2019 Planning and Development Year in Review



The Phoenix Planning and Development Department has a lot to celebrate. Over 2019, the department has enhanced its processes to better serve our customers and increase safety, and quality of life. We are proud of our work from streamlining some review processes to enhanced inspection to preserving the city's rich history and historic properties. Take a look at all we've accomplished in 2019,  and thank you to all our customers who make our work so important.



SHAPE PHX Contract Approval

Planning and Development (PDD) staff completed the procurement process and entered into a contract for implementation services and the purchase of associated software to replace PDD's land management applications, including Kiva, PlanWeb, and other supporting applications, some of which are decades old. The project, dubbed SHAPE PHX, will consolidate existing applications into one modern enterprise system that provides a single source for land management information. The new system will provide improved data quality, a better performing, fully supported and secure business application, opportunities to streamline processes and the ability to quickly adapt to changes. PDD's research has shown that organizations typically underestimate the costs, effort, and risks of Land Management and Permitting projects. Prior to contract award, PDD undertook a crucial Readiness Support Project comprised of three key initiatives to address project risks; Data Management & Conversion Planning, Organizational Change Management (OCM) Strategy Development, and Gap Analysis / Business Process Mapping. 


Streamlined Plat Review process for Central AZ Homebuilders Association

Planning and Development (PDD) staff worked closely with representatives from several homebuilders and the Central Arizona Homebuilders Association to streamline and improve several aspects of the residential subdivision development process. The improvements came after staff began quarterly meetings with homebuilder representatives as part of continuous process improvement. This year, staff simplified the process by which builders can get started on grading and drainage (G and D) construction for projects while the final plat works its way through City Council approval. Based on staff audits and feedback from homebuilder representatives, PDD also created a new training curriculum on plat reviews for plan review staff and private-sector design professionals that has improved comments on plans and reduced confusion on the sequence of events for plat approvals. PDD also designated a single department point of contact for all G and D related questions.



Enhanced GIS Mapping for Public Zoning Information an\d Non-Permitted Construction Cases

Planning and Development (PDD) Information Systems staff collaborated with the PDD Village Planning team to develop a series of interactive, publicly accessible Annual Report Dashboard web mapping applications. One dashboard was created per Village, for a total of fifteen dashboards. The intent of the dashboard applications is to provide citizens with the ability to interactively view development activities within the past several years (2015-2018) across each Village. This information includes Zoning, Zoning Adjustment, Planning Hearing Officer cases, and permit data for each village. All dashboards are available to the public on the Village Planning web page (https://www.phoenix.gov/villages). In addition, the GIS team joined databases to produce geographical information for the Light Rail expansion project, non-permitted construction cases and others.  



Historic Preservation Victories

The City Council built on the city's historic preservation legacy in 2019 with two additions to the Phoenix Historic Property Register, the Sacred Heart Home for the Aged on the northwest corner of 16th Street and Portland; and the Arizona National Guard Armory at 1614 W. Roosevelt. Two buildings also were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, Phoenix Star Theatre-Celebrity Theatre at the southwest corner of 32nd Street and Fillmore and the Pierson Place Historic District. The listing of the Pierson Place Historic District was a multi-year effort of Historic Preservation Office staff working with volunteers from the neighborhood and the State Historic Preservation Office. Preservation advocates and Phoenix history buffs, led by Mayor Kate Gallego, came together for National Historic Preservation Month at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater to celebrate adaptive reuse of historic buildings.  The first Phoenix History Trivia Contest was held with nine teams with very creative names participating.



National Guard Armory
16th Avenue and Roosevelt built in 1960s.


Sacred Heart Home for the Aged
16th Street & Portland, built in 1960


32 Major projects are currently under construction in the infill district with a total valuation of $653 Million


Construction is underway at 4th Street and Garfield for the ASU-Wexford Biomedical Campus.
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The Link PHX is the first of three residential projects and 3rd Street and Pierce.


Update of the PDD Professional Certification program

Planning and Development (PDD) staff were part of a multi-department team that updated the Certification program for technical positions so the city can be competitive when attracting applicants. The changes also ensure certification requirements fit the job classification and maintain ISO ratings. Staff worked with union representatives to come to a consensus on the updated Certification program requirements and implementation. PDD staff also developed, tested and implemented a new web application to provide a convenient testing system for staff that need certifications for their job classification.


After Hours Noise Program to Use Central Operator

Planning and Development (PDD), Street Transportation and Water Services staff developed a central operator system to make it easier for the public to report complaints about construction-related noise at night and on weekends. Previously complaints about work in ROW, after-hours construction noise and other utility related issues had to be directed to different staff in separate departments. This single-point of contact is a major convenience for customers who no longer must try to determine which department has jurisdiction over work generating a noise complaint. It also improves internal efficiency because it provides initial triage from a trained operated that can screen out non-applicable calls and focus staff resources on legitimate complaints.


Enhanced Inspection Capability

Planning and Development (PDD) expanded two key inspection teams to increase capacity and provide more timely and consistent service. The Commercial Inspections Team expanded the Combination Inspection Section with the addition of a new inspector position and the creation of a site Development Supervisor to oversee the section. This will enable the section to take on more projects, provide better customer service and consistency. The General (Residential) Inspections Team added two new full-time inspectors to the Residential Permit by Inspector Program (RPBI), which allows property owners with smaller projects to bypass the traditional plan review process and work directly in the field with an inspector to review plans and permits, saving residents valuable time and money.


South Central TOD Workshops

The Planning and Development (PDD) Long-Range Planning Team and the City Council- appointed South-Central TOD Steering Committee hosted several community workshops in 2019 to develop a vision for the future of the South-Central light rail corridor. The first set of workshops were held on March 4 and 9. Follow up workshops aimed at collaborating with the community on key locations and investment opportunities were held May 6 and 11. Staff and dozens of residents joined additional workshops on Nov. 4 and 5, where the community viewed conceptual renderings and master plans based on the ideas shared at previous workshops. PDD staff and the South-Central TOD Steering Committee will work through the spring of 2020 to produce a policy plan that will address the results of each of the workshops and provide a blueprint to help guide future investment within the corridor.