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Housing Element

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Vision Statement

Scottsdale will be a community that embraces a variety of housing opportunities that enhance the character, diversity, and vitality of the city, as well as respect and conserve our Sonoran desert. Our vision is to incrementally, but steadfastly expand housing opportunities for current and future citizens. This involves fiercely protecting our existing stock of housing inventory, while offering support programs to help with improvements and upkeep. It means ensuring that new housing involving public investment of any kind includes a range of pricing options. It also means encouraging builders through incentives to broaden the spectrum of home options in proposed residential developments. Our vision focuses on the people who occupy housing as much as the product itself. Housing options will include a wide range of opportunities for people living and working in Scottsdale, people at different life stages, income levels, and social and physical needs.


Since incorporating in 1951, Scottsdale's housing and neighborhoods have shifted and evolved in response to marketplace trends and family lifestyles. From the early 1950's through the 1970's, Scottsdale pioneered creative housing solutions in Arizona, such as town home communities for part-time residents and the "live, work and play" master-planned communities like McCormick Ranch. One-mile planning areas with ranch-style homes, schools as the centerpiece of the area and commercial uses at the edges were the norm for development during these decades.

In the early 1980's, Scottsdale annexed approximately 105 square miles of county land zoned for low-density housing. With the new land, low cost of living, and Scottsdale's nationally recognized image as a quality place to live and raise a family, the 1980's and 1990's were a period of planning and vigorous building for the north areas of our city. A number of master-planned communities and custom homes on larger lots were built. By the end of 1999, approximately 80 percent of the residential building permits being issued were for custom homes.

The following table shows population and housing differences between 1960, 1980, and 2000. The estimated buildout population of Scottsdale is expected to be less than 300,000.

  1960 1980 2000 estimate
Population 27,000 88,800 212,980
Housing Units (constructed) 9,800 43,900  106,700
Household size  (people/dwelling unit) 3.60 3.49 2.26  
Median Income $7,300 $21,500 $63,000
Vacancy/Occupancy Rates .85 .90 .88
Home Price (median) $15,800  $60,000 $198,000  

In general, housing in Scottsdale has a higher cost and value than comparable housing in other Valley communities because of the community amenities and quality of life in Scottsdale. While this is beneficial for property and resale values, it makes provision of housing for the full spectrum of Scottsdale's citizens, our service workers, seniors on limited incomes, and citizens with special social or physical needs, more difficult.

The demographics of our community are changing and land identified for housing development is becoming increasingly limited. Now and in the future we will need to focus attention on the revitalization and preservation of our more mature housing neighborhoods, to seek creative infill development strategies and to encourage a diversity of housing that accommodates a variety of income levels, households, and socioeconomic needs.

Scottdale Values ...

  • Housing and neighborhoods that contribute to a sustainable community.
  • A community that contains a broad diversity of owner occupied and rental housing types.
  • A community in which residents can live, work, and play in close proximity and where neighborhoods have easy connections with other neighborhoods and surrounding amenities.
  • Citizen involvement in the preservation and revitalization of Scottsdale neighborhoods.
  • Preservation and development of high quality, safe, and affordable housing to serve the people who live and work here.
  • Housing that is energy efficient, environmentally sensitive, and that blends with the city's natural surroundings.
  • "Life cycle" housing opportunities for people to be able to live in Scottsdale throughout their lives.
  • Participation in regional efforts addressing the region's housing needs.

Goals and Approaches

1.    Preserve the quality of existing dwellings and neighborhoods so that people will find our community a healthy, safe and attractive place to call home today and into the future.

  • Support existing and future housing rehabilitation and neighborhood preservation efforts.
  • Encourage ongoing property maintenance to sustain neighborhood vitality, value, and overall sense of community pride.
  • Seek appropriate resources to revitalize and preserve at-risk single- and multi-family developments.
  • Encourage rehabilitation of historic residential buildings and remodeling of older multi-unit buildings.
  • Continue an active property maintenance, inspection, and code enforcement program in partnership with the community to promote healthy neighborhoods.
  • Leverage state and federal funding opportunities for the preservation of high quality, safe and affordable housing.
  • Analyze city ordinances and policies that affect housing diversity and availability.

2.    Seek a variety of housing options that blend with the character of the surrounding community.

  • Maintain Scottsdale's quality-driven development review standards for new housing development.
  • Encourage physical design, building structure, and lot layout relationships between existing and new construction to help the new developments complement the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Encourage energy efficiency via integration of the city's Green Buildings and Sustainability programs (or future programs) in new housing design.
  • Support community dialogue to reassess and streamline the development review process so as to encourage creative housing designs.
  • Encourage the creation of mixed-use projects as a means to increase housing supply while promoting diversity and neighborhood vitality.
  • Consider incentives that encourage the development of diverse housing types, including smaller, more affordable units.

3.    Seek a variety of housing options that meet the socioeconomic needs of people who live and work here.

  • Encourage and establish appropriate incentives for development of aesthetically pleasing housing that will accommodate a variety of income levels and socioeconomic needs.
  • Support programs that will increase home ownership among entry level and moderate-income households who work in Scottsdale.
  • Find creative solutions to encourage the development of new housing that is more affordable to entry level and moderate-income households for both homeowners and renters.
  • Support reduction of government and regulatory constraints to enhance housing affordability, such as streamlining project coordination and processing time and promoting innovative and creative design.
  • Encourage energy efficiency via integration of city's Green Buildings and Sustainability programs (or future programs) in housing design as a contribution to long-term housing affordability and as a benefit to our environment.
  • Consider incentives that encourage the development of diverse housing types, including smaller, more affordable units.

4.    Encourage housing development that provides for "live, work, and play" relationships as a way to reduce traffic congestion, encourage economic expansion and increase overall quality of life for our residents.

  • Encourage a variety of housing densities throughout Scottsdale, with mixed-uses in areas of major employment and transit hubs, to offer greater live-work choices to a broader economic range of households.
  • Support partnerships whereby builders and/or major employers (in partnership with the city) help provide housing options for Scottsdale's workforce.
  • Encourage the development of work force housing in the new development and expansion of hotels, resorts, and other generators of service-level employment.
  • Support the creation and implementation of policies that encourage employers to assist in meeting employee housing needs.
  • Support the use of future innovations in technology and telecommunications as a way to remain flexible to changing demographics, community profiles and quality of life choices, including opportunities like home based businesses, telecommuting, on-line shopping, etc.
  • Consider a variety of strategies to increase housing intensity and diversity in appropriate locations, such as around commercial areas, near transit centers or major employment.
  • Explore opportunities for new or redeveloped housing to serve the employment base.
  • Encourage housing linked/connected to the city's mobility system.
  • Work to adjust the housing mix based on changing demographics and economics of the city.

5.    Encourage the investment of resources and use of existing and future tools to promote the revitalization of Scottsdale's older neighborhoods and adaptation of dated housing stock.

  • Support policies and programs that provide opportunities for homeowners to update or renovate their homes and examine existing regulations that may be barriers to adaptation of existing homes.
  • Encourage community involvement in the maintenance and enhancement of properties and rights of way in residential neighborhoods.
  • Coordinate city programs dealing with neighborhood enhancement and support activities that work to revitalize neighborhoods.
  • Expect use of relocation benefits to mitigate hardship on individuals and families during redevelopment process relocations.
  • Support policies that seek quality housing with affordability for a wide range of income groups when redeveloping properties.
  • Support proactive communications with affected residents and business owners during the planning and implementation of redevelopment projects.
  • Work to ensure a one-to-one replacement of housing removed by redevelopment projects to maintain long-term housing affordability.

6.    Encourage the increased availability and integration of a variety of housing that supports flexibility, mobility, independent living, and services for all age groups and those with special needs.

  • Encourage the development of a full range of senior housing while also finding ways to incorporate adjacent service facilities, where appropriate.
  • Support efforts to examine city processes and policies to promote opportunities for mixed-use development/structure options.
  • Support existing and future policies and techniques that provide housing opportunities to meet the unique housing needs of young working families, the elderly, and disabled.
  • Encourage links between housing and adjacent uses, such as senior centers, childcare centers, preschools, youth centers, and other community facilities to provide opportunities for inter-generational connections.
  • Integrate elderly and assisted-care facilities into neighborhoods and create connections between residential developments to promote opportunities for inter-generational connections and continuum of care for the elderly.
  • Encourage redevelopment activities that provide opportunities to address housing affordability challenges.
  • Seek opportunities to locate housing for those citizens with special needs, near transportation services that will make their mobility easier.
  • Support existing and future use of federal, state, and local matching funds in partnership with non-profit and social agencies to acquire and rehabilitate multi-family housing in at-risk areas of Scottsdale.
  • Support agencies and organizations that provide shelter, housing, and services.
  • Support housing that includes services and facilities to meet health care, mobility, child or elder care, youth services, recreation, or social service needs of households.
  • Participate actively in identifying regional partners and regional solutions for those special needs that may be most appropriately addressed on a regional basis.

Related Plans and Policies:

  • The Five-year Consolidated plan for the Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • The Agency Plan for the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program
  • The Strategy for the Preservation and Creation of High Quality, Safe and Affordable Housing, July 1999.
  • Green Building Program and Guidelines
  • Great Sonoran Guidelines


  • City of Scottsdale housing statistics and analyses