THE BUSINESS CASE FOR THE CITY’S GENERAL PLAN
Biz City Of Yuma
BY JENNIFER REICHELT, DEPUTY CITY ADMINISTRATOR
THE DECENNIAL UPDATE to the City’s General Plan is currently underway, and that impacts every business person in Yuma, now and in the future. The General Plan is the foundation for local land-use planning, and is a policy document and guide to how Yuma wants to develop its future. It provides comprehensive direction for the growth and development of the City of Yuma over the next 10 years. The General Plan covers important topics that affect everyone’s quality of life such as land use, transportation, public safety, public services and redevelopment. All of which are vital to the success and vitality of Yuma’s business community. The plan provides guidance for the social, economic, environmental and overall physical development of the entire Yuma community. City leadership uses the General Plan when evaluating land use changes and making funding and budget decisions based on the future needs of the City. The General Plan also identifies the long-range plan for parks and open space, as well as safety, conservation and redevelopment. The City knows that maintaining a high quality of life in Yuma is essential to the community’s ongoing economic success. According to Principal Planner Jennifer Albers, “The General Plan is an important tool and roadmap for local businesses as it identifies appropriate locations for industry and commerce. It exists to ensure the longterm economic interests of our community are protected.” All Arizona municipalities are required to have a general plan per state law, and one must be adopted by public vote every 10 years. The City of Yuma has drafted a comprehensive update to its General Plan, and is currently taking public comment. Business people and residents within the City of Yuma are encouraged to engage in the process and provide their input and feedback on the future of Yuma. The City’s draft 2022 General Plan is available for review online at www.yumaaz.gov/generalplan. Individuals are welcome to submit comments on the draft General Plan via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Several elements included in the General Plan impact local businesses directly, such as where they can locate, how customers access their business, availability to important infrastructure, as well as housing for their employees and future growth areas. • LAND USE – This portion of the plan identifies the locations for land uses in our community such as agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential. The plan can help the community better plan for future growth and development. It may influence where businesses choose to locate, and protect home and business property values for the long term by identifying appropriate and compatible land use locations. • TRANSPORTATION – Businesses that rely on customers getting to and from their business or are concerned about the movement of goods and services in and out of Yuma may be especially interested in the long-range transportation plan. This section addresses modes of transportation (vehicle, bicycles, air, rail, transit) as well as our roadways and connectivity. • PUBLIC SERVICES – Often when businesses consider where to locate, they take into account the availability (and connectivity) of public services such as water, sewer, solid waste, police, and fire. In addition, understanding the current inventory of schools, libraries and other public facilities can help businesses make decisions about where to locate, or whether or not to expand or move. • HOUSING – Even if businesses aren’t directly involved in the housing industry, the community’s long-range plan for housing can impact their workforce. Most businesses have employees who need housing; when housing is scarce – or too expensive – the workforce may look elsewhere for housing and employment opportunities. The Housing element addresses future housing needs, from availability and type to affordability. In addition to submitting email comments, the public is encouraged to attend one of several public hearings on the General Plan this fall – Sept. 13 and Oct. 11 with the Planning Zoning Commission as well as on Nov. 17 with the Yuma City Council. The final plan is scheduled to go to voters in 2022.