Why update the General Plan now?
State law mandates that all cities and towns in Arizona adopt a “comprehensive, long-range general plan for the development of the municipality.” These plans must also be updated and adopted by voters every ten years. The City of Somerton’s current General Plan was last ratified by voters in 2010.
What topics does the General Plan address?
There are both State-mandated and optional “elements,” or topics, that go into a General Plan. State law requires that a General Plan for a community the size of Somerton address the following core elements: Land Use & Growth Areas, Circulation, Parks & Open Space, Environmental Planning, Cost of Development, and Water Resources.
To address specific topics that are unique to Somerton, the General Plan may also include additional elements such as Economic Development, Education, and Neighborhood Planning. Identification of alternative elements will be reviewed and discussed with the public through outreach efforts as the 2020 General Plan Update is prepared.
What is the schedule and process for the General Plan Update?
Phase I – Recognize
This initial phase of the General Plan Update process focuses on reviewing background information and conducting initial project meetings to develop an understanding of some of the key issues, opportunities, and challenges to be addressed within the update effort.
This phase culminates with the development of a baseline Community Assessment Memo. This report will summarize existing community trends and conditions, provides inventory maps, analyzes projected growth conditions and land demand, and reviews the current General Plan document.
Phase II – Engage
This cornerstone phase of the project is carried out over the entire life of the project. Efforts within this phase focus on utilizing multiple outreach tools (e.g. interactive online surveys, social media, and community meetings) to understand community preferences and assist in developing policies that guide the formulation of all draft and final General Plan documents.
Phase III – Enrich
This phase begins with establishing the overall structure of the plan and defining the basic framework of the individual themes or chapters that make up the plan. With this framework in place, all of the material developed and feedback obtained during previous phases is consolidated into a complete Public Review Draft of the updated General Plan that includes goals, policies, implementing actions, maps, and illustrations.
Phase IV – Achieve
The final phase of the project centers on addressing public review comments of the draft plan in order to prepare the Public Hearing Final Draft of the General Plan Update for Planning & Zoning Commission consideration and City Council adoption. Once adopted by City Council, the General Plan Update is anticipated to be placed on the November 2020 ballot for final ratification by Somerton voters.