Ballots were mailed out to registered Scottsdale voters Wednesday to decide whether or not to ratify the city of Scottsdale General Plan 2035, a plan that contains the city’s goals and policies for the future.
The Scottsdale City Council unanimously voted to approve the new general plan on June 8, moving forward into a mail-in election where voters will have the option to vote yes or no on the proposition to approve and ratify the plan, according to the ballot title for Prop. 463.
The new plan focuses on supporting the needs of Scottsdale residents and represents the visions of the City Council for the future of Scottsdale, according to Adam Yaron, principal planner for the city of Scottsdale. It outlines the city’s strategies for the next 10 years and includes a variety of significant changes from the 2001 general plan that the city currently operates under.
“The community vision statement was updated. There was strengthened language to make the plan more action-oriented,” said Yaron.
Yaron said that there are immediate changes that Scottsdale residents would see, should the plan be implemented.
“There was an update to our land use matrix, which is usually the one item that is the most focused on from a resident’s perspective… There was also additional emphasis on supporting the arts and cultural resources in the city.
There was a new health facilities map added within the Healthy Community element and then there was an updated parks and recreation facilities map on the plan. There was also a newly created education element within the Innovation and Prosperity chapter,” said Yaron.
For Councilwoman Solange Whitehead, the Scottsdale General Plan 2035 is a guarantee that Scottsdale will continue to thrive.
“As residents, we know that Scottsdale is much more than a luxury destination. It is also a great place to live. This is not by chance and the General Plan 2035 is written to ensure Scottsdale continues to enjoy the highest standard of living in our beautiful desert environment,” said Whitehead in a published editorial.
But for Tim Stratton, a Scottsdale resident who has announced his candidacy for the Scottsdale City Council, the plan fails to protect its residents and small businesses.
“The plan, as modified by council, fails to respect and uphold individual property rights and will ultimately lead to a raise in taxes and diminish our property values. It does not protect small businesses and promotes further government regulation and overreach,” said Stratton.
Stratton believes that the city would be able to continue with the current general plan and that voting to not ratify the Scottsdale General Plan 2035 would send an important message.
“I believe we will be in the same place we are now if this plan passes or fails. At least if the residents of Scottsdale send a message by voting against this lackluster plan they will be sending a message to the mayor and council that the residents want a general plan that guides the city, not just with empty words, but with deeds and actions,” said Stratton.
Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, either through mail or at a drop-off location in Scottsdale.
Scottsdale’s City Clerk, Ben Lane, recommends that voters mail their ballot in a week prior, by Oct. 26, and are careful to avoid common user errors when filling out their ballot.
“It’s important to completely fill in the oval using a blue or black pen. It’s also very important that the envelope that you return the ballot in, it’s called an affidavit envelope, that you sign it and date it. It’s very helpful if you put a phone number on the envelope, if the voter is comfortable with that, because it allows the county to contact them if there is any issue with their ballot,” said Lane.
Editor’s Note: Aleesha Singh is a student reporter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University.
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