Population: 4,668,631
Counties: 15
Governor Jane Dee Hull
                                                 Key Laws/Reports/Media

Click here for the amount of protected land in Arizona, and click here to review Arizona's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Conservation and Smart Growth
Many conservationists regard Pima County as a leading region in efforts to protect natural resources while planning for growth.  For 2 years Pima County has been developing a Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to protect dozens of species in the county.  The SDCP is projected to be completed in two years.  The county has developed a draft map of biological resource areas that may need to be protected under the SDCP. For more information, go to:

Since 1960, Arizona has tripled in population and it continues to grow three times faster than the nation as a whole.  It was no surprise that on May 29, 1998 the Arizona legislature enacted a new law establishing the Growing Smarter Commission,1 charged with studying growth related issues and reporting findings and recommendations to the governor and to the legislative leaders by September 1, 1999.2 In addition, the legislature passed a House Concurrent Resolution, "The Growing Smarter Act," which consists of comprehensive municipal, county and state land use planning reforms, and provides a program for continuing study and consideration of pertinent issues relating to land use policies.3 The Resolution, was put to a referendum vote in early November, is a response to a citizens' growth management initiative which appeared on the ballot on Election Day 1998.4The Resolution, which was defeated, was more comprehensive, requiring municipalities to adopt new comprehensive plans every ten years, and providing 20 million dollars per year in State matching funds for land conservation.5

In 1998, the Arizona legislature also enacted a statute providing authorization to municipalities to establish procedures for transfer of development rights,6 an innovative technique in the smart growth toolbox.

On June 12, 1998 Governor Hull named a 15-member Growing Smarter Commission7 to study issues relating to growth. The Commission has established eight subcommittees8 involving more than 100 citizens from across the State. The Commission has stated that through its work, it hopes to answer the fundamental question: "What 10 to 20 actions can we take as a State to improve the quality of Arizona's growth as we enter the 21st Century?9 A draft report is expected in June 1999, and with plans for a subsequent extensive citizen participation program, a final report is anticipated for September 1999.10

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's
 End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer.

Key Laws:
For an overview of Arizona's planning and zoning statutes, see the excellent summary provided by the American Planning Association

Hits and Misses: Fast Growth in Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy (Tuscon, AZ: September 2000)

"Bill would allow state trust land swaps for conservation," Arizona Republic. March 27, 2001.

"No Big Box knockout," Arizona Daily Sun. April 19, 2001.
Arizona Main Street Program
Dept. of Commerce & Community Development
3800 North Central
Suite 1400
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Tel: 602-280-1350

Citizens for Growth Management
P.O.  Box 22
Phoenix, AZ 85001-0022
Tel: 602-254-8581

Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter
812 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Tel: 602-253-8633

The Sonoran Institute
7650 E Broadway Blvd, Suite 203
Tuscon, AZ 85710
Tel: (520) 455-5310
The Sonoran Institute is a private, non-profit organization that promotes community based strategies that preserve the ecological integrity of protected lands, and at the same time, meet the economic aspirations of adjoining land owners and communities.


1 1998 AZ H.B. 2361 (May 29, 1998).
2 In addition to establishing the Commission , the Act adds new elements to turn land use plans into growth management plans; requires greater public participation in the creation of general plans; elevates the importance of general plans in local and county jurisdictions; requires that zoning decisions conform to the general plans; and provides a mechanism for the acquistion and preservation of open spaces, including funding therefore.
3 1998 AZ HCR 2027 (May 20, 1998).
4 12-1-98 (Arizona).
5 1998 AZ HCR 2027 (May 20, 1998).
6 S.B. 1238, Ch 145 of the AZ Laws of 1997.
7 "Governor Celebrates the Passage of Growing Smarter," Agenda for Growing Smarter Press Conference, 6/12/98; see,
8 Subcommittees have been organized around the following eight topics: changes in the State Land Department's mandate and exchange authority; reforms of municipal and county land use statutes; creation of programs to purchase development rights and conservation easements; reforms to regional planning processes; concepts to improve the mangement of urban and rural growth patterns; programs to promote urban infill, revitalization and redevelopemnt; programs to promote rural economies; and programs to increase federal funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund. See, Growing Smarter Brochure, Draft #3 2/22/99 (on file with author).
9 Growing Smarter Brochure, Draft #3 2/22/99.
10 Id.. As early evidence of their intention to involve the public, the Commission has established a website donated by the Arizona Planning Association. It can be found at