Carefree kicks off General Plan update with community workshop

The Town of Carefree is kicking off its General Plan Update on February 1st at 5:00 PM in Council Chambers, located at 33 Easy Street. Carefree is updating the community General Plan to guide the future development of the Town. The February 1st workshop invites citizens to learn more about the project and give input on the plan. The community Workshop will start with a formal presentation followed by smaller breakout activities to be completed at your leisure.

Town of Carefree


The General Plan is the foundational document that guides the Town through the next 10-20 years of community planning and growth management. The document establishes a vision for the desired future of Carefree and then utilizes a series of goals, policies, actions and maps to achieve implementation. It is a conceptual plan for evaluating existing development conditions, making forecasts, and outlining broad policies that the Town will use to implement its vision through other more specific plans and measures. Some of the more specific measures include the Zoning Ordinance (PDF), Proposed Capital Improvements, Transportation Plan, and development guidelines.

Cities and towns in Arizona are required to establish a General Plan and update it every 10 to 15 years. The previous update, Town of Carefree General Plan 2030, was ratified by voters recently on November 6, 2012.

A hard copy of the General Plan 2030 (PDF) may be viewed at Town Hall for free or purchased for $30 to recoup copy fees. If you have any questions, you may call the Planning and Zoning Staff at 480-488-3686 or visit the Carefree Administrative Offices, located at 8 Sundial Circle.

For information on the approved Major General Plan Amendment at the northwest corner of Tom Darlington and Carefree Hwy, click here: General Plan Amendment 12.07.2021 | Map: Excerpt


State Law requires General Plans to be updated every 10 years. Since the existing Carefree General Plan was last ratified on November 6, 2012, and due to delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now at the next 10-year planning horizon. State Law also requires the General Plan to be adopted by Town Council and ultimately ratified by voters of Carefree. The General Plan Update is scheduled to be placed on the November 2024 ballot for final voter ratification.


State Law requires certain topics or ‘elements’ to be addressed based on the population of the community. The following list identifies elements that are required based on the population of Carefree:

  • Land Use
  • Circulation
  • Growth
  • Open Space
  • Environmental Planning
  • Cost of Development
  • Water Resources
  • Additional elective elements may also be included at the discretion of each community. Based on relevance to Carefree, the following elements may also be addressed:
  • Public Services
  • Economic Development
  • Conservation


Phase I (November 2022-February 2023): Recognize

The beginning stage of the project focuses on the existing conditions of the Town as it stands today. It culminates with the development of the Community Assessment Report.

Phase II (Continuous): Engage

An integral component of the General Plan is public engagement. Consequently, this phase is continuous throughout the project process. To engage as many residents as possible, there will be multiple opportunities for the public to get involved and give input. Two Community Workshops and two Discussion Hubs will occur over the course of the project, along with several informal pop-up or mobile workshops. See the “Participate” section below to view upcoming events.

Phase III (February 2023-November 2023): Enrich

Taking in all the input received from the public, Town Staff, and community stakeholders, an updated draft of the General Plan is written. This draft undergoes a formal 60-Day review process where the document is open to be reviewed by the public, state and local government agencies, and other community organizations to give final feedback before the adoption process.

Phase IV (November 2022-February 2023): Achieve

This stage works to address all the comments received from the various stakeholders from the 60-Day review period before formal presentation to the Planning & Zoning Commission and Town Council. Following adoption via a Town Council Vote, the plan is placed on the ballot to be ratified by Carefree voters. Currently, the General Plan Update is scheduled to be placed on the November 2024 ballot.


There will be multiple opportunities for the public to get engaged in the project. Learn more about how to get involved and give your input today! Carefree Public Engagement Plan (PDF)

About the Town of Carefree

Carefree is a scenic community of over 3,500 residents nestled in the Sonoran Desert Foothills. Incorporated in 1984, the town is regarded as one of the most inspiring and livable places in Arizona and centers its culture on desert lifestyle, architecture, culinary arts, health, wellness, and community involvement. For more information, please visit or call 480-488-3686.