City Council Adopted Scottsdale General Plan 2035

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Phase 5 - Review the City Council Adopted Plan FAQ

What's New

At its June 22nd Council Meeting, the City Council called for a Special Election by Mail for November 2, 2021 related to Scottsdale’s General Plan (Proposition 463). In this election, Scottsdale voters will decide whether to ratify a new General Plan for Scottsdale entitled “Scottsdale General Plan 2035.”

Download & Review the City Council Adopted Scottsdale General Plan 2035


The current Scottsdale General Plan was adopted in 2001 and ratified by the voters in 2002. The Plan defines the community’s goals for growth, development, character, mobility and a variety of other community aspects. Per State Statute, the city is required to update and ratify the General Plan every ten (10) years.

Under the direction of the City Manager, and as approved by City Council, a thirteen (13) member General Plan Update Citizen Review Committee (CRC) was formed to update the Scottsdale General Plan. The CRC was a group made up of representatives from each of the city boards and commissions that has related content in the General Plan. Throughout 2020 the CRC reviewed and updated General Plan, utilizing the 2014 Task Force recommended draft General Plan 2035 as the baseline plan to complete such.

The next phase of the General Plan update process, the state-mandated public hearing process, began in January 2021. Between January and June of 2021, the updated draft General Plan was required to meet all of the public hearing state statute requirements, which included, but was not limited to, enhanced public outreach citywide, presentations to boards and commissions that have General Plan related content, Planning Commission study sessions, a remote Planning Commission hearing, a regular Planning Commission recommendation hearing, City Council work study sessions, and a City Council hearing on June 8, 2021 in which City Council adopted the Plan. 

Consequently, the City Council adopted plan is now available for public review, within the Phase 5 portion of the update process, noted below.

Contact Information

City of Scottsdale - General Plan
P: 480-312-3111

Erin Perreault, AICP
Long Range Planning Director
P: 480-312-7093

Adam Yaron
Principal Planner
P: 480-312-2761

Taylor Reynolds
Project Coordination Liaison
P: 480-312-7924

Process Status

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 4
Phase 5

Phase 1 - Data Collection & Analysis (Completed)

The initial stage of the plan update process included reviewing related studies, plans, policies, and existing conditions. This phase was completed in November 2019.

Phase 2 - City Staff Technical Advisory Committee Review (Completed)

During this phase, an interdepartmental city staff team reviewed the draft 2035 Plan. This team of city staff, who have expertise in subjects specific to General Plan content, made recommendations to add new or update plan content since the draft 2035 Plan was 5+ years old. Staff suggestions for the plan were discussed and considered for inclusion by the Citizen Review Committee.

Phase 3 - Citizen Review Committee (Completed)

A General Plan citizen group was formed, made up of representatives from each of the city boards and commissions that has related content in the General Plan. From March through December 2020, the CRC reviewed the full draft General Plan 2035. This Phase was completed on December 14, when the CRC approved a final draft General Plan 2035 to be sent to the community, city boards and commissions, Planning Commission, and City Council to consider.

Phase 4 - State Statute Required Public Hearing Process (Completed)

The draft plan made its way through a six-month State Statutes required public hearing process that included extensive public involvement, input from city boards and commissions, along with multiple Planning Commission and City Council hearings. City Council adopted Scottsdale General Plan 2035 on June 8, 2021 at their regular meeting.

Phase 5 - Voter Ratification (November 2021)

At its June 22nd Council Meeting, the City Council called for a Special Election by Mail for November 2, 2021 related to Scottsdale’s General Plan (Proposition 463). In this election, Scottsdale voters will decide whether to ratify a new General Plan for Scottsdale entitled “Scottsdale General Plan 2035.”

The City Council adopted, "Scottsdale General Plan 2035" is provided in the following section in full and as drop-down sections, providing you multiple ways to review the Plan.

Download & Review the City Council Adopted Scottsdale General Plan 2035

Download Character & Design Element

The goals and policies of the Character & Design Element focus on the important aspects, connections, transitions, and blending of character that ensure our community evolves as an integrated mosaic. Topics covered in this element include development appropriateness, character types, Character Area Planning, design, public spaces, landscaping, light and noise pollution, and western and equestrian lifestyle.

Download Land Use Element

The goals and policies of the Land Use Element reflect careful consideration for the types and locations of defined land uses and delineate the criteria that are carefully considered when contemplating a change in Land Use Category (General Plan Amendment Criteria). Topics covered in this element include land use transitions, land use balance, resource conservation, land use and transportation, airport compatibility, the Future Land Use Map, and General Plan Amendment Criteria.

Download General Plan Amendment Criteria

Arizona Revised Statutes require each city to establish General Plan Amendment Criteria to determine if a proposed change to the General Plan Land Use Element qualifies as a ‘Major’ Amendment. Per State Statute, a ‘Major’ Amendment is defined as a “substantial alteration of the municipality’s land use mixture or balance, as established in the municipality’s existing General Plan Land Use Element.”

Download Arts, Culture & Creative Community Element

The goals and policies of the Arts, Culture & Creative Community Element speak to the important role that arts, culture and the creativity will continue to play in the city’s future. Scottsdale will build on its authentic cultural experiences, innovative programs, and competitive regional standing in arts and culture. Topics covered in this element include regional cultural standing, arts and culture programming, historic preservation, and the creative community.

Download Open Space Element

As stewards of parks and open spaces, the city is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and a higher-level of livability by providing safe, accessible, and attractive outdoor space. Scottsdale will respect and sustainably manage its open space resources. The Open Space Element covers topics such as open space types, the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and open space management.

Download Environmental Planning Element

The city’s natural environment includes both the ecological systems that sustain Sonoran Desert vegetation and wildlife, as well as other elements that provide clean air and water, protect the community from hazards, and create a beautiful and enjoyable setting. The Environmental Planning Element provides goals and policies for protecting and enhancing the quality of Scottsdale’s natural and human habitats for future generations. Topics covered in this element include Sonoran Desert habitat protection, air quality, recycling, green building, and water quality.

Download Conservation Element

Scottsdale is active in, and continually improves efforts to safeguard its natural and man-made resources—from wildlife habitat to watersheds. The Conservation Element guides Scottsdale’s resource conservation efforts to provide a healthy and diverse environment for current and future generations. Topics covered in this element include natural resource management, water conservation, stormwater management, and biodiversity.

Download Water Resources Element

Conservation of our most precious asset, water, occurs through decreasing use, reducing waste, and maximizing its efficient use on a daily basis. The Water Resources Element ensures that Scottsdale continues to provide safe, reliable, and quality drinking water to the community. Topics covered in this element include long-term water supply and drought preparation.

Download Energy Element

The goals and policies of the Energy Element seek to balance the energy needs of consumers with the sustainability of the community’s renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Topics covered in this element include energy efficiency, city facilities, and renewable energy sources.

Download Community Involvement Element

The Community Involvement Element underscores the importance of community involvement to capture new ways to promote citizen involvement and engage diverse perspectives in decision-making. This element serves as a building-block to strengthen ways to effectively inform and involve the community in discussions and decision-making processes. Topics covered in this element include seeking broad public input, collaborative solutions, and engagement techniques under the umbrella of civil dialogue.

Download Healthy Community Element

The Healthy Community Element seeks to maintain Scottsdale’s leadership role in health and human services, respond to the needs of families, take care of our neighbors and our elders, promote lifelong learning, and provide opportunities for youth to grow and become leaders in the future. Topics covered in this element include healthy food, health and wellness, life-long learning, supporting senior citizens, and diversity and inclusion.

Download Housing Element

Scottsdale is committed to the provision and preservation of housing opportunities to meet the needs of current and future residents. The Housing Element will ensure that future housing options include a wide-range of opportunities for people living and working in Scottsdale, as well as people at different life stages, income levels, and social and physical abilities. Topics covered in this element include housing context and character, fair housing, and housing choices for a variety of needs.

Download Recreation Element

Recreation is a part of Scottsdale’s image, provides social interaction, and promotes community well-being. Through the Recreation Element, the city’s recreational facilities and programs will provide for the leisure and fitness needs of Scottsdale’s current and future generations. Topics covered in this element include quality recreation facilities and programming.

Download Safety Element

Scottsdale is committed to protecting citizens and visitors from conditions, circumstances, and influences that would threaten, disrupt or diminish the quality of their lifestyles. The goals and policies of the Safety Element will ensure that the community is prepared and resilient when faced with disaster, and that our community is safe and enjoyable for all. Topics covered in this element include emergency management, transportation safety, crime prevention, and hazardous materials.

Download Circulation Element

The automobile historically has been the predominant mode of transportation in Scottsdale. However, to match the character and lifestyle of different areas and residents in the community, it is important to diversify the city’s transportation choices. The Circulation Element concentrates on accessibility, connectivity, mobility choices, and the interrelatedness of transportation and land use. Topics covered in this element include safety, multimodal choices, neighborhood needs, and school circulation.

Download Bicycling Element

Scottsdale is recognized as a bicycle-friendly community that actively supports bicycling and encourages residents to use bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation and as part of a healthy lifestyle. The goals and policies of the Bicycling Element provide a guide for safe, connected, and convenient on-street and off-street bicycle networks. Topics covered in this element include bicycle networks, use, and safety.

Download Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Element

As Scottsdale nears build-out, the city needs to preserve and enhance the qualities that make neighborhoods safe, special, and vibrant. The goals and policies of the Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Element recognize that the preservation and revitalization of Scottsdale’s mature neighborhoods is critical to maintaining and strengthening the health, safety, prosperity, and enjoyment of the community. Topics covered in this element include neighborhood identity, homeownership, neighborhood safety, and neighborhood planning.

Download Conservation, Rehabilitation & Redevelopment Element

As a maturing city, it is increasingly important for Scottsdale to focus on the conservation and rehabilitation of mature properties, seek creative infill development strategies, and support context-sensitive redevelopment in areas showing signs of decline. The Conservation, Rehabilitation & Redevelopment Element addresses both “informal” and “formal” redevelopment, recognizing that any “formal” redevelopment must be approved by the City ouncil and conform to Arizona State Statute requirements. Topics covered in this element include context-appropriate redevelopment, economic well-being, and use of redevelopment authority.

Download Growth Areas Element

The Growth Areas Element identifies specific locations that are most appropriate for development focus, can accommodate future growth, or need reinvestment. Scottsdale’s Growth and Activity Areas are intended to direct high-intensity growth and development in certain locations to preserve lower-intensity and open space areas throughout the community. Topics covered in this element include development intensity, multimodal connections, and growth and activity area character.

Download Cost of Development Element

The purpose of the Cost of Development Element is to establish goals and policies that guide the fiscal impacts created by new development or redevelopment with regard to infrastructure and public services, and determine how such impacts will be addressed. Topics covered in this element include development’s contributions to infrastructure and economic sustainability.

Download Public Services & Facilities Element

Scottsdale provides high-quality community services to its residents, businesses, and visitors. The Public Services and Facilities Element provides guidance about the provision of programs, services and physical facilities that serve to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Topics covered in this element include solid waste, utilities, libraries, and community services.

Download Public Buildings Element

Scottsdale acknowledges the vital role that public buildings play in the shaping of community life and seeks to design facilities that represent the community’s special qualities. Libraries, community centers and cultural facilities are investments that contribute to a high quality of life for current and future generations. Topics covered in the Public Buildings Element include public building design and locations.

Download Economic Vitality Element

The city is committed to supporting and expanding its existing economic strengths through continued enhancement and adaptation of Scottsdale’s tourism industry and diversification of the economic base to provide for the future fiscal health of the city, all while protecting the city’s unique southwestern character and quality of life. The goals and policies of the Economic Vitality Element emphasize compatibility, diversity, growth, and flexibility and acknowledge the economic factors that strongly influence Scottsdale’s future well-being. Topics covered in this element include economic resiliency and fiscal sustainability.

Download Tourism Element

Tourism is an integral part of Scottsdale’s identity and economy, and it serves as one of the community’s leading economic engines. The Tourism Element provides goals and policies to further validate Scottsdale as the premier Southwest tourism and special events destination.

Download Education Element

A healthy community and competitive economy are directly based on high quality education. The Education Element provides goals and policies that maintain and enhance lifelong learning opportunities, encourage partnerships between the city and traditional education providers, and further the city's role in supporting a safe, healthy, and positive educational environment that supports a strong workforce, vital vibrant economy, and enhanced quality of live.

Download Implementation Chapter

Establishing the goals and policies of General Plan 2035 is just the first step. The second part of the General Plan is taking action. Initial steps within the Implementation Chapter will include a variety of initiatives, such as the creation of Character Area Plans, to achieve specific goals for particular areas of the community; updates to the Zoning Ordinance to oversee the physical development of the city; Capital Improvement projects for the delivery of public services; and a multitude of other short- mid- and long-term programs.

Scottsdale General Plan 2035 – FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions related to the General Plan and update process.

The General Plan is an expression of community vision, aspirations, values and goals. It is a short- and long-term decision-making guide to achieve the vision, and it fulfills State and City Charter legal requirements. The goals and policies in the General Plan are implemented through ordinances, regulations, ongoing procedures, recommendations from City boards and commissions, and decisions made by the City Council. The General Plan is also carried out by private actions and initiatives in the community

Some of the most recognizable applications of the General Plan include the City’s physical development, road expansions or abandonments, neighborhood revitalization projects, preservation efforts, capital improvements, fiscal planning, budgeting and project funding, and recreation facilities.

Arizona law requires that communities adopt a General Plan and outlines the content the plan must contain. The most current Scottsdale General Plan was adopted in 2001 and ratified by the voters in 2002.


On June 8, 2021, the Scottsdale City Council adopted a new General Plan for the City, entitled "Scottsdale General Plan 2035." State law requires Scottsdale voters to ratify (“approve”) this Plan before it can become effective.

The “Scottsdale General Plan 2035” would serve as the community’s new vision and guide for future physical, economic, and social development. The “Scottsdale General Plan 2035,” if approved by the voters, will replace the existing 2001 Scottsdale General Plan that was last approved by the voters in 2002.

While not required by State statute, the Scottsdale General Plan has included community-created elements since the creation, adoption, and ratification of its 2001 General Plan. Community-created elements are content in the General Plan that have been identified, through the public outreach process, as important to Scottsdale community members. Since 2001, the Scottsdale General Plan has incorporated Character and Design, Community Involvement and Economic Vitality as community-created elements. Scottsdale General Plan 2035 retains these three elements from the 2001 Plan and adds four new community-created elements - Arts, Culture and Creative Community, Healthy Community, Tourism, and Education.

State-mandated elements are plan sections that are required by State law, to be included in city and town General Plans. State statutes outline specific content to be included within each element. The following state-mandated elements are required to be in the Scottsdale General Plan 2035: Land Use, Open Space, Environmental Planning, Conservation, Water Resources, Energy, Housing, Recreation, Safety, Circulation, Bicycling, Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization, Conservation, Rehabilitation & Redevelopment, Growth Areas, Cost of Development, Public Services & Facilities, and Public Buildings.

Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes [A.R.S.] Section 9-461.05.C) provides that: "The general plan shall consist of a statement of community goals and development policies. The plan shall include maps, any necessary diagrams and text setting forth objectives, principles, standards and plan proposals." Additionally, state law (A.R.S. Section 9-461.05.A) requires that each city adopt a comprehensive, long-range General Plan to guide the development of the City. The Scottsdale City Charter also requires the City to adopt and from time to time modify a comprehensive plan, such as the General Plan, for the future physical development of the City.

The existing General Plan was last ratified by voters in 2002. The City Charter requires the City to modify its General Plan from time to time and State Law currently requires the City to adopt a new General Plan or readopt its current General Plan and send it to the voters for ratification, typically every 10 years.

Yes. Arizona State Statutes require that General Plans be legally amendable, while allowing each municipality to create their own General Plan amendment criteria. Scottsdale General Plan 2035 has specific amendment criteria to guide General Plan amendment cases through the Planning Commission and City Council public hearing processes, per specific State Statute process requirements.

The “Scottsdale General Plan 2035” will not take effect until it is approved by the voters and the Scottsdale City Council has officially canvassed the results of the November 2, 2021 Special Election.

If the voters do not approve the “Scottsdale General Plan 2035,” the existing Scottsdale General Plan 2001 remains in effect until the voters approve a new General Plan.

The “Scottsdale General Plan 2035” is available at the City Clerk's Office in Scottsdale City Hall at 3939 N. Drinkwater Boulevard, and at the Long-Range Planning Department Office at the City’s One Civic Building, located at 7447 East Indian School Road, Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. The “Scottsdale General Plan 2035” is also available for review on the City's website at:

For more information about the “Scottsdale General Plan 2035,” call the City's Long Range Planning Department, at 480-312-7000. For more information about the November 2, 2021 Special Election, call the City Clerk’s Office at 480-312-2411.

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