Planning Commission starts 2017 with significant corridors plan

A handful of Paradise Valley officials began defining, shaping and articulating how the town should be perceived by passersby and residents alike during a Jan. 3 Planning Commission study session.

Seated around a single table at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, the town’s Planning Commission, planning staff and attorney brainstormed the corridors at each entry point to the town.

The Planning Commission is comprised of seven residents appointed by the town council as the discussion was a jumping off point to begin a Visually Significant Corridors Master Plan.

This new master plan is one of the town council’s quality of life initiatives and has been included in the town’s General Plan.

The plan aims to better define the character of the town and its neighborhoods by the appearance of its streetscape. The streetscape may include a variety of elements, according to a staff report, that includes vehicle travel lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, street furniture, utility poles, trees, accent plantings, lighting and signage.

The town has contracted Environmental Planning Group to develop the master plan.

Michael Park, John Griffin and Kevin Kugler introduced themselves as the team spearheading the master plan from Environmental Planning Group.

Their firm has past experience in Paradise Valley, including work on earlier streetscape plans along Invergordon and Mockingbird, and was included on the design team for the Ritz-Carlton roadway improvement projects, they said.

The focus will be on the major arterials of Tatum Boulevard and Lincoln Drive, but the plan shall also address fundamental qualify of life issues within a streetscape, such as safety, accessibility and town identity.

Part of the project purpose includes determining a town preference for street lamps, benches, landscaping, way-finding signage; and reducing environmental impacts including noise, excess signage and visibility of utility boxes.

The project is expected to be comprised of four phases over the next 10 months, give-or-take, said Mr. Kugler.

“Big picture is you’ve arrived in paradise in the Town of Paradise Valley,” said Planning Commission Chair Dolf Strom. “So it needs to have something that says you’ve arrived, besides ‘speed enforced by photo radar.’”

What’s to come

The Environmental Planning Group has planned a series of meetings with town council, Planning Commission and stakeholders.

“The first phase begins with initiation of the project, it begins tonight to introduce the project to hear your issues, concerns thoughts and as I like to say, kind of ‘set our compass for the project moving forward,’” said Mr. Kugler. “We’ll have this same exact meeting with council to hear their aspirations and ideas in the weeks ahead.”

Within the initial meeting between Planning Commission and the Environmental Planning Group, the commission expressed what they each thought Paradise Valley represented, and how they want the town to be perceived.

In phase two there will be a three-day workshop involving a community open house, a concept development open to the public and an evening event involving sketches and evaluating alternatives.

Mr. Kugler says the town’s residents are a large portion of the stakeholders involved in this project. They have planned a user-friendly survey for residents to partake in on Feb. 6.

About 500 residents who live along the focus street are to be mailed postcards informing them of the project and open house dates, said Paradise Valley Community Development Director Eva Cutro.

“We hope to get as many of your neighbors and friends at that endeavor, in particular,” Mr. Kugler said.

Town staff is looking at wanting the plan to work for multiple reasons, said Ms. Cutro.

“We want it to work for the town, or for a big project that we put in our CIP, we also want it to work for the Planning Commission when SUP projects come in and we say ‘OK we want you to do this, this and this,’” she explained.

“And, even when subdivisions and single family homes develop, things that we can give to our residents to say ‘when you build will you consider these options?’”

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