By Philip Haldiman
Peoria leadership likes to use the phrase “live, work and play” when talking about Peoria and its future. It has been foundational to the city’s plans moving forward.
And in a way they are putting their money where their mouth is — City staff has taken efforts in its proposed general plan to make sure future developments fall in-line with this concept. One way they are doing that is through refining their land use categories.
Specifically, staff has created three new mixed use categories they hope will translate into places where residents can, in essence, live, work and play — some may call this shop — all in one place.
Planning and Community Development Director Chris Jacques said the new categories provide a lot more information than in the past, with much more robust descriptions, including the intensity of land use, as well as design parameters and character expectations.
“These categorizes are very important,” he said. “We think they go well beyond a map exercise of whether a development meets the density or not, but it goes more into our expectation of the form of development and the character of the development. It also provides clearer expectations for the development community.”
Mixed use land use categories are intended to provide a wide range of commercial, office, employment and compatible residential uses integrated into a single development.
The functional, physical and thematic integration of uses with a pedestrian-oriented lens distinguishes mixed use development from other more conventional projects, according to the proposed general plan.
The new mixed use categories are dubbed Main Street District, think Park West; Neighborhood Village, which is slightly more intense, with bigger boxes, but within pedestrian and human scale; and Community District, which has a more regional feel, like the P83 Entertainment District.
Planner Manager Lorie Dever said the community is maturing so the city wants to provide opportunities for some of the commercial areas to expand their land use possibilities.
“We think because of these mixed use opportunities we will see more areas within the city have more vibrancy as they adapt over time,” she said.
Realtor Rebecca Durfey said bringing in mixed use projects that draw in job opportunities, light tourism, easy access to entertainment, and the like, but not hinder quality of life for the average Peoria family would be a win for residents.
She said it is important to strike a balance and have projects that add to the desirability of Peoria and bring in more families and add value to the housing market. These mixed use properties can anchor housing market values, she said.
“It’s finding the best of both the worlds — maintaining that feeling that the residents currently have that Peoria is a great place to live — where it’s not too crowded or too commercial — but also having enough of the active and entertainment side available so that the residents don’t drive out of the city to spend their money each night,” Ms. Durfey said.
Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.
The following are opportunities for residents to give input on the proposed general plan. planpeoriaaz.com
Sept. 16: 6 p.m., open house at Development and Community Services Building, 9875 N. 85th Ave. Sixty day review ends
Oct. 3: Planning and zoning hearing #1, Rio Vista Recreation Center, 8866 W. Thunderbird Rd.
Oct. 17: Planning and zoning hearing #2, city council chambers, 8401 W. Monroe St.
Nov. 12: City council hearing, city council chambers