Update to Land Development Ordinances & Design Standards

DevelopNEXT was an effort by the city of Surprise to update and simplify its Land Development Ordinances (LDO) and Planning and Engineering Design Standards (PEDS).

The Surprise City Council approved the adoption of new LDO and PEDS at the December 15, 2020 City Council Meeting following a more than two-year process that engaged both residents and developers.

This comprehensive update of the city’s LDO and PEDS replaces the previous Surprise Unified Development Code and goes into effect 30 days following the December 15 vote, on or about January 14, 2021.

The new LDO will replace Chapters 101-122 of the Surprise Municipal Code. The council-approved LDO and PEDS documents are available here:

Land Development Ordinances (Approved Dec. 15; Effective Jan. 14)
Planning & Engineering Design Standards (Approved Dec. 15; Effective Jan. 14)

Why Did We Update the LDO and PEDS?

It had been nine years since we had a comprehensive update to our development code. Through this update, we were able to:

  • Align our ordinances and design standards with the values described in the Surprise General Plan 2035
  • Implement new state statutes and federal guidelines 
  • Improve the City’s standards for site development, open space, architectural design 
  • Consolidate the City’s design standards guides into one document
  • Simplify and clarify the structure/organization of the documents and the rules within them, making them easier to read, administer and enforce

Some highlights of the updated code include:

  • Existing entitlements, including Planned Area Developments (PAD), Planned Unit Developments (PUD) and development agreements will retain any specific regulations and standards previously granted by the City.
  • Future subdivisions, including those looking to build homes on smaller lots, must provide forms of usable open space and recreation amenities. 
  • There are significant protections for desert preservation (washes, wildlife corridors, hillsides, etc.) and connecting trails across the city’s future growth.

For more information, please contact Community Development Planner Joshua Mike at joshua.mike@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.3134.