Plans and Reports

Cuisine Tourism Initiative

Santa Cruz County, Arizona is seeking community input to develop a county Cuisine Tourism Initiative, funded by a $300,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration.

The initiative is intended to grow economic opportunities by connecting the fast-growing winery sector with local restaurants, local food entrepreneurs, and local businesses countywide, while at the same time providing land use tools to help manage growth-related impacts.  The initiative will build economic opportunities for the county’s nature-based restorative economy, as called for in a 2021 study commissioned by local leaders through the University of Arizona, The Nature-Based Restorative Economy in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

Rio Rico Vitality District Master Plan

In 2021, Santa Cruz County’s Community Development launched a community master planning process for Rio Rico to develop land use plans and associated regulatory tools that reflect local needs.
 The first phase informed the existing conditions with community research and an online survey available to the community in March of 2021. The second phase developed a vision. The third phase created and vetted ideas to implement the vision. These phases of involvement culminated in the creation of the concepts, goals, policies, and strategies presented in the Master Plan.

 The draft master plan creates a framework for a vibrant place for future retail, services, and multi-family housing that accommodates the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors. 

Santa Cruz County Housing Strategy 2022-2027

In 2022, Santa Cruz County received support from the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) to develop its first housing strategy. The draft Housing strategy identifies needs and guiding principles designed to address the lack of sufficient housing opportunities needed to support the county’s growing number of residents, workers, and employers.

Santa Cruz County Tourism Sector Prosperity Plan

In the spring of 2023, the University of Arizona’s Master of Science degree-seeking students in Urban Planning from the College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture developed a tourism sector strategy as part of their 2023 Capstone Course. Students developed their proposal after reading a Request for Proposals the county issued in October 2022. Their project produced 17 quality seed project recommendations for tourism, with associated financing strategies.

Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Pathways Forward

The desire and need for public participation in county planning strategies and priorities is addressed in a recent report issued by the county’s Community Development Department, entitled Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Pathways Forward.

The report, also available on the county community development website, reviews economic challenges in Santa Cruz County exacerbated by COVID-19 and opportunities to bring economic stability. It describes the rationale and connections across county plans. It also encourages community stakeholders to use the report to center their work and identify potential roles as collaborators, with the county’s role as a convenor in this work.  Hard copies of plans and surveys are also available at the county’s community development office at 2150 North Congress Drive.

 Public Comment

Opportunities for public comment on the Rio Rico Vitality District Master Plan, housing strategy, and Tourism Sector Prosperity Plan will be taken through December 8, 2023. Public comments will be compiled and posted as appendices to these plans. Plans will then go to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for consideration. If approved, the county will pursue implementation strategies for their adoption.