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Scenic Corridors - Policy Summary

Where is the full policy located?

Process Pyramid Illustration

What is it?Scenic Corridors - Map of Applicable Areas  (Click to View Larger Image)

Scenic Corridors are major thoroughfares designated by the General Plan to have scenic desert landscape setbacks, providing a sense of openness for the community. They preserve the natural setting, provide views of nearby landforms, visually link to vista corridors along major washes, and buffer adjacent land uses from traffic.  Scenic Corridors visually have the following components:  

  • Right of Way (the roadway)
  • Scenic Desert Landscape Setback (along the roadway)
  • Development Edges at Scenic Setback
  • Regional Feature Crossings and Intersections

The Design Guidelines provide an outline of the city's design expectations for all designated Scenic Corridors.

Where does it apply?

  • Carefree Highway
    (W from Scottsdale Rd - City's W Boundary: 2 mi.)
  • Cave Creek Road
    (NE of Pima Rd - City's NE boundary: 3.5 mi.)
  • Dynamite Boulevard
    (E from 56th St - City's E boundary: 10.5 mi.)
  • Pima Road
    (N of 101-Loop - Cave Creek RD: 11 mi.)
  • Scottsdale Road
    (N from Frank Lloyd Wright - Carefree Highway: 11 mi.)
  • Shea Boulevard
    (Pima Freeway E - City's E boundary: 9 mi.)

Who needs to use it?

All participants in the development process: citizens, policy makers, design professionals, and developers.

Why was it developed?

  • To preserve or restore the natural desert setting along the roadway
  • To buffer the landowners from adverse affects of adjacent roadway traffic
  • To provide travelers with views of nearby mountains, washes and other natural features
  • For connectivity of pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle ways buffered from traffic by a desert setting
  • To support our economic tourism industry's image by providing passages displaying our lush Sonoran Desert.

Key Points:

  1. Scenic Desert Landscape Setback-- Minimum 100' from back of Right of Way. Exceptions may apply to single family residential.
  2. Scenic Desert Landscape Setback secured by easement through development process. Easement to include non-vehicular access for trial/path/walk.
  3. No development improvements in Scenic Desert Landscape Setback
  4. Any required improvements (civil/safety/etc.) designed to blend into and mitigate impact on natural desert (consistent with Concepts of the Great Sonoran & Sensitive Design Principles).
  5. Utilities preferred underground. Above grade street hardware/related components follow designated material/color palate.
  6. Scenic Desert Landscape Setback may be counted as required open space and in most cases as N.A.O.S.
  7. Multi-use paths/walks/trails are to run through Scenic Desert Landscape Setback buffered a minimum of 10' from roadway and should return to road at all intersections, drives and transit stops.
  8. Two allowed landscape characters a) Preserved Natural or Revegetated to natural state 2) Structured use of natural desert plant pallet for commercial- high activity areas.
  9. No detention basins in scenic easement. Drainage facilities limited to regional flows.
  10. Development edge (walls and buildings) should be low rolling horizontally and vertically with the topography. Materials and colors of deep tones and textures to blend into desert.

References and related documents: