Growing Smarter Legislation
An excerpt from the Growing Smarter Act:
The purpose of this act is to more effectively plan for the impacts of population growth by creating a more meaningful and predictable land planning process, to increase citizen involvement in the land planning process, to directly acquire and preserve additional open space areas within this state through necessary reforms to the master planning and open space conservation programs of the state land department and to establish a growth planning analysis process to consider and address various statewide growth management issues so that the future development of land in this state will occur in a more rational, efficient and environmentally sensitive manner that furthers the best interests of the state’s citizens by promoting the protection of its natural heritage without unduly burdening its competitive economy.
The State of Arizona has been working for nearly a decade to actively manage growth and preserve open space. Since 1973, most cities, towns, and counties have been required to develop plans for communities looking at issues such as land use, circulation, housing, public services and facilities, and conservation, rehabilitation, and redevelopment. As growth rates significantly increased in the 1990s, a critical mass of political support emerged to provide more tools to assist in responding to the consequences of rapid growth. In 1998, the Arizona Legislature passed the Growing Smarter Act, which clarified and strengthened planning elements in the required plans of municipalities and counties and added four new elements, namely: Open Space, Growth Areas, Environmental Planning, and Cost of Development. In 2000, the Legislature passed Growing Smarter Plus to further enhance land use planning statutes in Arizona.
A few new requirements enacted by Growing Smarter/Plus include:
- Requires larger and fast-growing cities to obtain voter approval of their general plans at least once every ten years and include a water resources element in their plans;
- Requires mandatory rezoning conformance with General and Comprehensive Plans
- Requires more effective public participation in the planning process
- Requires cities and counties to exchange plans, coordinate with regional planning agencies, and encourages comments between entities prior to adoption to encourage regional coordination;
- Requires full disclosure to property buyers of the lack of available services and facilities.
- Requires land-owner permission for plan designation and rezoning of private property to open space;
- Authorizes cities and counties to designate service area limits beyond which services and infrastructure are not provided at public expense;
- Permits counties to impose development fees consistent with municipal development fee statutes;
- Allows cities to create infill incentive districts and plans that could include expedited process incentives;
Growing Smarter Summaries