Urban Core Master Plan

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Here’s what’s happening with the three primary elements of Tempe’s Urban Core efforts:

  • URBAN CORE MASTER PLAN AND TRANSPORTATION OVERLAY DISTRICT (TOD)  The Urban Core Master Plan is designed to guide future development in Tempe’s urban core, while the updated Transportation Overlay District will help promote transit ridership and shape development around the light rail and streetcar routes. Because the plans include proposed new development patterns in some locations that would change densities and land uses, a Major General Plan Amendment is required (click here for more information).

  •  AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY – the draft plan (click here to view) was presented at public meetings in early March, with online feedback collected through March 31. The AHS plan will be presented to City Council for consideration in summer.

Background: The City of Tempe is looking at the city’s Urban Core – the area that includes Town Lake, Rio Salado, Downtown, ASU and Apache Boulevard among others – to create a comprehensive and unified development blueprint for Downtown Tempe and the Urban Core that is sustainable and cohesive.

The Urban Core is more than downtown Tempe; it reaches from Loop 202 to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and from Hardy Drive to Loop 101.

In February, community members shared their priorities and vision for the area. In September, we gathered additional input to inform key decisions on draft concepts.

Tempe’s Urban Core Master Plan includes three primary elements:

  • URBAN CORE MASTER PLAN: Create a comprehensive and unified development blueprint for Downtown Tempe and the Urban Core that is prosperous, sustainable and cohesive.

  • TRANSPORTATION OVERLAY DISTRICT (TOD): Plan around the existing light rail and streetcar routes to create a transit friendly community.

  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY: Use a holistic approach to encourage more affordable and a greater diversity of housing options both in downtown and across the urban core area.

The Urban Core Master Plan will:

  • Align new development with long-term economic development goals
  • Preserve the character of neighborhoods in the Urban Core
  • Plan for balanced growth in the downtown area while maintaining compatibility with its identity and character
  • Provide a diversity of development (from single-family homes to large, mixed-use developments)
  • Enhance quality of life and provide additional amenities
  • Encourage use of public transit options, walking and bicycling
  • Establish an affordable housing strategy to increase housing choice in the project area and across Tempe
  • Update the existing Transportation Overlay District (TOD) zoning ordinance to include best practices and expand its area to include the streetcar route

The vision, goals and policies of the General Plan 2040, Transportation Master Plan, Character Area Plans and public input will be used to inform this planning process. The Urban Core Master Plan will supplement other plans and help guide their implementation.

Project area:20180131_Base Map_Type2-02 (Large)

Developing a Master Plan for Tempe’s Urban Core Area

Tempe will begin assessing the current situation in the study area related to physical assets, demographics, economic development potential, affordability, transportation infrastructure capacity and identify strategies to expand amenities, enhance walkability, mitigate traffic congestion, and improve access for all to the many opportunities in the Urban Core Area. In addition to conducting an assessment, the Master Plan will:

  • Develop a planning vision for the downtown and urban core area
  • Formulate planning and design strategies to promote economic development
  • Plan for green infrastructure and building sustainability
  • Propose policies for creating diversified housing opportunities
  • Enhance mobility and connectivity
  • Create guidelines, tools and standards for master plan implementation

Affordable Housing Strategy

Tempe’s goal is to create policies and programs to support public transportation and increase housing options within the urban core that supports a mixed-income, inclusive and accessible community for:

  • Students
  • Families
  • People with disabilities
  • Working Professionals
  • Retirees

Transportation Overlay District

Tempe’s existing Transportation Overlay District is being expanded to incorporate the streetcar route and stop areas, and will be updated to:

  • Carefully integrate redevelopment with preservation of established and historic neighborhoods
  • Promote economic development
  • Create transit friendly developments
  • Improve walkability and accessibility by expanding pedestrian and bicycle connectivity
  • Encourage mixed use development, commercial, residential and office space in shared and adjacent places
  • Promote activity on the ground floor
  • Implement the themes identified in the Character Area 3 and 4 (Apache) Plans 3
  • Implement various affordable housing strategies