More than half the residents living in New River, Desert Hills say quality of life has declined in the last five years

By TARA ALATORRE

DESERT HILLS – Maricopa County held on open house on December 12 at Desert Mountain School, to update the community on its preparations to draft a revised New River Area Plan, while also sharing results from a previous survey it conducted and gathering more feedback from residents.

Once finalized through public hearings and approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the updated New River Area Plan will replace the 20-year-old plan that is currently being used to guide land use locally. The new adopted plan will identify policies for future growth in the unincorporated areas of New River, Desert Hills, Anthem and parts of north Phoenix.

The county is still in the beginning stages of researching the community’s concerns and wants regarding future growth and analyzing public feedback that will guide planners when they create the draft plan.

Last week at the open house the county displayed the results of a survey residents participated in previously at public meetings and online.

According to the responses gathered by the planning department the top three things resident like most about living in the New River Desert Hills area is natural desert open space, its small town feel and quiet neighborhoods, and the large lots.

Locals are nearly split on their opinion of the most critical issue the area faces, with 47 percent saying it is water and 43 percent saying it is growth and development. Also, 57 percent of residents said that the quality of life has declined over the past five years, according to the county’s survey results.

The major improvement that the community would like to see in the next five years is growth control, with 23 percent of those surveyed saying they would like to see a change within the next five years. Road improvements and water accessibility were tied for the second biggest improvement needed in the area at 20 percent each.

The county planning department also continued its research for the draft plan by asking locals where they lived on a map displayed at the open house. The also surveyed residents about different options and opinions regarding outdoor recreation, commercial development, scenic corridors, bike lanes and water conservation techniques.

The information gathered at the open house will be used to identify issues, problems and concerns for the community, which the county will address in its draft plan while attempting to maintain the area’s unique character and quality of life.

The New River Area Draft Plan is expected to be complete by Spring 2019, and will be presented to the public for hearings, eventually seeking approval from the county planning commission and board of supervisors before it can be officially adopted.

For more information visit www.maricopa.gov/4768/New-River-Area-Plan-Update or call (602) 506-2364.

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