In May 2020, the Town Council unanimously approved the Fountain Hills General Plan to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot for a vote by our citizens. The Plan is required under State Statute and is an important guide for how the community will grow and change over the next decade. This will replace the 2010 General Plan, which has provided an overall vision for staff and elected leaders over the last 10 years.
The General Plan is the foundation for much of our official town business. It is used to establish zoning regulations, develop our Strategic Plan, create Capital Improvements Plans, amend the Town Code and can be used to secure grant funding.
A Public Participation Plan utilized a variety of outlets to invite community members and stakeholders to take part in creating the Plan, including personal invitations, the Times, the town’s website and social media, brochures at Town Hall, the library, the Community Center and other public spaces. As a result, the consultant team solicited more than 200 comments utilizing a Technical Advisory Committee and Stakeholders Team, two facilitated public open houses, three school forums, the Dark Sky Festival booth, and email comments.
In this recommended plan, you will find three primary components that will help guide our town through the 2020s, under the motto “Fountain Hills Thrives.” They are:
1. “Thriving Neighborhoods” addresses housing, neighborhood preservation/revitalization, neighborhood-scale amenities and neighborhood safety to support healthy, complete and vibrant neighborhoods.
2. “Thriving Environment” integrates all aspects of the built, social and natural environments by carefully knitting growth areas, infill, redevelopment, revitalization and place-based land use. It utilizes a character-areas approach, connectivity, access and mobility, supporting circulation for all travel modes for parks, recreation, trails and open space. Resource protection, energy conservation, air and water quality, infrastructure and public services cohesively are integral parts of Fountain Hills.
3. “Thriving Economy” supporting a strategic economic development approach to achieve the long-range viability of the town and providing specific mechanisms to finance new development.
The General Plan is not just words in a document. It represents the way staff and elected leaders address important short- and long-term policies, strategies and objectives that will define Fountain Hills for a decade. For instance, it provides a framework for decisions related to development proposals of public and private lands, the expenditure of funds and the continuity for addressing land use issues over time, and between governing bodies.
The General Plan provides guidance to balance competing private interests, community appearance, character and distinctive sense of place. It helps frame economic development strategies, protection from destruction and degradation of valued environmental resources, provides a factual and objective basis to support zoning decisions and can be used to defend challenges in court.
To summarize, the General Plan identifies the overarching principle that supports Fountain Hills’ vision: Carefully and thoughtfully integrating neighborhoods, the environment (built, natural and social) and the economy to maintain a thriving community. This principle seamlessly brings together the places we live, work, shop, go to school and recreate in a viable and sustainable manner.
It is this General Plan that provides a framework for our town’s future. It will appear on the General Election ballot for your vote. Find more detailed information at fh.az.gov/664/General-Plan-Update#RelatedDocs.