Old Town Character Plan and Zoning Updates
Self-Guided Open House Series:
The City of Scottsdale has created an online, self-guided open house series that will enable you – as participant – to provide input that will inform updates to the Old Town Character Area Plan and the downtown sections of the Scottsdale Zoning Ordinance. The full video series will consider topics such as, Vision and Values, the provision of quality development, and public open space. Each self-guided open house session includes a presentation and questions for you to consider specific to each topic.
In-Person Open House Report:
The City recently held live open house sessions on October 18th and 25th, and November 15th to discuss the Old Town Character Area Plan and the downtown sections of the Scottsdale Zoning Ordinance. The same content was presented and discussed at all in-person sessions and concerned Downtown Development Types and Development Flexibility. The following report includes the presentation, discussion questions, and summaries of the responses collected from the open house sessions.
On August 24th, 2021, City Council initiated:
- A non-major General Plan amendment to update the Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan (Case 5-GP-2021)
- A text amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance for the Downtown (D), Downtown Overlay (DO), and Planned Block Development (PBD) zoning districts – and other affected sections of the ordinance – as well as the
Downtown Infill Incentive District (Cases 1-TA-2021 and 1-II-2010#3)
Scottsdale City Council adopted the existing Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan (OTSCAP) in 2018. It serves as the long-range plan that guides growth and development in downtown Scottsdale, and incorporates community goals, policies, and an implementation program specific to this area of the community.
Downtown development is regulated by the Downtown (D), Downtown Overlay (DO), and Planned Block Development (PBD) sections of the Scottsdale Zoning Ordinance, the Downtown Infill Incentive District, in conjunction with the Old Town Scottsdale Urban Design & Architectural Guidelines.
Phase 1 – Update Preparation (Complete)
The initial stage of the update process includes the review of existing Old Town Scottsdale policy, regulatory, and design guidelines documents and obtaining additional direction from City Council to help inform the update process. Completion of this phase will inform Phase 2 – Public Outreach.
Phase 2 – Public Outreach & Draft Review (October to December 2021)
During this phase, the project team will provide several opportunities for the public to engage in providing input on Old Town policy, regulatory and design guidelines per City Council direction. Public input received will be summarized, publicly posted, and will inform the creation of draft update amendments to the plan and downtown ordinances.
Phase 3 – Public Hearings/Possible Adoption (January to March 2022)
This phase of the update process will include a series of public, work study session meetings with Planning Commission and City Council to review and provide feedback to staff regarding the draft updates and amendments to the Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan and Downtown sections of the Zoning Ordinance. Phase 3 will conclude with a recommendation by Planning Commission and adoption consideration by City Council. Depending on the plan and ordinance updates adopted by Council, modifications may need to be made to the Old Town Urban Design + Architectural Guidelines, which will be completed through a future public outreach and public hearing process with the Development Review Board.
Old Town - Frequently Asked Questions
The following are frequently asked questions related to the Old Town Scottsdale Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Guidelines update process:
Originally adopted by the City Council in 1984, updated in 2009, and again most recently in 2018, the Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan (formerly Downtown Plan) serves as the comprehensive policy document that guides growth and development decisions for Downtown Scottsdale. The plan contains goals, policies illustrative graphics and suggested projects to articulate and achieve the community’s vision for Old Town Scottsdale.
The Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan is a goal and policy document that helps guide growth and development decisions for downtown. The Downtown sections (Downtown, Downtown Overlay, and Planned Block Development Districts) of the Zoning Ordinance are regulations that provide specific land use and development standards for each property in downtown. These regulatory standards help implement the community’s vision and goals for downtown, as described in the Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan.
The original Old Town Character Area Plan (then Downtown Plan) was adopted in 1984. After 20+ years, the Downtown Plan went through an extensive update in 2009 largely due to the fact that the implementation items under the 1984 Plan had been accomplished. In 2018, the Plan was again updated because the vast majority of implementation items incorporated into the 2009 Plan were achieved. At the same time, a tourism rebranding/renaming of Downtown to Old Town occurred, thus the change from Downtown Plan to Old Town Character Area Plan. The public outreach for updating the Plan in 2018 occurred over a period of nine months, and the updated plan was unanimously adopted by the City Council in July 2018.
On June 22, 2021 City Council requested future public outreach to consider the following (with no priority in the listing):
- The provision of quality new development and redevelopment;
- Development Type designations, locations, and transitions to one another found in the Plan;
- The consideration of development flexibility in the Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Guidelines;
- Re-examination of the use of downtown land use designations, districts, and development types in the Plan and Ordinance;
- The provision of more interconnected, public open space areas in Old Town;
- Providing stronger development requirements in the Zoning Ordinance and the Old Town Scottsdale Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines;
- Maintaining, adding, restricting, reducing, or removing Zoning Ordinance base development standards and bonus provisions; and
- Ensuring that bonus provisions within the Zoning Ordinance, if maintained, provide greater and better-defined public benefits, and re-examining bonus payment calculations.
To promote best practices with public outreach, the Public Participation Plan includes opportunities for community involvement such as open houses, focus groups, presentations to community groups, and online engagement beginning in October 2021, and concludes with Planning Commission and City Council public hearings in the 1st Quarter of 2022.
You can register and participate in public participation opportunities as they are made available and/or provide input by submitting your comments online, above. Furthermore, you may participate in the Planning Commission and City Council public meetings by submitting written comments or speaking in-person at these meetings.
The Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan, Zoning Ordinance Sections, and Guidelines are available for review on the City's website.