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Tue, Oct. 22

General plan advances to City Council this month

PRESCOTT – The proposed Prescott General Plan is now on its way to the next level of consideration: review by the Prescott City Council.

George Worley, long-range planner for the city, said the City Council will likely begin its consideration of the plan on Oct. 14. After that, the council will conduct a public hearing on the plan on Oct. 21, with a possible vote on Oct. 28.

And if the council finds the plan acceptable, it will send the document to a vote of the public, which probably will take place in May.

The council consideration comes after an extensive review of the general plan by the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commission. Over the past month or so, the commission conducted several public hearings to get feedback from the public.

The commission wrapped up its review of the document this past week, with a unanimous vote of approval. With a few minor exceptions, Worley said, commissioners approved the plan as the Prescott General Plan Committee proposed it in its September 2003 version.

"There have been some relatively minor changes," Worley said of the document that the Planning and Zoning Commission approved. "Most have been wording changes (to make the document more understandable)."

Worley pointed out that the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the plan as it currently stands, with the understanding that some changes could occur during the upcoming review by the council members and other officials.

Along with the council's review, Worley said city department heads also have an opportunity to comment on the plan, as do members of the public.

So far, Worley said the review of the plan "has been moving along at the speed that we thought it would."

City officials have long anticipated that the public would vote on the new general plan in the spring of 2004. The city could opt for either March or May, but Worley said a May election is the most likely.

Along with its review and approval of the plan, the council also will consider the wording for the ballot, Worley said. Once the council approves that, he said, the general plan would be set until after the voters decide whether to approve it.

Arizona's Growing Smarter/Growing Smarter Plus legislation of 1998 and 2000 set out the requirements that cities and towns must follow in compiling a general plan. The legislation required a number of new elements, such as a growth area category, an open space element, and costs of development.

The general plan committee worked for months to come up with the proposed plan.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com

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