Tempe drafts big plans for future development

By Lindsay Walker | Your Valley

Tempe has big plans for the future and it’s developing guidelines to ensure the city’s character and goals are top-of-mind when it comes to growth.

At the Aug. 30 Tempe City Council Work Study session, the council saw a presentation on the Character Area-1 Plan for the Papago/ North Tempe area. It’s the sixth character area plan the council has reviewed, after adopting plans for five out of the eight character areas that comprise Tempe. While the draft for Character Area 1 — 3.35 square miles of the city bounded by the Loop 202 on the south, McClintock Drive on the east, the city boundary lines on the north, and Priest Drive on the west — is subject to change, the council voted to move forward with the plan.

These Character Area Plans are documents that will provide guidance for any future designs and developments in a specific area. Each plan includes a description of the character of the area and provides principles and strategies with input from city staffers, local businesses and residents so that new development is consistent with the existing character and sustainable. They are also in line with Tempe’s goals, including its pedestrian safety-focused
Vision Zero pledge and the city’s Climate Action Plan to cut down on its carbon footprint.

Work on the plan began in March 2021 and has undergone several public meetings and surveys to gather input from the community that lives in North Tempe, which includes Papago Park, historical landmarks like the Sandra Day O’Connor House and Big Surf Waterpark. Other features are the Rolling Hills golf course, the Grand Canal, Indian Bend Wash and several other open desert spaces that residents value. The neighborhood also offers Light Rail Transit access and is close to Tempe Town Lake and all that downtown Tempe has to offer.

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