Based on community input received, Tempe city officials have drafted a redevelopment plan for north Tempe. The plan, officials say, aims to redesign current development in the Papago area and will work as a blueprint for future city projects.
On Sept. 13, Tempe City Principal Planner, Ambika P. Adhikari, along with Neighborhood Services Director, Shauna Warner, headed a meeting discussing the North Tempe Character Area Plan.
The draft works as a public-reviewed guide for the city of Tempe’s general plan and provides a link between the city and its communities. According to the 2040 Tempe general plan, “Character Areas recognize areas or groups of neighborhoods that contain common design, land use and commercial characteristics distinct from neighboring areas.”
The North Tempe Character Area Plan discusses 14 principles for designing and planning within the area north of Loop 202.
Tempe provided three surveys to factor community input toward the principals. The first survey, in April, had 91 voluntary responses to seven open questions. According to a May 11, presentation, the key points brought up by public responses were to increase open space, create more shaded paths, and create environment-friendly designs.
The second wave of surveys consisted of 106 responses and an additional 60 responses from Laird Elementary School students.
City documents show most public concern for future planning was toward extreme heat management, shade, and climate change.
Two of the surveys do not provide collected analytics, however, the May-to-June survey show 106 respondents, 84 provided information, and that out of this, 72 or 90% of respondents were white.
As stated within Adhikari’s September presentation, The Papago Park, North Tempe area, takes up 8.4% of Tempe within 3.35 square miles and holds 486 businesses with a population of 9,920 people.
The area is divided into four sub-areas called the Papago Business Center, Papago Park Preserve and Recreation, Scottsdale Road Business Corridor & Neighborhoods, and Indian Bend Wash/McClintock Corridor.
According to the March 15- April 4 forum survey, residents of north Tempe were additionally concerned about “walkable healthy grocer options,” and “additional annexation of the county island. More family-related shopping ... less run down motels/gas stations/liquor stores/ adult entertainment venues and sex shops.”
Within the third sub-area, The Scottsdale Business corridor, a county island is formed between Curry Road, Scovel Street, Loop 202, and Scottsdale Road. The County Island is a plot of land not included within the city of Tempe, rather it’s an island within the greater Maricopa County.
According to the Character Area 1 Draft, the island “consists of industrial, opens storage, vacant lands, and adult entertainment land uses,” and that,
“During the public consultation process, many residents have expressed their desire to see this area incorporated into the city... Residents seemed specifically concerned about the current uses of adult entertainment, and open storage in the island.”
Editor’s note: Mr. Sutter is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University