The city of Peoria’s general plan appears on Nov. 3 ballots, giving residents the chance to weigh in on how the city looks for the next 20 years.
The plan shows many changes from the general plan voters passed in 2010.
“This plan is pretty much a complete reformulation of the general plan as we had it,” Peoria Planning Director Chris Jacques said. “We’re recognizing some of the socio-demographic changes that are occurring, so the plan has more reliance on mixed use … and more reliance on distinctive places and places where people can gather.”
Allowing residents to provide input on the plan, over the last two years the city has had open houses and workshops, with social media updates.
The Plan Peoria 2040 vision statement: “In 2040, Peoria is a safe, connected, engaged, vibrant and livable community that emphasizes fiscal responsibility and thoughtful growth to ensure a healthy city for all citizens.”
The plan is designed as “a road map for growth and development over the next 10-20 years.” All Arizona municipalities are required to have a general plan, which must be maintained and adopted by public vote every 10 years.
Peoria’s plan has been updated around six livability goals: healthy neighborhoods; arts, culture and recreational enrichment; economic prosperity; superior public services; smart growth and integrated transportation.
Over the next 20 years, the plan is committed to protecting and growing public centers in Peoria—with a focus on Old Town. The general plan envisions a revitalization plan for the historic blocks of Downtown Peoria.
That sounded good to one Old Town business owner.
“Our dream is that Driftwood would be a place of community for friendships to begin and these improvements will help us get there,” said Lance Linderman, co-owner of Driftwood Coffee near Jefferson Street and 83rd Avenue.
The revitalization plan for Old Town includes large, fluorescent local gateway signage; a water tower; and an array of dancing lights and seating. Also stressed in the plan are designs for less obstructed views and a theme of water structures and canals throughout the center.
“We’re trying to move into a period where we have more distinctive development areas. … We’re looking for environments where somebody can go out and be a part of a well-balanced community,” Jacques said.
Peoria also requires an annual report for review of the plan, which can be amended each year.
“Every time you have a long-term plan like this, it’s always going to be tricky, it always sounds good, but you never know what they could change along the line. It is good to have an overarching plan … but you just never know,” said Christian Turner, Peoria resident and small-business worker.
To be effective, Jacques noted, the plan must remain flexible.
“We understand that the general plan is a framework, but it’s going to be adjusted and refined year by year so what you do see is some minor amendments that occur annually, just to keep the general plan updated and relevant,” Jacques said.
General plan amendments are to be initiated by city council, the city manager or Peoria’s planning and zoning commission.
“At the council meeting, (residents) can come and make a comment. We would evaluate that comment and determine if that should be a change to the general plan,” Jacques said.
“This general plan is trying to understand the trends that are occurring and adapt to those trends,” Jacques said.