City voters asked to approve 2012 General Plan
The ballot for the general election Nov. 6 will have one question just for city of Yuma voters, who will be asked to approve Proposition 402 — the measure that would ratify the city's 2012 General Plan.
The General Plan provides an overall guide for what the community will become over the next 10 to 20 years, said Jennifer Albers, principal planner for the city's Community Development Department.
“It's a blueprint for the community as it grows and the infrastructure that will be needed. We can't build the community's infrastructure if we don't know what we need to serve it.”
That includes parks, transportation, public safety and other elements.
If voters approve Proposition 402, the 2012 General Plan will go into effect soon after the official canvass.
If the measure fails, planners will go back to the drawing board. “We'll find out why it failed and bring it back,” Albers said.
That's because state statute mandates that the city have a general plan and update it every 10 years.
“We have to have a plan,” she said. “It's the state law for cities and towns.”
There is no cost to taxpayers to implementing the plan. It does not legislate any new fees, taxes or changes to development and building codes.
Albers explained that the plan simply serves as a guide and policy document, identifying land available for residential, commercial, industrial and other types of uses while also seeking to protect important sources of jobs such as agriculture and the military and preserving the community's quality of life.
It also sets the stage for the city's Capital Improvement Program that prioritizes and funds such projects as roadways improvements, new fire stations and parks.
There are two new parts to the 2012 General Plan, Albers said. It identifies plans and policies on how to improve areas that have development issues. And it has an energy element that identifies policies for encouraging energy efficiency in city facilities and programs.
Developing the General Plan is a lengthy process, one that involves a great deal of public input to ensure it reflects the desires and needs of the community's residents, Albers said.
The public outreach has been a multiyear process of open houses, workshops, public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and Yuma City Council, newspaper articles, speaking engagements and Internet postings, she said.
The plan also has been reviewed by a number of local, state and federal agencies on how it meets with their plans.
For example, it could be a coordinated effort with the Yuma County Flood Control District with new developments. “Maybe a retention basin could be used for a park and meet multiple needs,” Albers said.
But the General Plan isn't a static document, she said. There is a process for major and minor amendments as people's plans for their property change.
To view the entire plan, go to the city's website at yumaaz.gov/18495.htm.