TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - As Tempe plans for major population growth in the coming decades, the City’s master plan has come under some scrutiny.
City councilors heard public comment on the Urban Core Master Plan at Thursday night’s meeting and, ultimately, postponed everything for a few months to make some adjustments.
The plan deals with the area in a rectangle with the Loop 202 freeway to the north, Loop 101 to the east, the Union Pacific railroad to the south and Hardy Drive to the west. This urban core is expected to have double its current population by the year 2040.
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“Whether we like it or not, we have to plan for that,” Mayor Mark Mitchell said at Thursday’s meeting. “And that’s why we really want the input you’re giving us, and that’s why we’re slowing down a little bit so we can get it right.”
The master plan for development is not appealing to some people who already own homes in the area and worry about tall buildings altering their property taxes.
“There’s a lot of input that I’ve had from our neighbors and from my friends and from my family,” said Riverside Neighborhood Association president Philip Yates. “Everybody just loves the area, but we feel threatened because of all of this development.”
Connie Vickery was also one of the people who expressed concern during the public comment portion of the council meeting.
“It does sadden my heart to see Tempe change in such a drastic way and become so much more huge,” Vickery said.
One thing the City is trying to iron out is a way to give developers a shot at more growth, density or height for their projects-- by going through a bonus program.
“That’s where you can provide more benefits back to the City in terms of workforce housing or public amenities,” Community Development director Chad Weaver said.
There were only a few people who gave public comment at Thursday’s meeting, and though none of their remarks were fiery, council voted to postpone taking any action on the plan until Feb. 13 to work out more details.
Some people who gave comment said they were generally pleased with the master plan. The Tempe Historic Preservation Foundation is only requesting minor tweaks.