Scottsdale rewrites zoning lexicon - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Scottsdale rewrites zoning lexicon

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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:57 am | Updated: 9:43 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

January 19, 2005

Scottsdale wants to ensure its urban revitalization endeavors don’t stumble over ambiguous words and fuzzy concepts.

The city’s planning and development agency is clarifying exactly what is meant by "alley," "shelter," "net lot area,’’ "building volume’’ and other basic construction and development terms.

It is trying to script precise stipulations for what constitutes commercial enterprises such as fitness studios, health clubs, corporate retreats, live entertainment venues and teen dance centers.

City planners will host an open house today for residents who want to examine the wording and definitions in proposals for an updated zoning ordinance the Scottsdale Planning Commission and City Council expect to complete this year.

The attention to detail is aimed at avoiding disputes with developers and businesses that can arise from confusing language and loose explanations in government regulations, said Planning Commission chairman David Gulino.

A well-worded zoning ordinance will be especially critical for city officials in the next few years as they face regulatory decisions on major revitalization efforts in south Scottsdale’s older neighborhoods, downtown commercial districts, the Scottsdale Airpark industrial area and the planned Arizona State University Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation at the former Los Arcos Mall site.

"Some things in our (zoning) ordinance are vague. . . . It’s going to be real important to prevent misinterpretations" so that those projects meet the city’s expectations, Gulino said.

For example, development projects have been bogged down by debates over the meaning of "adjoining," such as "Are two zoning districts separated by a street adjoining or not?’’ noted city planner Kira Wauwie.

Zoning regulations to which planners are trying to add specificity will affect more than revitalization projects. They’ll have an impact on everything from business parking to the building and renovation of churches and schools, Wauwie said.

Zoning matters

What: Open house on proposed revisions to Scottsdale zoning ordinance

When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. today

Where: First-floor conference room, One Civic Center Building, 7447 E. Indian School Road

Information: (480) 312-7016

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