Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2015 General Plan: Should Oro Valley Grow By Happenstance or Grow By Design?

One of the things that we’ve observed and written about during past years was that one of the four criteria for amending a general plan land designation, market demand, always seemed to be the single most important criteria to both the petitioner and the Council. We’ve written about what these criteria are. They include: list. Still, when all is said and done, the criteria of market demand always seems to stand “front and center.”

So we asked Oro Valley Resident Bill Adler, an expert on Oro Valley’s general plan and zoning codes, what he thought.

"The three committees appointed to work on future policy direction for a 2015 General Plan will need to evaluate how to choose land use between pressure from market demand or thoughtful planning."

According to Bill: "Market demand can originate with residents, but the term is typically used to reflect demand from prospective tenants for a development or builders of a development. However, citizens need to be reminded that they represent a market also. Demand is "voice" and the Town wishes to identify our voice with our future. At least in theory, the General Plan should represent "demand" from the citizen market."

Planning is visionary. Market demand is reactionary. When a Town reacts to demand it winds up with a lot of the same, smaller lots; larger homes, fewer parks, many so-called senior care facilities. When a town relies on planning, it winds up with the town that it envisioned.

Planning requires more discipline because a plan has to survive downturns when market demand presents opportunities not called for in the 'plan". This is why we have so many General Plan Amendments and PAD Amendments every year. We're reacting to pressure. We are being urged to not follow the plan.

Citizens needs to become acquainted with the difference between planning for development, and reacting to development market pressure. Clearly, Town revenue from one, market demand, is more immediate than from the other.

"What the committees need to judge is the 'greater good'. Not always easy," noted resident Adler.


Richard Furash, MBA said...

I'm wondering how the need for new housing is balanced against the number of homes on the market. It seems like there is a high number of properties for sale in Oro Valley, yet the developers keep building. Why?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

We don't know why they keep building. There are, at present 345 homes for sale in Oro Valley. Add to this the new vacant apartment. Yet, developers continue to build here.