[Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — Meetings are taking place citywide to ask citizens what they like about Phoenix, and what they want to change. The gatherings are the first step in a three-year process aimed at revising the Phoenix General Plan, a document of nearly 500 pages that governs growth and development in the city. “If you want to have a say in what happens — highways vs. transit, sprawl vs. infill, pollution, parks and open space — then you need to get involved,” said Jim McPherson, a civic activist who has volunteered in the effort.
Carol Johnson, a city planner who is managing the process, said meetings will take place over the rest of the year in connection with local village planning committee meetings. “We really need to hear from the community about what they want Phoenix to be, and how we can get there,” she said. “That will define the scope for what we do next.”
Johnson described the general plan as the city’s “long-term guide for the physical manifestation of the city.” She said development of the revised plan would entail a period of “visioning,” in which ideas and goals are developed, followed by a period of drafting policies and measures, and determining implementation.
The plan could include updated sustainability measures, improved business-development plans, revised historical features, and new benchmarks for infrastructure repairs and upgrades. In meetings so far, “there is a lot of interest in climate change and the urban heat island,” Johnson said. “Some people have said the village cores are not working. Others want to see land use and transportation planned in tandem.” She said the plan ultimately would be organized around four subject areas: community, economy, environment and infrastructure.
Catrina Knoebl, a downtown activist, said she expects the process to be worthwhile for the public as well as the city. “I have found the city absolutely listens to citizens,” she said. “They want to hear what residents have to say. They are actively reaching out.” Knoebl said she finds the timing to be advantageous because “we have more people than ever before who are knowledgeable and engaged.”
McPherson agreed the timing is right. “We have a little bit of breathing room now,” he said. “With the slowdown caused by the economy, we have some time to do some thinking.” [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix seeks residents’ input on General Plan revision.]