General plan update
Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee members Blanche Prokes, Gordon Miner, newly reelected Chairman Doug Cole, and new vice-chair Melanie Beauchamp listen to a presentation on plans to update the Phoenix General Plan, which will guide how the city grows for the next decade. Ari Cohn/AFN

Ahwatukee Foothills planners Tuesday signed off on a 10-year update of the Phoenix General Plan, which is intended to guide how the city grows.

The plan doesn't hold any significant changes for Ahwatukee, which is expected to remain something of a bedroom community, according to Carol Johnson, a city planning manager.

"The current land use plan for Ahwatukee reflects a more suburban residential neighborhood focus," she said.

The Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee voted unanimously in favor of the update, which is intended to guide such things as future housing development, traffic circulation, neighborhood preservation, open space, environmental policy and water resources, among others, Johnson said.

Doug Cole, the committee's chairman, said the purpose is to protect the area's quality of life by ensuring access to things such as parks, recreational facilities and libraries.

"It's all tied into your land use. That's what the General Plan does," he said.

Another goal is to protect Ahwatukee's commercial sectors, particularly those on major arterial streets west of Interstate 10, including Ray and Warner roads and Chandler Boulevard, he said.

"We want to always protect our core and make it accessible and economically viable," Cole said. "You want to protect your tax base."

Johnson said officials hope to preserve existing neighborhoods, while encouraging new investment in major business centers and minor satellite commercial areas. There are no existing plans to encourage denser redevelopment in Ahwatukee, she said.

Jacob Zonn, a city planner, said other urban villages will get a chance to comment on the plan, as well, before it goes to the Phoenix Planning Commission next month. The City Council in March then is expected to set an election date for residents to vote on the plan. That election could happen in August, Zonn said.

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