February 16, 2012

Volunteer Planning Team to Assist Maricopa's Seven Ranches Area

CHICAGO —A four-member volunteer planning team will work in Maricopa, Arizona, February 22-25, to help the city address infrastructure and design challenges in the Seven Ranches area.

The team is part of the American Planning Association's professional institute's Community Planning Assistance Team initiative, which helps communities with limited planning resources and also brings a fresh perspective to local communities. Through the program, teams of professional planners are matched with communities requesting assistance on a variety of planning topics such as sustainability, economic development, transportation, and housing.

The team will focus on the Seven Ranches area of Maricopa, and concentrate specifically on how the city may address the area's poor infrastructure and develop guidelines to ensure cohesive urban design. Seven Ranches is historically a rural residential area that is located within a designated special planning area per the voter-approved General Plan. The City of Maricopa requested the planning team's assistance.

"Being selected for CPAT assistance has been a dream come true," said City Planning Manager Kazi Haque. "Having such a qualified group work on this project will help bring in a neutral perspective as to the possibilities for the area, as well as expedite the time frame for determining real solutions for the Seven Ranches area."

The Maricopa Community Planning Assistance Team will be led by Sue Schwartz, FAICP. Schwartz is the director of the department of planning and community development for the City of Greensboro, North Carolina. Team members include:

  • Craig Farmer, FAICP, manager of urban planning for the firm of Freese and Nichols, Inc.;
  • Lance Schulte, AICP, senior community planner with HDR;
  • Jeff Taebel, FAICP, director of community and environmental planning for the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Read more about the Maricopa team

In a working visit, the team will tour the area and meet with a variety of local leaders and residents. Team members will meet with community residents at 6 p.m. on February 22 at the Sequoia Pathway Academy. The team's preliminary assessment will be presented on February 25 at the Sequoia Pathway Academy. The final report will be available in April.

The community planning assistance team program was established in 1995. Recent teams have worked in Story County, Iowa; Crestdale, North Carolina; Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.; Slidell, Louisiana; and Henderson Point, Mississippi, among other locations.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395; rrewers@planning.org