Tempe Plan Seeks To Define Downtown, Northwest Neighborhoods' Character

By Mariana Dale
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 7:49pm
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 10:30am

Tempe public art
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
Tempe's Northwest neighborhoods consider public art, like this roundabout statue, a character principle of the area.

The Tempe City Council will vote on a plan Thursday that defines the character of its downtown and nearby neighborhoods.

The character area plan is 150 pages meant to help shape development and future city policy.

“Private developers can look at those guidelines and make sure that anything they do fits the existing character as indicated by the residents and other stakeholders,” said Ambika Adhikari, a principal planner in Tempe.  

The city received more than 5,000 comments from residents about the plan since 2016, a new record for public input, according to a memo provided to the Tempe City Council.

Justin Stewart is chair of the Mitchell Park neighborhood association. He and other neighbors of the Greater Maple Ash area have pushed to preserve the area’s historic homes, large lots and connection to the arts.

“What I was looking for overall was a little bit of recognition for this vibe and culture that’s come out of these neighborhoods,” Stewart said.  

Arizona-born bands the Gin Blossoms and the Meat Puppets spent their early days playing shows in Tempe.

“The health range of young Hipsters and long-time Tempe Oldsters gives strength to this area,” the report notes.

The Maple-Ash Neighborhood has the highest concentration of historic properties in the city and the area plan calls for historic preservation, natural materials, public art and maintaining flood irrigation.

Though the plan doesn’t change zoning or grant any special protections, it will serve as a foundation for Tempe’s future policies, for example the upcoming Urban Core Masterplan.

“You can’t replace history once you’ve bulldozed it, and that’s a challenge,” Stewart said.  

City Of Tempe Request For Council Action

If you like this story, Donate Now!