The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce has had a most busy spring and it’s not over yet! The job of supporting the business community never really ends, but the springtime is a peak period for us in addressing our mission to build a vibrant and prosperous business community.
Whether addressing legislative issues at the State Capitol or promoting business-friendly approaches at the local level, the Chamber is actively engaged in public policy on behalf of the business community. Scottsdale is a special place and in so many ways the envy of communities around the nation, but it is also a community of conflicting visions where issues can become disproportionately magnified. In short, in Scottsdale we sometimes fight about the things that other communities fight to have. Such is the price of success, and the Chamber is often at the center of discussions affecting the future of our great city.
One of those issues is the Scottsdale General Plan. Communities in Arizona by state statute must produce a new General Plan with several required elements every 10 years. An important exercise in community vision and self-definition, this document must ultimately be adopted by the City Council and presented to the voters for ratification. The most recent iteration of this key document failed at the polls in 2012 for a variety of reasons, and now a task force appointed by the City Council has been hard at work since summer working on a new draft for presentation to the City Council.
As a member of that group of 25 citizens, I have witnessed first-hand how challenging the exercise of representing a community in a document can be. Issues of economic growth, building heights and densities, and core issues of sustainability have become major points of contention. Sadly, some have walked away from the process rather than accept a lack of consensus on some key issues. Feelings run high in Scottsdale regarding our future.
All in the discussion agree that there is an inevitability to change, and change does not always come easily nor is it always welcome. One thing is for certain: Our future must respect our community values without becoming so rooted in the past that we fail to move forward. Where people of good will disagree is how Scottsdale will define that move forward. History tells us that few are able to predict what will happen 10 years from now, but if we have good leadership and strong values, we will also have a great community.
It is my fervent hope that the citizens of Scottsdale will review the General Plan draft that is now available, add their voices to the process and help our leaders present to the people a document that is embraced by the residents.
Rick Kidder, President/CEO