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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Making the General Plan Bloom

Greg Brownell 2

The Farm is in full throttle spring mode. Flowers and shrubs are blooming; the trees have new leaves and even the turf is demanding attention. We are setting weekly and daily records at our three restaurants. Couples are professing their eternal love and devotion while surrounded by our green but enduring and strong trees, roots deep and branches open wide.

This is our season of renewal and The Farm is filled with natural wonders: new birds appearing, blossoms everywhere and the miracle of five acres of pecan trees, their rich brown/black trunks and limbs giving life to the light green leaves that will necessarily give life back to the tree and provide the neighborhood with their seasonal plunder of delicious nuts. And with these wonders something more manmade but still miraculous occurred: 2,000 folks from around the country came to dinner.

As you may know (I hope) the City of Phoenix is working on its next general plan. All municipalities are mandated by the legislature to come up with a general plan every 10 years.  If you go to the Phoenix.gov website you may be surprised to find that the general plan we are using is from 2002. That actually means all the work required to create a general plan was done prior to 2002. In fact, that general plan used the previous general plan as its guide. That means a big part of our general plan goes back about 20 years. In a young, growing city like ours, that is a long time. Take a moment to imagine the Southside in 1994. Do you think much has changed? Are you happy with the changes? Would you like our community to have evolved in a different direction?  What are you hopes for the village’s future?

With the aid of a little simple arithmetic, you are probably wondering what happened to the 2012 general plan.  Well to simplify a somewhat complex process, the Phoenix City Council wisely decided it did not have enough citizen input to put it to the vote. A number of other municipalities were having their general plans turned down by the voting public at that time for that same reason. The city, under the leadership of Mayor Stanton, decided to turn the process on its head and make citizen and community input the beginning and the end of the new general plan. Luckily, the Arizona Legislature has given the city until 2015 to create and present to the public its new general plan.

The vision of the new plan is a “Connected Oasis.” The three overall community benefits are “Prosperity Health and the Environment.” There are five core values: Build the Sustainable Desert City; Create an Even More Vibrant Downtown; Connect People and Places; Celebrate our Diverse Communities and Neighborhoods; Strengthen Our Local Economy. So what is a Connected Oasis? We live in a city of many diverse and unique villages, communities and neighborhoods, all linked by the need for water in a place that doesn’t have much. So we must work together whether we like it or not – we need to leave the water wars to Hopalong Cassidy.

In one night in spring at The Farm, the Southside was the beneficiary of several of these core values. First we had to be connected physically to Downtown. We are also connected to Downtown through the internet, phones, social media, etc. That wouldn’t matter that much on this particular evening if Downtown had not become (over the last 20 years) a very vibrant place. Without that development they would not be able to host large conventions.

But Downtown doesn’t have The Farm. The Farm is in a community that has diverse and unique neighborhoods. Because of investments The Farm made in this community that were compatible with its traditions and values The Farm was able to accommodate this whole convention for dinner. Finally, everyone in the Oasis, The Farm, the village, Downtown and the whole city experienced an economic benefit.

It’s spring at The Farm.  Let us insist that it is spring for the development of Phoenix and help make this new general plan bloom. Please look up the process and give your input at www.myplanphx.com.



By Greg Brownell







































































































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