Oro Valley is gearing up for its 2026 General Plan, a strategic document that will outline the town’s growth areas for the next decade.

As the town prepares to engage the community for this important planning effort, we sought the opinions of current residents regarding the town’s development and their hopes for the future.

Eight-year resident Vickie Lehr said, “It has grown in many ways, in very positive ways. In other ways, I have some concerns.”

General plans are not a novelty, given that the state of Arizona mandates them by law. Oro Valley is currently in the seventh year of its 2016 plan.

Gina Harris and her family moved to Oro Valley from Seattle just a year ago. Despite her limited experience in the town, she describes Oro Valley as a ‘utopia’ compared to Seattle.

She appreciates the efforts made to involve those directly affected by changes, stating, “I know that there’s a lot of controversy with growth, and people get upset about it, but it’s naturally going to happen, so knowing that there’s some kind of a plan makes me feel more confident in the investment I made.”

Community engagement is the foundation for every general plan in Oro Valley, as underscored by the town’s recent Public Outreach Award for its efforts in better involving its residents.

Town Planning Manager Bayer Vella emphasized, “We want the residents to own this and recognize that it’s theirs. It’s their words, it’s their desires.”

Earlier this year, more than 700 residents were surveyed on how to improve their connection to the town as the 2026 General Plan takes shape in the coming months.

Lehr, despite her concerns, commends the city of Oro Valley for their proactive efforts.

However, for long-time residents like Lehr, it’s the prospect of enhanced community outreach that they eagerly anticipate as a means to actively shape the future of Oro Valley.

“I think anybody who has their eyes open when they move to a new town and cares will see both the good and the areas that could be improved on,” she said.

The official kickoff for the general plan is slated to begin this fall.