDowell and Continental Mountains, as well as the mountainous regions of northern Scottsdale. These areas are characterized by steep mountainsides, boulder features, mountain peaks and ridges, and incised washes. Development regulations should offer incentives to preserve land in these areas and to transfer any allowable density to adjacent land containing few environmental constraints. Any development permitted in this district should be low-density and special care should be taken to minimize the impacts of development on the natural character of the land. Low impact recreational opportunities may be considered for these areas, including hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails.
These districts also include Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which possesses outstanding scenic value; valuable wildlife habitat and migration routes; lush desert vegetation; significant environmental conditions, such as sensitive desert washes, riparian areas, and mountain peaks and valleys; archaeological and historic sites; and opportunities for appropriate passive recreation in designated areas.
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GOAL CD 2 Continue to develop, maintain and refine Character Areas and Character Area Plans to ensure that quality of development and consistency of character are provided for, within the context of community-wide goals.
POLICIES CD 2.1 Identify and set goals for the potential physical, economic, social and/or lifestyle attributes in certain portions of the city through Character Area Planning, and implement strategies suited to the needs and opportunities for each area.
CD 2.2 Prioritize the development and updating of Character Area Plans.
CD 2.3 Character Area Plans should address “edges,” places where two Character Areas meet or places where Scottsdale’s boundaries abut other governmental jurisdictions, to ensure compatible transitions of character and connections.
CD 2.4 Ensure the involvement and participation of the Character Area’s residents, businesses and property owners in the planning and implementation process.
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GOAL CD 3 Foster quality design that enhances Scottsdale as a unique southwestern desert community through prudent development review.
POLICIES CD 3.1 Strengthen the development review process to improve the design quality of all proposed development, in terms of contextual character, durability, and site planning.
CD 3.2 Recognize that Scottsdale’s economic and environmental well-being depends a great deal upon the distinctive character and natural attractiveness of the community, which are based in part on good site planning and aesthetics in the design and development review process. These characteristics contribute substantially to the community’s potential as a recreational resort area and regional trade center.
CD 3.3 Continue to use existing and adopt new comprehensive polices, guidelines and design standards for use in the design and development review process, to ensure that public and private development responds to and enhances the diverse character and contexts within our Sonoran Desert community.
CD 3.4 Support development that respects and enhances the unique climate, topography, site conditions, vegetation, culture and historical context of Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert environment, all of which are considered amenities that help sustain our human habitat.
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GOAL CD 4 Enhance the design of the public realm, streets and public spaces as critical components of Scottsdale’s visual quality and experience, Sonoran Desert context, social life and human habitat.
POLICIES CD 4.1 (NEW) Contribute to the character of street frontages through improvements to the public realm, including, but not limited to, landscaping, street furniture, lighting, universal accessibility, public art, heritage markers, sidewalks and multi-use paths.
CD 4.2 Promote contextually compatible streetscapes that correspond with the following classifications:
[] URBAN STREETSCAPES encourage pedestrian comfort, safety, and accessibility through the use of decorative elements, such as arcade-covered walkways, shade, pedestrian lighting, decorative paving and street crossings, transit shelters, street furniture, waste receptacles and landscaping. Urban Streetscapes strive for equality among pedestrians, bicyclists and automobiles in the design of the public realm.
[] SUBURBAN STREETSCAPES strive to achieve compatibility and safety between automobile traffic, neighborhood amenities (schools and parks), pedestrians, bicyclists, and recreational activities through the use of landscape areas of sidewalk alignment, and incorporation of a broad tree canopy.
[] TRANSITIONAL STREETSCAPES serve as buffers between traffic and adjacent land uses in medium to low intensity development areas. These streetscapes incorporate native plants or desert-adaptable plants and non-motorized pathways, as well as, existing natural features and contextual character of the immediate area incorporated into the design.
[] NATURAL STREETSCAPES embody the natural state of the Sonoran Desert environment, to the greatest extent possible, while incorporating non-motorized paths in the public realm. Native plants and plant densities should maintain a buffer with adjacent uses, protect views, and preserve rural and desert contexts.
CD 4.3 Blend different streetscape categories where they join, in order to prevent a marked difference between opposing sides of streets.
CD 4.4 Establish new and maintain existing guidelines and policies for the design and maintenance of Visually Significant Roadways and major city streets, including Scenic Corridors, Buffered Roadways, Desert Scenic Roadways (in ESLO districts) and roadways with specific design themes, that celebrate the distinct areas of Scottsdale, while blending together to create a unified identity for Scottsdale.
CD 4.5 Form and implement policies to guide landscape maintenance and infrastructure placement in the public rights-of-way and easements in a manner consistent with the desired streetscape character.
CD 4.6 Retain mature trees in public rights-of-way to preserve shade and the character of the street.
CD 4.7 Identify and establish consistent entrances to Scottsdale and, as appropriate, key gateways to neighborhoods and Character Areas so that residents and visitors have a sense of arrival into the city and prominent/special areas within the community.
CD 4.8 (NEW) Establish and enhance the visual identity of Scottsdale’s developed open space corridors through design features that distinguish them from other corridors, improvements to wayfinding, and the creation of visually and physically penetrable access.
CD 4.9 Ensure that the streets designated as Visually Significant are sensitively integrated into the natural desert setting and the integrity of their setbacks is preserved.
CD 4.10 Ensure environmental sensitivity and consideration of aesthetics in the design and retrofit of mobility systems, infrastructure and public facilities. (e.g. the Loop 101/Pima Freeway was redesigned and implemented by Scottsdale to include public art when the original design was to be without art or aesthetic treatment).
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GOAL CD 5 Recognize the value and visual significance that landscaping has upon the character of the community, and maintain standards that result in substantial, mature landscaping that reinforces the character of the city.
POLICIES CD 5.1 Require the provision of substantial landscape improvements as part of new development, redevelopment, and capital projects.
CD 5.2 Maintain the landscaping materials and density pattern of plant materials within Character Areas.
CD 5.3 Use landscaping to reduce the effects of reflective heat and glare on buildings and paved surfaces, thus improving the overall comfort and quality of the built environment.
CD 5.4 To the greatest extent possible, retain mature landscape plant materials.
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GOAL CD 6 Minimize the impacts of light and noise pollution.
POLICIES CD 6.1 Support Scottsdale’s designation as an Outdoor Light Control City by reducing light pollution, glare, and light trespass where feasible, while still addressing public safety needs.
CD 6.2 Encourage creative and high-quality designs for outdoor lighting that reflect the character of the local context.
CD 6.3 Discourage lighting that reduces the viability of astronomical observation facilities within Arizona.
CD 6.4 (NEW) Integrate noise considerations into the planning process of future developments, and implement noise abatement techniques through design, compatible land use, and other sound reduction methods.
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If there are additional Character & Design Goals and Policies that you feel should be added, please list them in the box below.
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