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Scottsdale has a plan for population growth. But will it stand up?

Scottsdale's plan has been approved by voters, but will it stand up if the Valley's population grows by more than a million people?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Scottsdale has a plan. It's been approved by voters and is set to shape the city's growth for the foreseeable future. However, will it stand up if the Valley's population grows by more than a million people?

Scottsdale has seen a price boom in the past couple of years. 

According to Redfin, the median home in Scottsdale is nearly $800,000. Two years ago, the median house sold for around $500,000. 

Both Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega and Scottsdale Councilwoman Tammy Caputi said there is not enough affordable housing in Scottsdale. 

“Demand is far exceeding supply. It’s an economic problem,” Caputi said. 

The Maricopa Association of Governments projects The Valley will grow by 1.5 million people in the next few decades. 

Scottsdale plans to grow by 60,000. 

With so many more people, will the affordable housing issue get worse?

"We have a very orderly land use map," Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega said. "Scottsdale has no reason to grow beyond the plan we have right now."

The plan would limit "urban neighborhoods" with more than eight units per acre (often apartments) to 2% of the city's land area.  

“We are Scottsdale. We don’t plan to be a metropolis,” Mayor Ortega said. 

However, developers say regulations need to change to allow more buildings in more locations. 

Scottsdale limits how many units and how high a complex can build. 

“It’s very hard to deliver affordable housing projects with all those requirements,” Scottsdale City Councilwoman Tammy Caputi said. 

Scottsdale is not the only city facing questions like this. As the Valley grows, local governments must try to strike the right balance between keeping their identity and finding a way to promote affordable housing. 

Mayor Ortega points to the city setting aside $15 million that could be used to help affordable housing projects.

"I have challenged the multi-family builders to come up with solutions," Ortega said. 

However, Caputi said the money is not enough. "The average apartment building might cost a developer north of $150 million. I'm not quite sure of what we would do with the $15 million."


In our “Boomtown” series, 12News takes a look at the Valley’s explosive growth over the past few decades, the consequences that came with it and a look at what it all means for our future as more than 1.5 million people are expected to move to the Valley by 2040.

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