The northern portion (roughly all areas of the city north of the 101 freeway) are protected by Scottsdale’s Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance (ELSO) to protect our sensitive natural desert.  It requires that every parcel dedicates a minimum of 20% of its land area as Natural Area Open Space (NAOS); this is an easement that is formally deeded to the city as an area that will not be developed nor disturbed from its natural desert state.  Further all areas of every parcel are designated as NAOS until a city permit has been filed and approved that allows specific construction or other development on the parcel.

The HVR1 CC&Rs and Building Guidelines (see sidebar) adhere to the ELSO, as every HOA in Scottsdale is required to do.  Every homeowner should read and understand these rules before planning any construction or landscaping to avoid fines and other enforcement by the city and HOA.

Our desert is delicate and unlike most any other metropolitan area in the U.S.  Water is precious.  Plants are acclimated to very little water and are difficult to restore if disturbed.  Our desert “critters” need them for habitats and food in a delicately balanced food chain.  Everything, including the plants, animals, and us, protect ourselves from dehydration, especially in the hot summer months.  Plants may look “dead” but are not; they come back to life with the Fall and Winter rains and cooler temperatures.

Native Plants

The City of Scottsdale publishes very specific guides on Protected Native Plants, that is enforced by city and state agencies, and Recommended Indigenous Plants.

Protection of native plants also requires elimination of invasive plants that are fast-growing and tend to push out the native plants.  Desert Broom is a fire hazard and particularly hard to remove once established, so we urge residents to identify and remove them while they are small and easily pulled.

HVR1’s deliberate native landscaping contrasts with the manicured (“poodle-balled”) look of many neighboring communities.  While some pruning is appropriate, particularly to minimize damage from potential wildfires following Scottsdale Fire Department guidelines, what distinguishes and attracts people to our neighborhood is our preservation of natural desert.  The Scottsdale Fire Department has developed new guidelines for NAOS wildlands that we will be posting here soon as they become available.

Other Resources

Exterior Lighting Ordinance from the City of Scottsdale (Section 7.600, Single-Family Residence)
Living with Wildlife in Arizona  from AZ Dept of Game and Fish