Land Use & Development Decision Criteria

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General Plan implementation is an incremental process that includes all plans and improvements to property in the City. Each property, when it is proposed for a change of use, built upon, developed or redeveloped, or revitalized, can make a positive contribution to achieving Maricopa’s 2040 Vision. Much of the Plan implementation occurs on a case-by-case basis through review of proposed rezonings, development plans, conditional uses, plats, public improvements, and facilities. Implementation also occurs on a daily basis within the City administration through an ongoing system of analysis, studying the situation, and reaching rational conclusions about community needs and the best courses of City action within the framework established by the General Plan.

This Plan encourages consistent public and private decisions that will result in logical and sustainable development. Criteria for assessing various types of development may be applied as standards and guides to decision-making by the City Council, its advisory boards, committees, and commissions (especially the Planning and Zoning Commission) and City staff. Development standards, specific area (or character area) plans, and guidelines may be incorporated, as appropriate, into municipal codes or may be added to or refined in practice without requiring a major General Plan Amendment. The following is a list of existing city codes and guidelines, which may be updated or expanded from time to time to implement this Plan:

  • City Code – Many General Plan policies are implemented through regulations adopted by the City of Maricopa, based upon the City’s “police power” to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The City Code is comprised of detailed regulations on a variety of areas, including but not limited to, zoning, subdivision development, building and fire codes, public safety, storm water management, services, etc.

  • Master, Character Area, and Strategic Plans – These plans are detailed plans for specific functions of the City. They typically include specific project recommendations, feasibility assesment, cost analysis, and other provisions and are updated on a 2-5 year basis. While the General Plan provides broad goals and community direction, master plans provide the methods and means for realizing them. Examples of master plans include, but are not limited to, the Transportation Master Plan, Community Services Master Plan (Parks, Trails, and open Space Master Plan), Safe Routes to School Master Plan, Economic Development Strategic Plan, and Redevelopment Area Plans. These plans are distinguished from master development plans for specific development projects, which are governed by the Zoning Code and Subdivision Ordinance.

  • Character Area Plans – Character Area Plans work to define, maintain, or enhance a desired character for an area. They link the broad policy direction of the General Plan with more detailed policies and implementation projects for specific geographic areas of the city. The existing Redevelopment Area Plan and the Heritage District Design Guidelines act as a Character Area Plan in conjunction with the redevelopment plan.

  • Design Guidelines and Standards – Design Guidelines and standards provide the framework for evaluating proposals on the basis of design, architecture, context, compatibility, landscaping, and other factors. Maricopa’s design guidelines include, but are not limited to, the Land Development Code, Heritage District Design Guidelines, Single-Family Residential Design Guidelines, and the Design Guidelines for Wireless Communication Facilities.