Scottsdale General Plan


The General Plan is the primary tool for guiding the future of the city. It contains the community’s goals and policies on character and design, land use, open space and the natural environment, business and economics, neighborhood vitality, transportation and growth. It shapes the physical form of the city, yet it also addresses other aspects, such as community services, protection of desert and mountain lands, and the character of neighborhoods.

The General Plan provides a guide for day-to-day, short- and long-term decision making. Scottsdale’s General Plan has three interrelated roles:

  • It is an expression of the community vision, aspirations, values, and goals;
  • It is a decision-making guide; and
  • It fulfills State and City Charter legal requirements.

The current General Plan (Scottsdale General Plan 2001) was adopted by City Council on October 30, 2001 and ratified by the Scottsdale voters in March 2002, per state statute requirements.

Scottsdale General Plan - 2001

Desert Sunrise

2001 Scottsdale General Plan
PDF 28mb

The General Plan varies from the structure outlined in state law. Some of the state mandated elements have been combined and some have been expanded beyond what is required by the state. The Scottsdale General Plan also includes three community created elements: Character and Design, Economic Vitality, and Community Involvement. As such, City of Scottsdale General Plan 2001 is divided into twelve elements which contain the city's goals and policies on each of the various subjects covered within the plan.

General Plan goals and policies 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.


Scottsdale General Plan 2001

Character and Design Element (PDF)


The Character and Design Element focuses on character and quality of design throughout the community. It covers streetscape design, the review process for development design, historic and archeological preservation, and the role of art in defining the city’s character. This element is a community created element.

Element Graphics:

Character Types Map (PDF)

Character Areas Map (PDF)

Streetscape Map (PDF)

Related References:

Land Use Element (PDF)


The Land Use Element establishes the general polices for the types and location of land uses throughout the city. The policies within the Land Use Element focus on three distinctive but interrelated levels: regional relationships, citywide relationships, and local relationships. The Land Use Element also contains the General Plan amendment criteria as mandated by State Statute.

Element Graphic:

Conceptual Land Use map (PDF 8mb)

Amendment Criteria:

Major General Plan Amendment Criteria (PDF 11.1mb)

Related References:

Economic Vitality Element (PDF)


The Economic Vitality Element addresses policies to better evaluate decisions and encourage economic development that will sustain the community. The Element has been prepared to ensure that the needs of Scottsdale's residential neighborhoods are balanced with those of its business community. The goals emphasize compatibility, diversity, growth, and flexibility. This Economic Vitality Element acknowledges the economic factors that strongly influence the future well being of the community and its current and future neighborhoods and residents. This element is a community created element.

Related References:

Community Involvement Element (PDF)


Public participation is an important component of successful planning and community building and decision making. The goals and strategies included in the Community Involvement Element are meant to serve as suggestions for ways to effectively inform and involve the community in city-related discussions and decision-making processes. This element is a community created element.

Related References:

Housing Element (PDF)


Since incorporating in 1951, Scottsdale's housing and neighborhoods have shifted and evolved in response to marketplace trends and family lifestyles. Over time, the demographics of the community have changed and land identified for housing development has become increasingly limited. The Housing Element focuses on the revitalization and preservation of mature housing neighborhoods, seeks creative infill development strategies, and encourages a diversity of housing that accommodates a variety of income levels, households, and socioeconomic needs. This element is a State Statutes-mandated element.

Related References:

Neighborhoods Element (PDF)


Scottsdale is a maturing city with diverse and unique neighborhoods that vary in age, size, character, and composition. As Scottsdale matures, the city must continue to look at preserving and enhancing its built environment. The Neighborhoods Element contains goals and policies that seek to preserve, revitalize, and promote the redevelopment and reinvestment in Scottsdale's mature neighborhoods. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

Related References:

  • Neighborhood Planning
  • The Los Arcos Redevelopment Plan (1996)  (PDF)
  • Historic Preservation
  • Sensitive Design
  • Green Building Program
  • Neighborhood Assemblage Policy (1989)  (PDF)
  • Open Space and Recreation Element (PDF)


    The Open Space and Recreation Element establishes a set of integrated visions, values, goals and implementation strategies that guide decision-making and lead the provision of a comprehensive open space system and recreational plan. Furthermore, this element represents an important step in the city's continuing effort to enhance the public's ability and opportunities to enjoy recreation in Scottsdale. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

    Element Graphics:

    Related References:

    Scenic Corridors & Streetscapes

    Preservation & Environmental Planning Element (PDF)


    Scottsdale citizens have often affirmed that one of the community's highest priorities is preserving and protecting the environment. The Preservation and Environmental Planning Element translates the values and vision of the community into a set of goals to achieve an environmentally sustainable community. This element infuses the importance of environmental sensitivity into the city's planning efforts and the goals and approaches are outlined to ensure that environmental stewardship occurs in a way that is beneficial for economic development and tourism, while maintaining a high quality of life for citizens. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

    Element Graphic:

    Related References:

    Office of Environmental Initiatives

    Cost of Development Element (PDF)


    The city of Scottsdale has long held the philosophy that new development should "pay for itself" and not burden existing residents and property owners with the provision of infrastructure and public services and facilities. The Cost of Development Element seeks to identify the fiscal impacts created by new development and determine how costs will be equitably distributed. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

    Related References:

    Growth Areas Element (PDF)


    The Growth Areas Element approaches growth management from a perspective of identifying those areas of the community that are most appropriate for development focus. Growth Areas allow for the accommodation of future growth and increased focus on creating or enhancing transportation systems and infrastructure coordinated with development activity. This element is a State Statute-mandated element. 

    Element Graphic:

    Related References:

    Download Public Services & Facilities Element (PDF)


    Public services and facilities represent the public's investment in the design, development and delivery of the complex package of service systems and programs, and the physical facilities required to satisfy the needs of a growing community. Public services and facilities are the most visible of the city's functions, and is where the city's operations "touch" the most people. The Public Services and Facilities Element provides broad guidance about the provision of community services and physical facilities for the city of Scottsdale in keeping with governmental roles of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the community. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

    Related References:

    Reference Maps:

    Community Mobility Element (PDF)


    The Community Mobility Element concentrates on providing safe, efficient and accessible choices for the movement of people, goods, and information. This element recognizes the role of the automobile, but expands the field of mobility to fully integrate non-automotive modes while recognizing the inter-relationships among transportation, land use, and neighborhoods. This element is a State Statute-mandated element.

    Element Graphic:

    Related References:

    General Plan Amendments

    The General Plan is designed to be a broad, flexible, living document that is legally amendable. There are many decisions and events that compel it to respond to the changing conditions, needs, and desires of the community. It can be revised through city-initiated amendments, through citizen/property owner requests, or through referenda (citizen petition and vote). Ultimately, the decision to amend the General Plan is in the hands of the City Council.

    General Plan Amendments

    General Plan Annual Reports

    Contact Information

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

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

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