Community Engagement Plan for upcoming General Plan process wins award

Published on September 14, 2023


ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (Sept. 14, 2023) – The Town of Oro Valley is pleased to announce that the Community Engagement Plan for the upcoming General Plan process has been named by the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Committee as the winner in the Public Outreach category. The award was presented to the Town of Oro Valley’s Planning Division on Sept. 7 at the 2023 State Planning Conference in Litchfield Park, AZ.

Public outreach is foundational to Oro Valley’s General Plan. Adopting a Community Engagement Plan is required by state law. To best capture how to encourage participation in Oro Valley’s upcoming General Plan process, Town staff involved the community through a survey and a resident advisory group. This innovative process is something that is uncommon in cities and towns across the state. Typically, a Community Engagement Plan is completed by staff or a consultant with little to no resident feedback.

In January 2023, the Town of Oro Valley launched the community survey to identify the best ways to engage the community as the Town prepares for the 2026 General Plan. Over a one-month timeframe, 706 surveys were completed with a 95% confidence that the results reflected the overall opinion of Oro Valley residents. The survey results highlighted areas where to Town can improve and bridge current notification methods with preferred methods.

To turn the survey results into a Community Engagement Plan, the Town formed an advisory group which included members of Town Council, Boards and Commissions, the Youth Advisory Council, Town staff and Gordley Group, a local marketing firm. The advisory group participated in four study sessions that looked at the current 2016 General Plan, how has Oro Valley changed since then, and how to best involve the community moving forward. The Community Engagement Plan was recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Town Council in March 2023.

“This award was primarily earned by Town residents who participated in this effort; Oro Valley is a special place because of the time and care our residents invest in their community,” said Bayer Vella, Planning Manager for the Town of Oro Valley. “The resident-driven Community Engagement Plan will help ensure all voices are reflected in the upcoming community-wide General Plan. Oro Valley’s future is bright.”

To watch a video that was presented at the award ceremony explaining the Community Engagement Plan, click here. The Community Engagement Plan is available here.

The official kick-off for the 2026 General Plan will begin this fall. To stay informed about the variety of opportunities to get involved, click here to subscribe to our email list to receive press releases and follow the Town of Oro Valley on social media.

Importance of your voice in the General Plan process

The General Plan is a community-driven, 10-year plan that includes goals, policies and measurable actions for public safety, environment, parks, water, development, housing, employment and more. The current Your Voice, Our Future General Plan was ratified by voters in 2016. Extensive public outreach was conducted over three years, which resulted in an action plan that resonated with the community and was ratified by 71% of the voters.

There are 310 actionable items in the current General Plan and the Town formally reports progress annually. To date, 95% of those items are either finished or anticipated for completion soon. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan, ongoing protection of large Saguaros and increased transparency of Town services are just a few achievements that resulted from the current General Plan. To read the current General plan, click here.

Community input is critical to making sure the plan is comprehensive and actionable over a 10-year time frame. We will be launching a variety of opportunities to get involved with the next General Plan this October. Please visit the Town’s website to see the community engagement plan in action and let us hear your voice. 


Pictured: Town staff who were involved in the Community Engagement Plan. From left to right:

Karl Shaddock - Management Analyst, Misti Nowak – Communications and Marketing Administrator, Kyle Packer – Senior Planner, Milini Simms – Principal Planner, Jeanna Ancona – Senior Office Specialist, Planning Division, Bayer Vella – Planning Manager, Michael Spaeth – Principal Planner