Executive Summary

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Sections of the Executive Summary:


The Maricopa General Plan is a general, long-range, comprehensive expression of the future vision of the City. The Plan implements the citizen-driven 2040 Vision Strategic Plan by providing specific focus on the vision goals and strategies and further detailing 15 year goals, objectives, and direction to guide public and private decisions related to growth and development of Maricopa and in the Maricopa Planning Area. The General Plan provides guidance to citizens regarding the physical development of the community, while giving property owners and developers a clear indication of policy directions affecting physical development. The Plan is a guide to City management, City departments, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council with specific regard to the City’s future development proposals, Capital Improvement Program, the Council’s Strategic Plan, and the annual City Budget.

The City of Maricopa General Plan is divided into three sections:

  • Section I: Introduction contains guidance for using the General Plan document, identifies the basic assumptions for organizing Maricopa’s planning principles, and provides direction for administering the plan.
  • Section II: General Plan Elements are the subject matter components that provide a logical, comprehensive structure for planning the City. In Arizona, growing municipalities of over 50,000 in population are required to address a number of elements pertinent to sustainable growth and development of Cities and Towns.
  • Section III: General Plan Implementation identifies the actions necessary to ensure that the policies and objectives of the Maricopa General Plan are carried out effectively. It highlights policy coordination with the City’s 2040 Vision Strategic Plan, specific General Plan monitoring actions, and provides guidelines for land use decision-making.

The General Plan is intended to provide a framework for all of the interrelated functions of the City of Maricopa. The goals and policies in the General Plan are implemented through ordinances, regulations, ongoing procedures, recommendations from City boards, committees and commissions, and decisions made by the City Council. The General Plan is also carried out by private actions and initiatives in the community. Whether public or private, implementation of the General Plan takes many forms. Some of the most recognizable applications of the General Plan include the City’s physical development, road expansions and roadway/transit planning, neighborhood revitalization projects, capital improvements, fiscal planning, budgeting and project funding, and recreation facilities.

The framework for the General Plan is regulated by the State of Arizona, which requires the General Plan to establish community-wide goals and development policies for a variety of topics. Every ten (10) years, the City is required to update its General Plan and send it to the Maricopa voters for ratification. The City is also required to render an annual report on the status of the General Plan and progress in its application.

Arizona State Statues require consistency between the adopted General Plan and all zoning regulations and rezoning actions. Applicants for such requests should refer to the whole document, as well as any adopted Functional (Master) Plan (Transportation Master Plan, etc) or Specific Area Plan, such as the Redevelopment Area Plan.

The General Plan is:

  • an expression of the preferences of residents and property owners
  • a statement of City policy designed to achieve the citizen’s vision
  • a framework for future plans and decision making
  • a means of enhancing the quality of life of the citizens
  • a legal requirement under Arizona State Law

The General Plan is not:

  • a tool to promote special interests
  • a rigid, unchanging or inflexible document
  • a detailed policy or ordinance for specific properties or areas
  • a Capital Improvement Plan
  • a zoning map

What’s New?

Planning Maricopa, which is the new title of the General Plan, updates the City of Maricopa General Plan 2006 to include new state requirements and reflect community, regional, and national changes that have occurred since the original plan was created. The following are some aspects of Planning Maricopa that are different from the 2006 General Plan:

  • Nine new elements to comply with statutes for a population exceeding 50,000:
    • Growth Element
    • Housing Element
    • Rehabilitation & Redevelopment Element
    • Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Element
    • Environmental Planning & Resource Conservation Element
    • Water Resources Element
    • Energy Element
    • Safety Element
    • Public Buildings (Facilities and Services) Element
  • New vision statement and a logical reorganization of the General Plan Elements
  • Focus on redevelopment, revitalization, and infill development to leverage existing public facilities and services to maximize existing resources.
  • Significantly reduced population projections and growth rate
  • New Growth Area + Employment Map
  • Land Use Pattern for concentrated Village Centers serving groups of surrounding neighborhoods
  • Emphasis on a multi-modal transportation system and relationship to land use decisions, public health, and an integrated economy.
  • Updated Land Use Map incorporating Village Center areas and new Employment designations along planned transportation corridors in the Planning Area
  • Updated Special Planning Area discussion
  • Emphasis on open space connectivity
  • Public Art (and Culture)Section
  • Human Services initiatives
  • Public communications initiatives
  • Smart Cities Initiatives
  • New Public Buildings Map
  • Expanded Level of Services discussion
  • Definition of General Plan Text Amendment criteria
  • Expanded tools for carrying out the General Plan Implementation and annual progress reporting

What’s NOT New?

  • The broad concepts of the 2006 General Plan are still applicable
  • Healthy single family housing lot inventory into 2030, need for housing diversity
  • Redevelopment of the Heritage District as a vibrant mixed use activity center
  • Regional transportation goals and coordination
  • Balance between housing and jobs
  • Need for increasing the retail sector and available commercial space
  • Major and Minor General Plan Amendment criteria

Introduction - Section I

The Introduction Section explains the history, culture, and context of Maricopa from its origins as a supply stop for covered wagons and the railroad, through the City’s incorporation in 2005. The Section outlines and explains the following topics and administrative functions:

  1. Preface
  2. How to Use the Plan
  3. Maricopa’s Vision for the Future
  4. General Plan Purpose
  5. Planning Assumptions & Principles
  6. Plan Administration
  7. Statutory Plan Requirements

Vision Statement

The City of Maricopa is a family friendly, vibrant community that offers diverse opportunities in culture, technology, education, business, entrepreneurship, transportation, entertainment, and recreation for all ages. A close-knit community of committed leaders, engaged citizens, and diverse partners with pride in our history, and a shared vision for a prosperous future.

-2040 Vision Strategic Plan

General Plan Elements - Section II

A. Growth Area Element

One of the primary functions of planning is to understand and accommodate various types of land use activities to achieve a sustainable balance of uses while enhancing assets and preserving resources. Land use activities need to be properly situated to ensure the health, safety, adequate public facilities, aesthetics, protection of property values and overall quality of life in the community. The purpose of this element is to link land use, transportation, facilities, and infrastructure with specific implementation tools such as zoning ordinances, strategic plans, the capital improvement program, etc. Sustainability is a core principle of Maricopa’s growth management strategy to guide community growth in a manner that will enhance the lives of residents for generations to come.

The Growth Area Element organizes the City’s growth strategy in the following segments:

  1. Commercial & Employment Growth
  2. Residential Growth
  3. Annexations

B. Land Use Element

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.

The Land Use Element organizes the City’s desired future land uses in the following sub-topics:

  1. Development Pattern
    1. Village Planning & Village Center Development Pattern
    2. Mixture of Uses
    3. Other Land Uses
    4. Land Use Plan
  2. Housing Element
  3. Redevelopment & Revitalization
    1. Heritage District Redevelopment Area
    2. Seven Ranches Area
    3. Saddleback Estates
  4. Special Planning Areas
    1. Estrella Gin Site
    2. Copper Sky Mixed Use
    3. City Center
    4. Arizona State Land Development
  5. Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization

C. Environmental Planning & Resource Conservation Element

The Environmental Planning & Resource Conservation element of the General Plan describes City of Maricopa’s efforts in the area of environmental sustainability and provides a framework for development that conserves resources to protect Maricopa’s future. This element addresses protection of air and water quality, land resources, and promoting healthy communities. The policies and strategies in this element are largely broad-based with community-wide applicability. The discussion and strategies are also intended to complement and support those identified in other sections.

  1. Air Quality
  2. Floodways & Washes
  3. Energy Element
  4. Water Resource Element
    1. Water Supply, and;
    2. Waste Water

D. Safety Element

Maricopa’s residents take comfort knowing they live in a safe community and where citizen involvement supports and upholds the value of safety and security in Maricopa. Maintaining a community in which all residents, businesses and visitors are safe requires the efficient and effective use of public safety resources and active citizen involvement in promoting safety and security in their own neighborhoods and community.

The Safety Element, in conjunction with the goals and policies of the Emergency Services section provide a framework to address the protection of the community from any risks associated with naturally occurring, human induced or national emergencies that could affect the City. Whether extreme climate, flooding, national disasters or even the handling and transportation of industrial chemicals, the City must be prepared to manage these risks through awareness and preparedness by way of adequate planning, staffing, training and infrastructure. There are two primary areas of real and perceived safety this element addresses: neighborhood safety and hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness. This element establishes the framework to ensure the City’s ability to prevent or respond to threats to the community.

E. Circulation & Connectivity Element

Maricopa strives for an integrated, citywide, regional, and multi-modal transportation system that is safe, functional and integrated with smart city practices. The Circulation & Connectivity Element is intended to guide the development of a citywide multi-modal transportation system integrated with, and in support of the land use element. Over the next 20 years, travel in the Maricopa planning area will dramatically increase proportionately with anticipated population growth in the region. In support of sustainable growth and economic development, the City’s circulation system will need to keep pace.

The Circulation and Connectivity Element serves as the City’s General Plan transportation element and consists of the following sub-elements:

  1. Introduction
  2. Regional Connections & Roadways
  3. Pedestrian & Bicycle Circulation
  4. Transit
  5. Circulation Plan

F. Economic Development Element

The Economic Development Element provides guidance and direction for planning to establish a fully integrated municipal economy providing opportunity for residents to live, work and play. The citizens of Maricopa envision an economically prosperous, dynamic and sustainable community. One that offers a government structure that is welcoming and supportive of business and employment growth. Since incorporation, this vision has been one of the City’s initial goals in an effort to ensure Maricopa is more than yet another bedroom community in Arizona. Jobs, revenue and financial stability contribute to a municipality’s economic health. The Economic Development Element seeks to promote these attributes by planning for increased household incomes, improving the community’s jobs-to- housing balance, and by attracting expanded retail, commercial and industrial business within the City of Maricopa’s target sectors, as updated from time to time in the Strategic Plan for Economic Development.

This element provides the framework for establishing an integrated local economy and consists of the following sub-elements:

  1. Introduction
  2. Assets and Advantages
  3. Economic Challenges
  4. Employment Centers & Corridors

G. Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element

The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element has been prepared to support the establishment of standards and levels of service criteria that lead to the creation of a full-service parks, recreation and open space system in Maricopa. Citizen preferences place high priority on developing and having adequate access to parks, recreation, leisure activities, community and cultural events and performing arts to serve the diverse community. The City has been playing ‘catch-up’ in meeting the needs for large scale open spaces and regional recreation amenities. This Element identifies a comprehensive network of park, open space, trails, and recreational amenities according to the needs and standards for Maricopa.

  1. Introduction
    1. Community Services Department
    2. Achievements from Previous Planning Efforts
    3. Role of Private Development
    4. Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Inventory
  2. Needs Analysis and Standards
  3. Open Space Plan
    1. General Open Space
    2. Public Health and Recreational Activity Opportunities
  4. Parks & Trails
    1. Neighborhood & HOA Parks
    2. Community, Village and Grand Parks
    3. Special Use Parks
    4. Paths and Trails – Paved and Unpaved
    5. Bicycle & Pedestrian Network
  5. Public Art

H. Public Buildings, Facilities and Services Element

Ensuring adequate public facilities and services demonstrate the City’s commitment to orderly growth. Certain services, like water and wastewater utilities, are privately provided in Maricopa, highlighting the need for cooperative efforts in maintaining acceptable levels of service at reasonable costs. The availability of public services and facilities will enable Maricopa to meet its future population expectations, accelerate growth in desired areas of the community, and, if needed, the flexibility to constrain development where growth is not desired. Developer provided infrastructure, coordinated with the City’s efforts (including Smart Cities Initiatives), is an important component of this Element.

  1. Public Buildings
  2. Public Services and Facilities
    1. Emergency Services
    2. Courts
    3. Community Services
    4. Human Services
    5. Solid Waste Collection and Disposal
    6. Flood Control
    7. Education Facilities
    8. Information Technology
    9. Communications
  3. Utility Services
    1. Water Services
    2. Wastewater Service
    3. Electric Service
    4. Natural Gas & Biofuels
    5. Telephone and High Speed Data
  4. Functional Plans
  5. Cost of Development Element

General Plan Implementation - Section III

The Implementation section identifies the actions necessary to ensure that the policies and objectives of the Maricopa General Plan are carried out effectively. The intent of this section is to explain the tools to implement the General Plan and to organize the listing of near-term implementation activities derived from the Goals, Objectives, and Policies within each Element and prioritize them for timely completion.

To ensure ongoing implementation of the Maricopa General Plan as an important, practical, up-to date, and consistent statement of City policy, the following implementation tools are utilized:

  1. The City Council Strategic Plan is reviewed and updated annually to include action-oriented policies to guide daily decision-making.
  2. Plan Monitoring for measuring performance and annual maintenance updates.
  3. Land Use & Development Decision Criteria to assist in evaluating proposed development projects and assure their consistency with General Plan principles.
  4. Implementation Work Program to organize the near-term implementation activities derived from the Goals, Objectives, and Policies within each element.