If Tempe’s forward-looking Character Area concept ever was to show off its worth, the role it played in development of the city’s newly unwrapped General Plan 2050 must have been one of those times.
A gamut of forward-looking concepts developed by Tempe planners in recent years were among the priorities of the 60 or so advisers who’ve been working to develop a completed draft of a new General Plan for the city, a process that reoccurs every 10 years. What now appears to be the opportunity for a wide ranging public review of General Plan 2050 will be held Thursday, Aug. 24, with the measure, incorporating any possible revisions, due to appear on Tempe’s ballot in March 2024.
As the group’s work unfolded, staff made what some said could have been called its No. 1 goal: to ensure that public involvement and input would be available at every opportunity along the way.
This led to open houses, booths at city events, mailed information in utility bills, postal cards—every conceivable way public contributions to the study could be encouraged. As to how any outcomes of the study can become vital mileposts during its 10-year lifespan, those working on General Plan 2050 call it the latest in Tempe’s ongoing commitment to incorporate population growth, among other issues, into whatever is being done on an annualized basis to keep up with new needs or demands.
While the 10-year requirement for updated strategies isn’t aimed at stimulating population growth—“we know people will be coming here, and we want to be ready,” said one staffer interviewed for this piece—any efforts to keep up regularly with trends enables experts to conduct planning and develop responses over 30 years, not just those in the immediate future.
Finally, say members of the group, it’s important to remember that none of the proposals they have studied would affect zoning laws, and any proposed changes would have to go first through the full gauntlet of approval processes.