Council Voting on Two Important Long-range Plans at December 15 Council Meeting

The Council will be voting on two important long-range plans at next Tuesday’s Council meeting on December 15 that will play an important role in shaping our community over the next decade and beyond. They are:

  • MAJOR AMENDMENT TO THE CITY’S GENERAL PLAN.Cities across the country create General Plans to help guide public decision-making on future development. General Plans are typically updated every 10 years, but it’s common for this plan to be amended as a city’s needs change.During the course of this year, the City’s Community Development Department has been working on a major amendment to the land-use element of the Surprise General Plan. The amendment removes the Village Plan requirements from the development process and, instead, replaces it with the “Character Area” planning approach.The Character Area approach places a greater emphasis on a common vision of land-use concepts and building forms for a defined area, rather than assigning traditional land-use categories to a specific area. This provides more flexibility in the planning process.

    Over the past couple of months, Community Development staff engaged residents in the amendment process by hosting a community open house and enabling residents to provide written comments on the new draft planning document. In addition, off-site public hearings were held to collect citizen comments.

    The City Council will be providing citizens and other community stakeholders one last opportunity to provide input on the major amendment to the General Plan before voting on the item. The public hearing will begin shortly after 6 p.m.

    The Surprise General Plan is a very important document as the City Council, Planning Commission and city staff use the document when evaluating land-use changes and to help make decisions on development proposals. So, we need to hear from you! If you want to address the Council directly on the proposed changes to the General Plan, please attend the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 15.

  • SURPRISE PARKS AND RECREATION MASTER PLAN UPDATE.Another important planning document that will impact the city’s future is the Surprise Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update. Council will vote on this plan at Tuesday’s Council meeting. The goals of the updated document include improving our residents’ quality of life by reinvesting in our existing parks, promoting active recreation, sports and sports tourism, providing a connected park system and pursuing opportunities to acquire new parks and create open space.It is important that we have such a plan in place to help guide future decision making as growth occurs and available funding becomes available over the next 15 years. Regional population experts predict that Surprise’s population will double by 2030.Although a master plan is much-needed and an important first step in preparing for future needs, I’d like to see us begin prioritizing specific parks projects in five-year increments – and in what order – once the plan is approved. This approach will provide residents with more information and a clearer idea as to when and where new parks and park facilities would be built and the funding requirements to build and operate them. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update aligns with the proposed major amendment to the General Plan.

You can obtain additional information on these two items as well as view the entire agenda for Tuesday’s Council meeting by visiting http://agenda.surpriseaz.gov/.

Finally, since this is my last Mayor’s eBulletin this year, I want to conclude my message by thanking you for providing me the amazing opportunity to serve as Mayor of our fine city. I take my role in serving as an advocate for you and other residents throughout our city very seriously. And, I’m extremely grateful for all the positive and supportive messages and feedback that I’ve received from so many of you throughout the year.

The holiday season is the time of year when we really need to pause from all the ‘hustle and bustle’ and spend time with family and friends who are important in our lives.

I extend my best wishes to all of you for a safe and joyful holiday season and for a 2016 that will be filled with health and happiness.