B. Land Use Element

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Sections of this Element:

  1. Development Pattern
  2. Housing Element
  3. Rehabilitation & Redevelopment
  4. Special Planning Areas
  5. Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization

The purpose of the Land Use Element is to guide development and re-development in an orderly manner and balance growth with preservation of the community’s assets. The General Plan designates the location and extent of private (residential, commercial, industrial) and public (education, recreation, open space) land together with the density and intensity for land use categories. The aim is to foster growth in the Maricopa economy with thriving neighborhoods that are integrated with, and highly accessible to, good jobs, shopping, amenities and recreation.

Planning considerations include managing continued residential growth, striving for economic development, and influencing thoughtful land use decisions in the City and beyond, in the Maricopa Planning Area. The residents believe in achieving a balanced and accessible community with educational excellence, safe neighborhoods, and a strong business community. To this end, the citizenry encourages growth in a pattern consisting of a collection of community villages, each anchored by mixed-use Village Centers along transit corridors with concentrated shopping, employment, a variety of housing choices, and amenities.

1. Development Pattern

a. Village Planning & Village Center Development Pattern

The citizens of Maricopa envision a carefully planned and well-designed City that is amenity driven with balanced development in all sectors: diversity of business and industry, well-planned open spaces, and integrated amenities. Since the 2006 General Plan, Maricopa citizens desire to grow with an emphasis to create a more sustainable development pattern that appeals to residents and a broad demographic. At that time, a goal objective was to “establish disbursed employment areas and Mixed Use activity centers.” More recently, through the 2040 Vision Strategic Planning process, citizens envision Maricopa developing as a collection of multiple village areas each with mixed-use Village Center cores anchored with commercial and employment centers served by restaurants, retail shopping and cultural opportunities such as art districts and galleries.

2040 Vision:

Identify and develop multiple mixed-use village core areas with commercial and employment centers served by restaurants, retail shopping and cultural opportunities such as art districts and galleries.

Village Centers are higher intensity locations within a distinct geographic area along transit corridors and are a cluster of community oriented neighborhood character areas with local commercial, office, and mixed use spaces. These centers should contain public gathering spaces with civic uses, such as schools, libraries, and parks and have a distinct identity and village theme. Uses will be integrated to the maximum extent possible in order to encourage a pedestrian-oriented design and transit ridership. The future Village Centers will be served by a robust transit system and provide a variety of housing types appealing to a broad demographic. The Village Center development pattern offers a more sustainable land use strategy, a strong sense of community, pedestrian oriented commercial nodes, mixed-uses, employment, entertainment, and local services. It also appeals to people who cannot or prefer not to drive as a primary means of transportation, such as the Senior population and younger generations.

landuse-img01The villages will aim to have a proper job-to-housing balance, a neighbor-hood and community-based organization system, a synergy with the City to improve communication and a successfully operating multi-modal transportation network. Each of the villages will provide opportunities for people to live, work, and play. This development pattern centers on what the local residents love about their neighborhood while setting measures to ensure those special characteristics are enhanced and preserved. Following Smart Growth principles, Land uses should be concentrated within a 1⁄4 to a 1/3 of a mile from the primary transit stop of the Village. Ideally, land uses become less intense moving away from the Village Center with low density residential, large lots and agricultural uses around the fringe of the village.

“The Urban Land Institute (largest international organization representing the development industry) and the National Home Builders Association have promoted the advantages of mixed use development over the last 20 years and this concept has more recently been embraced as a “smart growth” strategy. Mixed use developments incorporate residential units, commercial properties, and employment uses. These areas may also contain cultural amenities such as performing arts centers, entertainment venues, museums, education and training centers, and community gathering places. Mixed use developments allow residents to minimize and shorten trips by clustering multiple services and activities and by supporting alternatives to automobile transportation. Focusing development on activity centers can reduce sprawl, conserve open space and protect irreplaceable natural resources on the urban fringe. Compact community and building design means less land required for construction. This approach also reduces energy needed for transportation, transporting water and providing other services, while reducing the carbon footprint, urban heat island effect and environmental impact.” -Pinal County Comprehensive Plan

landuse-img02The most current plans and policies of the City reflect the village concept and reinforce this vision. The Parks, Trails and Open Space (PTOS) Master Plan offers guidance for planning parks, trails and recreation needs for the Maricopa Planning Area based on the village development pattern. The PTOS Master Plan is in the process of an update and will further evaluate village areas and future plans for open space and connectivity amongst the villages. The PTOS Master Plan update will further build upon the connectivity and policy framework outlined in the Transportation Master Plan for seamless land use policy to achieve the Village Core concept envisioned by residents.

The 2014 Zoning Code Rewrite Diagnosis & Evaluation Working Paper makes recommendation for the creation and implementation of a Village Planning Committee organizational structure. This structure is implemented in larger communities to offer residents additional avenues for public input and communication on projects affecting specific locations (or “Village”). The Village Planning Committee would act as an additional advisory body to the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council, as well as an additional conduit to city leadership on local planning issues. This concept should be further explored to offer area specific guidance as the City grows and planning matters become more complex and area specific.

The 2013 Pinal County Comprehensive Plan Update identifies mixed use “Activity Areas” within the City of Maricopa incorporated limits and the municipal planning area. The Comprehensive Plan suggests the City and planning area should grow with concentrated mixed use activity nodes.

Two areas within Maricopa’s incorporated boundaries are identified for Village Center development on the Future Land Use Map. The Heritage District and Redevelopment Area is identified as a mixed use Village Center and is further discussed in the Conservation, Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Element. The second location is the City Center area including CAC and the San Travasa mixed use development. The City Center area is programmed to develop as a village center anchored by the City Hall and civic uses integrated with mixed uses, office employment, and large public gathering spaces. The City Center was planned through a public visioning process and will require refinement through an Area Specific Plan. The City Center area is further discussed under Special Planning Areas of this section and with the Public Buildings Element.

Goal B1.1: Identify and implement policies to develop multiple mixed-use village core areas with commercial and employment centers served by restaurants, retail shopping and cultural opportunities such as art districts and galleries.
Objective B1.1.1: Incorporate appropriate village center development within the various community Master Plans. Update Master and Strategic Plans, such as the PTOS and the Redevelopment Area Plan to provide policy guidance to reinforce the Village Center development pattern.
Objective B1.1.2: Encourage certain areas of the City to rezone to mixed-use and higher density housing consistent with redevelopment plans and General Plan land uses.
Objective B1.1.3: Incorporate appropriate village center development within the various community Master Plans.
Objective B1.1.4: Develop a walkable community with commercial nodes and amenities for residents.
Objective B1.1.5: Promote commercial and office development in close proximity to neighborhood nodes, along arterials, and other appropriate locations.
Goal B1.2: Develop Maricopa as a collection of villages and districts with distinct community names, themes, and unique character to reflect the variety of character, culture, and history that makes each area of Maricopa unique.
Objective B1.2.1: Proactively manage future development and partner with developers to create distinctive communities.
Objective B1.2.2: Establish entryways, gateways, streetscapes, and other features that distinctively delineate the various village neighborhoods.
Objective B1.2.3: Create village plans with design standards that address the unique needs and desires of the area residents surrounding the Civic Center and implement strategies to prepare the site for development. Update the Redevelopment Area Plan for the Heritage District Village Center.

b. Mixture of Uses

landuse-img05The majority of existing residential planned developments do not provide full service uses in close proximity to homes, creating a dependence on the personal automobile and diminished opportunity for alternatives. Maricopa’s 2040 Vision encourages mixed-use development to integrate land uses, enhance connectivity between uses, and improve infrastructure efficiencies. Creating multi-modal access to goods and services in close proximity to homes and neighborhoods reduces reliance on the automobile and improves community health, social interaction, and preserves resources. The City desires innovative development that integrates a mixture of uses with an emphasis on pedestrian orientation, sense of place, and is designed to increase ridership along mobility and transit corridors.

Goal B1.3: Encourage mixed-use development.
Objective B1.3.1: Encourage the location of neighborhood commercial and mixed uses adjacent to or within residential communities. Implement 2014 Zoning Code provisions to encourage the infill of existing residential areas with neighborhood serving commercial uses.
Objective B1.3.2: Encourage developers to take advantage of opportunities provided by mixed-use standards especially within the designated redeveloment areas and along transit corridors.
Objective B1.3.3: Promote a variety of commercial and retail spaces to expand opportunities for small businesses.
Objective B1.3.4: Implement mixed-use and transit oriented zoning districts to permit developments with densities and building heights in appropriate locations to create a more sustainable and pedestrian-oriented urban form.
Objective B1.3.5: Establish guidelines for the appropriate inclusion of green spaces, paths and other people- oriented amenities.
Goal B1.4: Minimize conflicts between land uses.
Objective B1.4.1: Address land use compatibilities and incompatibilities when considering zone changes and development approvals.
Objective B1.4.2: Apply buffer codes to establish transitions that include open space and landscaping between substantially different land uses.
Objective B1.4.3: Based on noise, vibration and safety concerns strongly discourage residential development adjacent to high capacity roadways, airports, and railroad corridors.
Objective B1.4.4: Minimize air pollution impacts to residential areas and school from smoke, odors and dust generated by industrial land uses and unimproved sites.
Objective B1.4.5: Update and consistently enforce the community’s development codes, including zoning, subdivision, and related regulations.
Objective B1.4.6: Transition all property zoning designations from pre-existing districts to existing zoning districts in a manner that best achieves the goals of this General Plan.
Objective B1.4.7: Seek appropriate buffers and land use transitions along Native American Community boundaries. Support lower density/intensity land uses along Native American Community boundaries, where appropriate.
Objective B1.4.8: Consider scenic views and impacts to scenic resources in evaluating land use proposals including rezonings and subdivision plats.
Objective B1.4.9: Avoid conflicts between airport operations and nearby development with specific attention to incompatibilities of residential uses and airport noise and safety.

c. Other Land Uses

Historically, the Union Pacific mainline created a distinctive ‘edge’ in the southern part of the City. This area south of the railroad has developed in recent years with supportive City wide amenities, such as an expansion to the High School, the development of the Copper Sky Regional Park, Multi-generational Center and Aquatic Center, and the development of single- family residential neighborhoods. Connecting both sides of the railroad is currently and will continue to be a challenge for the community. The City of Maricopa street pattern is dominated by SR-347, a regional north-south transportation corridor, bisecting the planning area and connecting the City to Interstate 10 to the North and Interstate 8 to the South. A grade separation is planned and funded for SR-347 over the UPRR, which will enhance the traffic access, safety, and economic viability of the growth areas south of the rail corridor and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

The Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and SR-238 also form important corridors in the community, both having intersections with SR-347. SR-84 and Interstate 8 are important east-west arteries in the extreme southern portion of the planning area. These features are further discussed in the Circulation & Connectivity Element.

Land uses and development supportive of an aging population is critically important to Maricopa. Many residents have chosen to retire here and seasonal residents may become permanent, placing a high demand for Senior related services such as health and medical care, living assistance, quality affordable housing, transit, and human services (refer to Public Services). Citizens envision the future of Maricopa to include diverse opportunities for end-of life planning and services. To meet the needs of this population, the City will require fully integrated medical healthcare services at convenient locations, rehabilitation and therapy facilities and end-of-life preparation such as funeral and mortuary services, a cemetery or interment facility. A place to bury and lay persons to rest completes the circle of life and creates a permanent sense of home among residents.

Goal B1.5: Support the availability of burial facilities and encourage the establishment of mortuary services.
Objective B1.5.1: Utilize zoning and land use plans to allocate space for cemeteries, through private and/or faith-based and non-profit partnerships.
Objective B1.5.2: Require perpetual-term maintenance, via site insurance or other means.
Objective B1.5.3: Partner with religious organizations and other support groups to ensure the perpetual quality of facilities.
Objective B1.5.4: Require perpetual-term maintenance, via site insurance or other means.
Objective B1.5.5: Recognize and support diverse opportunities for memorialization including traditional plots, columbarium or mausoleums, including in partnership as needed with houses of worship.
Objective B1.5.6: Encourage organizations to provide locations for memorial service in houses of worship or secular settings.
Objective B1.5.7: Support regional cremation services.

Table 4 illustrates the composition of Maricopa’s use of land. In 2005, the land use distribution reflected a predominantly agricultural character (51%) with conversion to residential uses at 25 percent of all lands. As of December 2015, the data shows the allocation of land use is predominantly Master Planned Community and Medium Density Residential (56%) with limited agriculture (5%). However, much of the residential and master planned community designated lands are still farmed with the anticipation to develop as residential in the future.

landuse-img03Service-based land uses and commercial uses are lagging behind residential construction. The table includes public/institutional land uses (8 percent), which consist of schools, public parks, and public facilities. Industrial, Employment, and R&D uses represent 21.6 percent. It should be note that the Volkswagen Test Track facility is an industrial use and occupies almost 5% of the incorporated area. The test track is designated for Master Planned Community in anticipation of development in the future. Commercial and Mixed Use sites have grown from about one percent in 2005, to almost seven percent. These land uses are primarily focused along the SR-347 corridor and the Heritage District area at the Smith-Enke and SR 238 intersection. The Seven Ranches area is designated for Mixed-Use, but requires further planning and studies to determine feasibility and the community’s desire for this area.

Table 7 – Incorporated Area Land Use Composition

Land Use % of Total Acres
Rural 0.47% 162
Low Density Residential 3.11% 1,077
Medium Density Residential 23.81% 8,257
High Density Residential 0.31% 107
Master Planned Community* 31.82% 11,035
Mixed Use 2.62% 909
Commercial 4.15% 1,440
Agriculture 4.23% 1,466
Light Industrial 0.25% 88
Employment * 20.60% 7,144
Research/Development 0.71% 246
Public/Institutional 3.25% 1,129
Park/Open Space 4.68% 1,625
Total 100% 34,684
* VW Test Facility is Employment Use, although designated as MPC
* VW Test Facility is 1628 Acres / 4.69% of land within the City Limits

Data from December 2015, City of Maricopa Planning Division.

Goal B1.6: Coordinate land management and planning activities with neighboring Indian Communities, Federal, State and private interests.
Objective B1.6.1: Participate in regular meetings with Ak-Chin and Gila River Indian Communities to address land use and transportation issues and concerns.
Objective B1.6.2: Communicate City general development priorities and goals in working with developers, landowners, Pinal County and State of Arizona officials.
Objective B1.6.3: Monitor development applications in the unincorporated portions of the Planning Area.
Objective B1.6.4: Facilitate the coordinated planning and reasonable development of State Trust Lands in the Maricopa Planning Area.
Objective B1.6.5: Support the creation of functional master plans for regional systems including flood control and transportation.
Objective B1.6.6: Encourage and support the development of public information materials regarding respectful interaction and travel within nearby Native American communities.

Sources of Aggregate

Growth and development requires building materials for everything from streets and landscaping to buildings. Ensuring that Arizona has adequate resources to provide these necessary materials was one of the main reasons behind a new requirement that cities begin to plan for sources of aggregate and incorporate into their general plans.

The passage of the Aggregate Protection Act (Senate Bill 1598) added a provision in the Arizona Revised Statutes (9-461.05C.1.g) that requires cities to address sources of currently identified aggregates. In addition, cities are to provide policies to help preserve currently identified aggregates sufficient for future development, and policies to avoid incompatible land uses in the Land Use Element of their General Plan.

Upon inspection of the registered Arizona State Mine maps, Arizona Geological Survey, and Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, no aggregate resource activities by State definition are present in the Maricopa Planning Area. In the event sources of aggregate mining are planned in the future, the General Plan Land Use Map will require amendment to recognize new mining sites. The following Goal and Objectives address the State requirements for the City of Maricopa:

Goal B1.7: Provide equal protection for residential development and aggregate mining operations.
Objective B1.7.1: Discourage new residential zoning where future residences would be adjacent to an existing or planned aggregate / mineral mining operation.
Objective B1.7.2: Discourage new residential zoning where future residences would be adjacent to an existing or planned aggregate / mineral mining operation.
Objective B1.7.3: Promote non-residential development such as business park and industrial uses adjacent to planned mining operations.

d. Land Use Plan

The land uses shown on the General Plan Future Land Use map are grouped into thirteen generalized land use categories. The following categories describe the Land Use designations used in the City’s General Plan. These designations do not represent zoning districts; however, they generally correspond with the zoning districts found in the City of Maricopa Zoning Code (refer to Table 8 - Land Use Designations). The City acknowledges that the General Plan contains land use designations, transportation corridors, village core and resort designations, which may conflict with existing zoning and entitle-ments for some parcels within the City limits, and for some parcels with existing County zoning and entitlements within the City’s planning area. In such cases the existing zoning and entitlements shall take precedence over the General Plan Land Use designations an conceptual transportation corridors.

No General Plan Amendments will be required to develop parcels consistent with the existing zoning or entitlements, and the General Plan shall not be used to prevent amendments to existing zoning or entitlements which are consistent with the overall character of the existing zoning and entitlements that would not be otherwise necessitated by the General Plan Amendment criteria contained herein. The City will evaluate existing zoning approvals and the Future Land Use Map designations, including future transportation corridors, to define a clear scope and program to amend the City’s General Plan Future Land Use Map to address inconsistencies between approved zoning and future land use design ations (refer to Goal Objective A2.4).

Land Use Designations:

AG – Agriculture

Purpose: The Agriculture category recognizes farming and other agriculture as one of the principle land uses in the planning area. Agricultural uses have impacts to immediately adjacent properties making lower intensity land uses such as large lot, single-story residential appropriate transitions adjacent to agriculture. The density range of this category, in accordance with statutory requirements, is up to 1 residence per acre; however, the continuation of lower densities as required by existing zoning is supported.

R – Rural

Purpose: The Rural category promotes the continuation of the rural character that is common across much of the planning area. Rural areas may include farming and small scale livestock operations along with low density residential and other uses defined in the Zoning Code for the respective Zoning District. Public infrastructure and services are not required at a level as great as in higher density development. Several rural enclaves exist in the planning area and should be preserved. The density range of this category is less than 1.0 dwelling unit per acre.

L – Low Density Residential

Purpose: The Low Density Residential designation accommodates semi-rural large lot development with generous distances to streets and between residential dwelling units and a viable semi-rural character setting. Limited livestock privileges may be a part of this character for areas where lot sizes are a minimum of one acre. Areas in this category are generally larger lots with accessory structures that may be used for animals. The maximum density for this land use category is 2.0 dwelling units per acre (du/ac).

M – Medium Density Residential

Purpose: The Medium Density Residential category provides for a suburban lifestyle with planned, single-family residential neighborhoods, which include significant open space, recreation and cultural opportunities, including schools, churches and neighborhood facilities. Medium density residential developments are expected to contribute to off-site infrastructure needs for which they create a demand including roadways, bridges and grade separated crossings. Medium density residential areas comprise the majority of residential land in the City. The density of this land use category is between 2.0 to 6.0 du/ac.

H – High Density Residential

Purpose: The High Density Residential designation provides for multi-family dwellings that may be multi-story buildings. This category would provide for townhouses, condominiums and apartments. Substantial common open space, recreational amenities and on-site support facilities would serve residents. Such high density uses may be appropriate in the Mixed Use category. The density range of this land use category is 6.0 or more dwelling units per acre.

VC – Village Center

Purpose: The Village Centers are the highest intensity urban area of the City, generally developing near intersections with regional importance for transit and connectivity. They are characterized by a cluster of community and neighborhood oriented areas with local commercial, office, entertainment, recreation, and mixed use spaces serving the day to day needs of the surrounding groups of neighborhoods. These centers should contain public gathering spaces and/ or civic uses with a character and identity that reflects the special character of the area. Uses will be integrated to the maximum extent possible in order to encourage a pedestrian-oriented design and transit ridership. The density range should exceed 18 dwelling units per acre when located within a 1⁄4 mile walk to a transit station or stop.

MU – Mixed Use

Purpose: The Mixed Use designation is intended to foster creative design for developments that desire to combine commercial, office and residential components. Single use projects are discouraged in the MU designation. Proposed MU projects should provide a true combination of uses that inter-relate in design and function with a pedestrian oriented environment. Higher density residential products (such as apartments and condominiums), 8.0 or more dwellings per acre, are expected in Mixed Use projects.

MPC – Master Planned Community

Purpose: The Master Planned Community designation provides for large-scale (160 acres or more) master planned developments that include a true variety of residential products, including larger lots and smaller, attached housing, along with supporting commercial and employment land uses to meet the daily needs of the residents. Residential areas are to include adequate open space, schools, churches and neighborhood facilities. Overlay zoning in combination with comprehensive site planning provide for supporting infrastructure. MPC developments are expected to provide off-site infrastructure enhancements as necessary to offset development impacts including needed roadway, bridge and overpass capacity. The overall density is flexible to allow appropriate urban design for properties designated for Village Center. Overall densities for all residential dwellings in MPCs without a Village Center designation can range from 3.0 to 10.0 dwelling units per acre.

C – Commercial

Purpose: The Commercial land use category provides for commercial nodes on individual parcels. The intent is to provide neighborhood and community scale shopping, offices, medical facilities, and subordinate multi-family residential uses which incorporate pedestrian and neighborhood needs through site planning, architecture, access, lighting and parking design. Single-family residential uses are not supported. For larger parcels, over 40 acres, regional retail development is anticipated in this designation.

LI – Light Industrial

Purpose: The Light Industrial category designation is intended to provide areas for the development and perpetuation of light industrial activity involving light manufacturing, assembling, warehousing, and wholesale activities and the associated office space and support uses. Areas designated for Light Industrial have adequate transportation and infrastructure access with an emphasis on minimal conflict with existing adjacent land uses.

R&D – Research and Development

Purpose: The Research and Development category is intended to accommodate a variety of employment and educational uses. Technology centers or campuses that include training, education, testing and secondary manufacturing are encouraged. Research and product development laboratories and related facilities are supported in creating a working and learning center for the community.

E – Employment

Purpose: The Employment land use category is a broad designation intended to accommodate numerous types of development including office, industrial and commercial, allowing for varying scale and intensity of land uses. While industrial, warehousing, manufacturing, processing and non-retail commercial activity are expected, retail and wholesale activity are in no way prohibited from locating in the Employment designation. Preferred uses include lighter industrial use such as light manufacturing and business park development, also professional offices, including medical facilities, clinics and associated office support services. Residential uses are not intended in this designation.

Employment sites are to be integrated, through design, buffering, and siting, with adjacent residential or other activities. Typical developments have their own driveways, parking areas, identification signs and landscaping. Developments with more than one building share a common architectural theme, as well a landscape theme, identification signs, parking and driveways.

P – Public/ Institutional

Purpose: The Public and Institutional category provides for public or institutional uses such as school campuses and their attendant open spaces (playgrounds, ball fields, hard courts, etc.), hospitals, churches, water treatment facilities, landfill sites, public library facilities, City offices, public cemeteries, and infrastructure and utility sites.

O/S – Parks / Open Space

Purpose: The Parks and Open-Space category designation identifies open-space sites and corridors intended for public recreation and resource conservation. The General Plan Future Land Use map does not locate individual neighborhood park sites. The General Plan recognizes the need for parks, recreational areas and open areas, which add to the attractiveness of the community and to the quality of life of the residents. The need for future parks is addressed in the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element of this General Plan.

Larger open space tracts are identified as future preserves and potentially regional parks, including substantial federal land reserves along the western and southern edges of the planning area.

The O/S designation is consistent with the State’s Open Space Planning law where applied to private and State Trust Lands and includes a maximum development intensity of 1 residence per acre.

Other Plan Designations

In addition to land use categories, the Future Land Use map indicates the potential location for future resort type development. Characterized by high levels of amenities including golf or other major recreational features, the General Plan expects and encourages such uses to locate in the City and the planning area by indicating several potential locations. Other Resort locations are anticipated to be identified as community and market development continues.

Table 8—Land Use Designations
Land Use Designation Residential Density (du/ac) Pre- Existing Zoning Potential Zoning*
AG (Agriculture) 1 or less GR-10
R (Rural ) 1 or less GR-10, GR-5
GR, SR, SR-1
LDR (Low Density Residential) 2 or less CR-1A
MDR (Medium Density Residential) 2 – 6 CR-1
MU (Mixed Use) 6 – 18 TR
VC (Village Center) 18
HDR (High Density Residential) 6 - 18 CR-4
MPC (Master Planned Community) 3-10 Overall Target, Village Center Mixed Use may be greater PAD
C (Commercial) NA CB-1
(Light Industrial)
R & D (Research & Development)
E (Employment) NA CB-1
P (Public/ Institutional) 0 GR PI
P/OS (Park / Open Space) 1 or less GR OS-PR

*Provided as a guide to the City’s current zoning districts. General Plan users are encouraged to contact Planning Division staff to determine appropriate zones for each land use type.

Interactive (GIS) Map


2. Housing Element

Residential development has boomed in the Maricopa area since 2000. Most of the residential development within the City has occurred along SR-347 beyond the commercial sites and approximately 3 miles to the east, north of Maricopa Casa Grande Highway. Some planned residential areas have emerged east of White and Parker not contiguous to previously developed areas creating expansive gaps in complete infrastructure. This has caused strain on City services and public facilities due to the geographic separation from the existing infrastructure, commercial, and service areas. There are limited roadways, access, and dry wash crossings serving this relatively small segment of the City’s population.

The majority of land within the incorporated boundaries of Maricopa has been rezoned from agriculture to primarily residential communities through the Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning process. These communities are by-inlarge planned for single-family, detached homes on lots averaging 5,000 to 8,000 square feet, excluding a few older areas of the community with a limited number of aging homes. The majority of existing master plans were designed to fulfill the insatiable production home building demand of the 2000’s, prior to the market crash beginning in 2008. In many cases these plans predated the cities Subdivision codes, which would require a variety of housing types for Planned Area Development (PAD) and Master Planned Community (MPC) Zoning requests.

As of 2016, there are approximately 11,000 residential lots in the subdivision platting process in communities that are actively being developed. The average absorption rate suggests this inventory would be depleted between 2025 and 2031. There are over 32,000 total single family lots zoned and entitled. The City has an extremely healthy planned housing supply for single family production homes.

Cluster homes, townhomes, attached and multi-family dwellings along with large lot single-family dwellings were presumed to be included in future development as the local housing market increases in size and complexity. Going forward, great attention should be given to protect parcels zoned for larger lot residential, mixed use, and transitional uses to assure the development of neighborhood employment and housing types other than small to mid-size single-family production homes. Protecting existing zoned land and incentivizing mixed use and non-traditional residential development will offer more housing choices and flexibility for homeowners to make improvements to meet their changing needs.

landuse-img06-07Since Maricopa’s incorporation, citizens demand a broad variety of housing options. This is very important to encourage existing residents to stay within the community and to attract a diverse population to support economic expansion. The City’s housing stock is homogenous, posing a challenge for the future of the City to accommodate existing and future residents, as the population demographics and housing needs are projected to change. The baby boomer population, the largest single family home buyer population in US history, tends to downsize and move to more turn-key housing options such as condominiums, apartments, and full service Senior Living Communities. The millennial population tends to be reluctant to, or has delayed the purchase of a home and prefers a more walkable and socially connected environment with close proximity to goods and services, not unlike the shared amenities and accessibility sought by boomers. Additionally, should a resident wish to downsize to reduce utility costs, maintenance, and upkeep there will be little to no alternatives available and may seek residence elsewhere. Alternatively, an employer wishing to attract unique talent may not be able to compete with other similar companies in competing communities that offer housing choices other than conventional single-family homes.

The City will implement tools and incentives such as Area Specific Plans, the Subdivision Ordinance and Zoning Codes to create housing diversity and set aside land in suitable areas of the community for multi- family, small lot cluster homes, large lots, affordable housing, etc. Not doing so limits the choices and the ability to meet the needs of residents. The City has twenty homes designated for low income families operated by the Pinal County Housing Authority. A Housing Needs Assessment study is necessary to clearly define areas of need and an implementation plan to expand housing options in Maricopa.

Goal B2.1: Partner with developers to identify innovative strategies for providing housing diversity for all ages and income levels.
Objective B2.1.1: Conduct a detailed citywide housing needs assessment that addresses community needs, diversity, design, housing stock and affordability.
Objective B2.1.2: Partner with non-profits and private sector to address unmet housing needs.
Objective B2.1.3: Establish adequate standards and programs to address housing needs in designated redevelopment areas.
Objective B2.1.4: Evaluate aesthetic design standards for housing to assure the provision of unique and quality housing choices.
Objective B2.1.5: Encourage certain areas of the City to rezone to mixed-use to permit higher density housing consistent with Master Plans, Strategic Plans, and the Village Center planning concept.
Objective B2.1.6: Encourage home ownership through workshops and programs for homebuyers.
Objective B2.1.7: Encourage the development of senior living options such as home modification and assistance programs for agingin-place and the development of communities offering independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and memory care.
Objective B2.1.8: Expand housing options to include live/work and other mixed-use.
Goal B2.2: Assure the development of a diverse housing stock in both dwelling type and density.
Objective B2.2.1: Identify and use available tools, including area specific plans, zoning and subdivision standards, to promote housing diversity in both type and lot size for existing and future PAD’s.
Objective B2.2.2: Promote higher density infill housing, live/work, and mixed uses in proximity to transit corridors and other appropriate locations.

3. Rehabilitation & Redevelopment

Rehabilitation & Redevelopment Areas and Special Planning Areas are denoted on the Future Land Use map for key areas in the City that represent multiple development and redevelopment alternatives. Redevelopment improves the quality of the built environment, encourages appreciation for the City’s history and culture, maintains the character and identity of communities, and contributes to the City’s economic vitality. Planning studies have occurred in the past for some areas and are recommended as a prelude to rezoning and/or development approvals. Substantial land use flexibility is preferred in support of the unique development opportunities associated with each area. Appropriate land uses include those furthering the General Plan’s agreed upon Vision, Goals, Objectives and Recommendations.

a. Heritage District Redevelopment Area

The Heritage District Redevelopment Area is the original town site of Maricopa and represents the historical heart and identity of the community. In 2009, a citizen driven redevelopment area plan was adopted setting in motion a unified and cohesive vision for facilitating the long term prosperity, welfare and health of the 3.1 square mile area. The redevelopment area plan provides the community with greater flexibility in encouraging desirable projects with incentives and assistance through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and other mechanisms, while promoting and facilitating investment and appropriate development in the area. It is critical that this original town site of Maricopa be revitalized to offer a unique urban core experience for residents and visitors. One that embraces Maricopa’s history, culture, and a place where people can live, work and play in close proximity.

The Heritage District is identified as the first mixed use Village Center planning area for Maricopa. An advisory board was created in 2009 to oversee development and revitalization efforts. They are tasked with advising the City leadership on the implementation of the Redevelopment Area Plan, the Heritage District Design Guidelines, and as of 2015 the implementation of the Mixed Use-Heritage Overlay Zoning designation.

The overlay zoning district is intended to allow for the transformation of the Heritage District into a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented, mixed use neighborhood, consistent with the Redevelopment Area Plan, the Heritage District Design Guidelines, and mixed use development standards. The adaptive reuse of existing buildings for residential and commercial uses is supported with a focus on active home based businesses, storefronts, and where viable, upper-floor residences and pedestrianand transit-oriented development to encourage pedestrian activity and connectivity to adjacent areas.

The City will take deliberate actions to develop the Heritage District with a strong identity as a mixed use urban core for the City which reflects the rich culture and historical character of Maricopa. The ultimate goal is to encourage diverse and attractive redevelopment that supports a mix of residential, pedestrian, and neighborhood serving uses in order to achieve an active social environment within a revitalized streetscape while also respecting the existing character.

The Redevelopment Area Plan requires an update to address new opportunities resulting from various changes that have occurred in this area. Refer to the Economic Development and Circulation & Connectivity Elements for additional goals and objectives addressing the redevelopment of the Heritage District.

Goal B3.1: Update and implement the Redevelopment Area Plan for the Heritage District, to reflect changes impacting the area and to integrate the SR-347 Overpass design and alignment.
Objective B3.1.1: Redevelopment Area Plan (RDA) update shall also serve as the Village Center Area Specific Plan for the area.
Objective B3.1.2: Prepare housing inventory and needs assessment for the area independently or in conjunction with a City-wide housing needs assessment.
Objective B3.1.3: Identify a Redevelopment Area staff liaison/project manager to coordinate multiple department and agency efforts and to communicate with stakeholders, area residents, property owners, and business owners.
Objective B3.1.4: Consider the RDA direction to rebuild the historic train station as part of the Transportation Center and Amtrak train station. Develop a Transit Center and Park–n-Ride in the Redevelopment Area.
Objective B3.1.5: Consider opportunities for a Heritage Park / town square in the RDA update. This public/private space could include the Water Tower with linkages to future Amtrak station, a Railroad Heritage Park and Visitor Center, and the relocation of the Zephyr train car as recommended in RDA.
Goal B3.2: PTOS Master Plan update shall assess needs and provide recommendations for the Heritage District, incorporating the SR-347 Overpass design and alignment.
Objective B3.2.1: Assess park, recreation, amenities, and trail connectivity for the Heritage District in the PTOS Master Plan Update. Provide connectivity to transit and employment opportunities planned on the adjacent Gin site and the surrounding properties.
Objective B3.2.2: Identify funding sources and mechanisms to support capital improvements. CDBG funds should be designated for Capital Improvement projects within or in support of Heritage District redevelopment.
Goal B3.3: Prepare and implement a Capital Improvement Plan for the Heritage Redevelopment Area.
Objective B3.3.1: Implement a Capital Improvement Plan for the Redevelopment Area, including: removal of properties from the 100 year floodplain; Adequate wastewater sewer facilities; complete streets roadway standards; Gateway entry theming and improvements; themed street lights and signage; parity for adequate levels of service equal to other areas of the City.
Objective B3.3.2: Identify funding sources and mechanisms to support capital improvements. CDBG funds should be designated for Capital Improvement projects within or in support of Heritage District redevelopment.
Objective B3.3.3: Develop community enhancement programs, such as the façade improvement programs. Eliminate or completely screen outdoor storage areas and other visual nuisances from public rights of way and monitor them for health and safety hazards.
Objective B3.3.4: Receive a 100 year water certificate for Heritage District properties to remove barrier for future subdivisions and vertical condominium regimes.
Objective B3.3.5: Develop Entryway / Gateway Identity and sense of arrival for the Heritage Area using art and elements that reflect the community Heritage in the 347 Overpass design. Improve intersection entrances into Heritage District area to strengthen sense of arrival and reinforce the unique identity of the area.
Objective B3.3.6: Require demolition of all vacant and boarded up buildings with no plans for reuse after a specific time period.
Goal B3.4: Prepare and implement an economic development strategy for the Heritage District to synchronize with other plans and policies that encourage redevelopment, new facilities, jobs, and incentives to attract investment.
Objective B3.4.1: Economic Development strategy should promote Heritage District as a “favored” location for new development. Develop a tool bag of incentives and resources to help residents, business owners, and potential developers upgrade and expand existing businesses. Consider flexibility in codes for redevelopment in Heritage Area and incentives to encourage investment, such as property tax relief, temporary sales tax relief, etc.
Objective B3.4.2: Create a distinct Heritage District Village brand and marketing plan that encourages investment to promote home based businesses, adaptive reuse, and redevelopment opportunities for the area in accordance with applicable land use policies.
Objective B3.4.3: Investigate, identify and secure funding sources, including partnerships, for grants and loans that support economic development programs for redevelopment and revitalization.

b. Seven Ranches Area

Historically a rural residential enclave, the Seven Ranches has been broken into smaller land parcels creating significant obstacles to any coordinated development other than low density residential. Property maintenance and aesthetic issues serve as a disincentive for investment. The General Plan supports consolidation of smaller parcels to foster orderly redevelopment. For smaller parcels, low density residential is encouraged, while consolidated, non-residential development and related rezoning requests on parcels five acres or greater should be supported. It should be noted that Seven Ranches is only one of two large lot residential enclaves in Maricopa that offer an alternative housing choice to conventional single family production home sites.

In recent years, a number of abutting lots in Seven Ranches have been purchased by entities, potentially easing future coordinated development efforts. Parcels fronting Honeycutt road have been rezoned for commercial uses, though no new development has occurred. Honeycutt roadway was widened to its full improvement in 2015. Sanitary Sewer does not exist for the Seven Ranches properties and there is limited water pressure available for fire suppression.

In 2012, the City was fortunate to be selected and receive a preliminary planning evaluation and assessment for Seven Ranches from the American Planning Association. The Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) organized a citizen led community visioning and planning process resulting in a final report. The CPAT provided a summary of recommendations to address roadway needs, drainage, and recommended development scenarios for further exploration.

Goal B3.5: Prepare a comprehensive Area Specific Plan to guide future land use, design, and necessary improvements of the Seven Ranches area.
Objective B3.5.1: Build upon the CPAT Final Report and revisit the community visioning and engagement process to determine desires of stakeholders and residents for further planning efforts. This could include the creation and appointment of a Seven Ranches Advisory Group.
Objective B3.5.2: Further analyze opportunities and constraints, develop alternatives, and prepare a comprehensive land use and infrastructure plan to assess future development proposals and capital improvements.
Objective B3.5.3: Require demolition of all vacant and boarded up buildings with no plans for reuse after a specific time period.

c. Saddleback Estates

Saddleback Estates is located in the southeastern portion of Maricopa. This area is one quarter section of land (or 160 acres) and consists of approximately 60 privately owned parcels. The home sites are on one acre minimum parcels with access from unimproved dirt roads, some through private access easement agreements which have posed access issues in the past. The area is generally characterized by an aging housing stock with many unmaintained properties, outdoor storage and some land uses that appear commercial or light industrial in nature. The roadways in this area have at-grade wash crossings and are subject to flooding, limiting the access during times of inclement weather.

A new single family development is approved abutting the north boundary of Saddleback Estates. The proposed development relies on the Saddleback access ways for secondary emergency access. Roadway dedications are needed to allow City services and improvements to the existing and future homes in this area.

Goal B3.6: Prepare a comprehensive Area Specific Plan to guide future land use, design, and necessary improvements of the Saddleback Estates area.
Objective B3.6.1: Implement a community visioning and engagement process to determine desires of Saddleback Estates stakeholders and residents for further planning efforts.
Objective B3.6.2: Further analyze opportunities and constraints, develop alternatives, and prepare a comprehensive land use and infrastructure plan to assess future development proposals and capital improvements.
Objective B3.6.3: Require demolition of all vacant and boarded up buildings with no plans for reuse after a specific time period.

4. Special Planning Areas

a. Estrella Gin Site

landuse-img08The Estrella Gin Business Park site is a 50+ acre, City-owned parcel of land located east of the Heritage District within the Redevelopment Area. Planned to be developed through a public-private partnership, it is the City’s flagship project to spur local economic growth. The goal for the business park is to provide employment opportunities for local residents by allowing expanding businesses to remain in the community and to attract new industry to Maricopa. Approximately 40 acres is available for commercial development, which will include a mix of industrial, office and flex industrial space.

b. Copper Sky Mixed Use

In 2010, City leadership undertook community outreach and visioning exercises to capture the citizens desires to assist the planning and design of a variety of City facilities, including a Regional Park, Aquatics Center and a Multi-Generational Center. A result of the citizen outreach process was the 140 acre Regional Parks Master Plan that integrates a Multigenerational Center, Park, and Aquatic Center (now known as Copper Sky Regional Park and Multigenerational Center) with a Police Substation and an 18 acre mixed–use development.

The City opened the Copper Sky Recreation complex in 2014 and is the premier sporting, fitness, recreation and leisure destination in Maricopa (Refer to Parks, Recreation and Open Space & Public Facilities Elements). To take advantage of the regional attractions at the complex, 18 acres of highway frontage has been reserved for future commercial and hospitality development. The vision is to transform the 18 acre property into a high-quality mixed-use destination that compliments the Copper Sky Recreation Complex and delivers significant social and economic impact on the community.

landuse-img09The mixed-use site offers great visibility and access with more than 1,100 feet of frontage on SR- 347, Maricopa’s main retail corridor and north-south connection to I-10 and I-8. The adjacent 120-acre Copper Sky Recreation Complex opened in March 2014 and is a year-round destination for sports, fitness, recreation, and leisure activities. With a projected 500,000 visitors in its first year, it has quickly become the center of activity in Maricopa. The Copper Sky property is further discussed in the Economic Development Element and the Public Facilities Element.

Goal B4.1: Establish a Copper Sky District as part of an effort to develop Specific Area Plans.
Objective B4.1.1: Work with appropriate Boards, Committees and the Planning & Zoning Commission to create design guidelines that promote and propagate distinct local architecture within the Copper Sky District.

c. City Center

landuse-img10In 2010, City leadership undertook community outreach and visioning exercises to capture the citizens desires to assist the planning and design of the City Hall Complex. A result of the citizen outreach process was the conceptual design of the future City Center, which includes a City Hall and spaces for other public buildings and City services, a civic mall open space, a performing arts and cultural center, and a museum all located in the heart of a 145 acre mixed–use development.

In 2013, the City opened the new City Hall and Police Station that was developed on 28 acres of the site, leaving 117 acres of land for the remaining civic facilities and mixed use development. Further planning and entitlement of the property is needed to prepare the site for private development. The City Center property is further discussed in the Economic Development Element and the Public Facilities Element.

Goal B4.2: Establish a Civic Center District as part of an effort to develop Specific Area Plans.
Objective B4.2.1: Work with appropriate Boards, Committees and the Planning & Zoning Commission to create design guidelines to promote and propagate distinct local architecture within the Civic Center District.

d. Arizona State Land Development

Within the planning area, there is a mix of land ownership including Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) holdings (See Land Use Map). Since ASLD’s inception in 1912, its mission has been to manage the Land Trust and to maximize its revenues for the 13 beneficiaries of the trust. All uses of the land must benefit the Trust, a fact that distinguishes it from the way public land, such as parks or national forests, may be used. While public use of Trust land is not prohibited, it is regulated to ensure protection of the land and compensation to the beneficiaries for its use.

ASLD held land may eventually transfer to private interests, through sale or lease, for residential, commercial, or employment development, or for agricultural or natural resource extraction uses. State land parcels with high scenic or habitat attributes may be designated or otherwise preserved for conservation pursuant to applicable State laws. The City of Maricopa actively pursues the planning of State Trust Lands located within the planning area and will continue to work closely with the ASLD. It is the intent of the City to work in cooperation with the ASLD to design successful comprehensive land use plans for State Land parcels.

5. Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization

Maricopa strives to provide a quality physical and social environment for its citizens and places high value on the preservation and enhancement of its neighborhoods. Maricopa citizens stress the importance of neighborhoods and their desire to maintain quality standards and aesthetics. Prior to 2000, the City consisted of three primary neighborhoods – Heritage District area, Seven Ranches, and Saddleback Estates, all of which are discussed for planning and improvements in the Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Element, Section II. B3. These neighborhoods are the highest priority for neighborhood preservation and revitalization efforts.

Maricopa is unique in that the majority of homes are located within planned communities mostly constructed since 2000. These communities exhibit contemporary design principles with interconnected amenities and open spaces, sidewalks and streetlights, community gathering spaces, recreational opportunities, CC&R’s and active Home Owners Associations (HOA).

Moving forward, the City must preserve and enhance the qualities that make Maricopa’s neighborhoods safe, orderly, and vibrant. Close cooperation and coordination with HOA Boards and management companies are crucial to monitoring and improving the well-being of neighborhoods. It will be equally as critical to sensitively revitalize the older neighborhoods to promote redevelopment and improvements that celebrate their unique character, history, and culture. The goals and policies of this element recognize that the preservation and revitalization of Maricopa’s older neighborhoods is critical to maintaining and strengthening the health, safety, prosperity, and enjoyment of the community.

Goal B5.1: Develop and institute a Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization policy.
Objective B5.1.1: Utilize existing SmartGOV technology to build processes and procedures to allow the City, HOA Managers, and residents continued assessment of neighborhood needs and activities.
Objective B5.1.2: Streamline procedures for code compliance to maximize the effectiveness of both City and HOA resources. HOAs and the City have uniquely different and complimentary tools that can be highly effective for preserving a quality neighborhood character.
Objective B5.1.3: Specific policies, time frames and responsibilities for positive actions to achieve these goals, objectives and recommendations are identified in the City’s CIP and the City Council’s Strategic Plan.
Objective B5.1.4: Implement rehabilitation, revitalization, and redevelopment for older neighborhoods as prescribed in the Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Element.