Log in


Shafer: New general plan amendments mean residents will have less say in what gets built around them


The city of Peoria is planning to amend it's General Plan so that it will be easier to bring a new airport and other projects into our boundaries. The amendment will create a new land use category for Arizona State Land, where these new projects are planned.

But most north Peoria residents oppose an airport, and enjoy the desert lifestyle that currently exists.

The General Plan is Peoria’s overarching city policy document that serves as a roadmap to the city's future.

The voters approved it in November 2020 and now, 3.5 years later, the city wants to make Arizona State Trust land changes. This seems convenient given the timing of the proposed airport in north Peoria.

Currently, anything bigger than 80 acres must go through a much more rigorous public engagement process and is considered a “major change.” Now the city is proposing to change that threshold to 640 acres, which is the same size as nearly eight Paloma Parks or approximately 100 acres larger than the Vistancia commercial core. This means that residents will have less say in what gets built around them.

I also strongly oppose adding the definition that allows any state trust land, no matter the size in acreage to be a “minor change.” That means the entire 8,300 acres of State Trust Land in north Peoria would be considered a “minor change” and require minimal public input.

The city is also proposing changing the Park/Open Space and Waterway land to Arizona State Trust Land use classification and removing “State Trust Land parcels with high scenic value or habitat may be designated or otherwise preserved...” If this is passed, 10 years from now, north Peoria will have no open spaces, will be nothing more than a concrete jungle that will be hardly recognizable.

The proposed land use map adds additional urban residential just south of Vistancia/Trilogy, and creates industrial along SR74 as you enter Lake Pleasant. Lake Pleasant is a regional destination for outdoor recreation and the last thing I want to see before I get to the lake is manufacturing and industrial buildings.

Changes to the General Plan should go to the voters. They approved the General Plan and they should have a vote on the changes.

Some members in the current administration prefer to move at the speed of business, but this is not a business. This is the city we live in, this is our home and "we the people" are in charge, and our residents should have the right for their voices to be heard, especially when it comes to such significant revisions that would negativity impact so many of our valued residents.