By Bridget Binsbacher,
Mesquite District Councilmember
Unless we have a zoning case that impacts our own neighborhood, most of us don’t spend much time pondering the rezoning process. Until we have to.
As the country reopens and the real estate market continues to be strong, we will surely see an increase in development activity. For the same reasons you and I live in this wonderful city, many others are attracted to our fabulous amenities and quality of life. All of this brings requests for more residential, more commercial, and more everything. And sometimes it all begins with a request for a change in land use – an application for rezoning.
It is important to start with the basics – the General Plan. A General Plan is simply a policy document that establishes the community’s aspirational vision and goals. Our General Plan is used to guide Peoria’s decisions relative to land use, public services, infrastructure, and resource management. The state of Arizona requires that a General Plan be ratified by voters at least every ten years. The Peoria General Plan 2040 was ratified by 67% of our voters in November 2020.
A general plan is not to be confused with zoning. Although both the general plan and the zoning ordinance designate how land may be developed, they do so in different ways.
A general plan has a broad, long-term outlook. It identifies the desired land use intensity, the spatial relationships among land uses, and the general pattern of future development.
A zoning ordinance regulates current development through specific standards such as lot size, building setbacks, height, and allowable uses.
Changes to the zoning map are required to be consistent with the adopted general plan map. Development must not only meet the specific requirements of the zoning ordinance, but also the broader policies set forth in the general plan.
If an applicant chooses to file a rezoning request, the City Code provides for a full public process. Notification is provided every step of the way: upon submittal, prior to the required neighborhood meeting, and prior to public hearings before the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council. Through this inclusive and very public process, Peoria residents will have access to the public record and the Planning Department staff.
The City of Peoria strongly relies on the public hearing process – as well as the importance of the community’s input and feedback on what is important to you and your quality of life. In addition to the legal framework, this public input informs and shapes the evolution of the development project.
And at the end of the day, our goal is your goal – to have the Peoria we all desire.