ESLO Fact Sheet for Scottsdale Arizona

Latest Revisions Approved
Minor Amendments to ESL (Effective Mar 22, 2007)

Restoration of Damaged Desert Areas (Effective Mar 22, 2007)

Side Yard Setbacks for properties zoned ESL (Effective October 26, 2006)

Undeveloped lot with an ESL overlay?
The city has recently developed an instructional diagram that demonstrates how to determine the buildable lot area.

The Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance (ESLO) is a set of zoning regulations adopted by the City Council in 1991 (amended in 2001, 2003 and 2004) to guide development throughout the 134 square miles of desert and mountain areas of Scottsdale. These areas are located north and east of the Central Arizona Project canal.

Key Resources

The most recent City Council adopted changes to the ESL Ordinance became effective March 22, 2007.

Citizens Guide to ESL


ESLO Ordinance Text(pdf/115kb/28pp)

ESLO History

Exemption Schedule

Exterior Lighting for Single-Family in ESL

Design Standards & Policies Manual
Wash Modifications
Hardship Exemptions
Indigenous Plant List for ESL

List of Protected Native Plants

What is NAOS?

NAOS Forms (Easements,
Modification, Enhancement, etc)

We’re Here to Help
Don’t know who to call, where to start… staff is available to personally answer your questions and respond to specific questions.

Call 480-312-7800 or email

The intent and purpose of the ESLO is to identify and protect environmentally sensitive lands in the City and to promote public health and safety by controlling development on these lands. The ordinance requires that a percentage of each property be permanently preserved as natural area open space and that specific environmental feature, including vegetation, washes, mountain ridges and peaks, be protected from inappropriate development.

Community Benefit
The ESLO has a direct impact on the citizens of Scottsdale as its key provisions determine the location and design of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development in two-thirds of the City. Application of the ESLO, and its predecessor the Hillside Ordinance, has resulted in the preservation of over 9,000 acres of Sonoran Desert open space while protecting our citizens from
potential flooding, erosion and visual blight.

Staff Contacts:
•Kira Wauwie, 480-312-7061 or