At the March 13 Legislative Town Hall meeting at the Anthem Civic Building, Maricopa County Deputy Director of Planning and Development Darren Gerard will be a featured speaker. During the 9 a.m. meeting, Gerard and Planning Supervisor Matt Holm will briefly present the county’s draft 2030 Comprehensive Plan and accept questions and feedback as it pertains to the document.
As background, two documents are prepared every 10 years or so by Maricopa County planners – the Maricopa County Comprehensive Plan, created in 1997 and first amended in 2002, and Area Land Use Plans specific to 13 regions in the county. These documents provide a guideline and overall framework for how county lands may be used moving forward, as well as more specific designations on how parcels of available land in the area are to be used. The Comprehensive Plan indicates, for example, some percentage of available county land shall be preserved as open space, while an Area Plan would establish which parcels in the area are designated as open space in order to meet the guideline in the Comprehensive Plan. The New River Area Plan is the document that addresses land use in Anthem and the surrounding areas, including Desert Hills and New River.
The Comprehensive Plan covers four primary areas - land use, transportation, and environmental and economic development. The document contains very broad, overriding goals and policies in relation to each of the four sections and “seeks to create strong and vibrant communities within Maricopa County by encouraging orderly development while creating a healthy environment and a healthy economy.” By accommodating new growth in areas that can sustain additional development, the plan endeavors to conserve scarce resources and to build strong communities based on an efficient transportation system, well-protected environmental resources and a strong, diversified economy. The plan’s elements reflect the character of the county’s population, while the policies and implementation tools guide future land use and transportation decisions.
Residents may wonder, "Why is this important, since Anthem is already built out with very limited land not in use?" A major reason is that Daisy Mountain (which is State Trust Land and subject to sale to the highest bidder) and the surrounding space is at risk. The Anthem community and its neighbors in New River and Desert Hills enjoy and want to keep Daisy Mountain as "open space". While the two plan documents do not guarantee that Daisy Mountain and the surrounding area will remain open space, they will help establish the intent of the residents and businesses in the area to maintain open space and discourage developers from turning that open space into more large housing or commercial developments.
The Anthem Community Council, with its partner, Desert Foothills Land Trust, participates in the Save Daisy Mountain Committee, which has the goal of preserving Daisy Mountain and the surrounding area as open space in perpetuity. The two entities closely monitor the development of the Maricopa County Comprehensive Plan and the New River Area Plan and strive to keep the residents of Anthem, Desert Hills and New River informed of how these efforts proceed and how residents can get involved.
The Legislative Town Hall series, held the second Friday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Anthem Civic Building, includes speakers from the city, county and state levels to discuss items of interest and impact to the New River, Desert Hills and Anthem communities. The New River/Desert Hills Community Association and the Anthem Community Council host the series.