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The Planning Zone
What the Planning Department Does and Why???

Plan and provide for the future growth and improvement of the unincorporated areas of Cochise County in order to conserve and promote the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare of the citizens of this county.

• Enabling Legislation
 ARS Section 11

• Established in the 1970’s
    Planning & Zoning Commission in 1972 Zoning Regulations Adopted in 1975 Light Pollution Code in 1982 Cochise County Comprehensive Plan Adopted in 1984  Rural Addressing in 1989

How We’re Organized
1. Planning Department Divisions 1. Building (Linda Weiland) 2. Planning (Judy Anderson)
1. Rural addressing
(Sally Snowball or Janet Smith)

How it All Fits Together
Comprehensive Plan:
•Blueprint for County Growth •Land Use Maps & Goals & Policies

•Specifies land uses allowed in different districts •Lists site development standards: setbacks & parking

•Light Pollution Code •Hazard Abatement •Clearing Ordinance •Building Code

Development Review
•Subdivisions •Building Permits

Cochise County Comprehensive Plan
This is the “umbrella”

document that guides
land use decisions and

serves as the blueprint for the
kinds of zoning to be expected in

a particular area.

Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan Summary
• Growth Areas
– Category A - Intensive Growth Areas (Around SV) – Category B - Urban Growth Areas - (Around cities & Sunsites, St. David etc.) – Category C - Rural Growth Areas (Small communities e.g. Elfrida,Naco) – Category D - Rural Areas – – – – Neighborhood Conservation - where people live Enterprise -clusters of business and industry Developing - An area that is changing Rural - Large residential lots & agriculture

• Designations

Zoning Regulations

• Is my property zoned? Yes • When was it zoned? – Zoning was adopted in 1975 for all properties in the unincorporated parts of Cochise County. • General agricultural, ranching, mining & railroad activities are exempt from County Zoning Regulations (& other ordinances) by State law.

Summary of Zoning Districts
• Rural Zoning Districts
– Approximately 90% of the unincorporated areas of the County are zoned RU (Rural)
– Rural districts allow residential uses on large lots ranging from 2-36 acres in size – A wide range of commercial and industrial activities are also

possible as Special Uses if
approved by the Commission

Residential Zoning Districts
• SR (Single-Household Residential)(Site Built Homes) - Only districts that excludes mobile & manufactured homes - Lot sizes: 9,000 square feet to 36 Acres  SM (Single Household/Manufactured Home Residential) – Excludes mobile homes (pre-1976) – Lot sizes from 9,000 square feet to 36 Acres  TR (Transitional- Residential) (All dwelling units) - Lot sizes from 9,000 to 36,000 square feet.

Multi-Residential Zoning Districts Cont’d
• MR-1: Single- and multiple-household dwellings like apartments but does not allow mobile and manufactured homes and recreational vehicles • MR-2: Single- and multiple-household dwellings does allow mobile and manufactured homes and parks and recreational vehicle parks • Smallest lot sizes allowed in residential districts: • Minimum lot size 3,600 sq.ft. per unit Used to be called Manufactured/Mobile Home District

Business & Industrial Districts
• There are several districts established to accommodate business and industrial uses ranging from least to most intensive:
– – – – NB (Neighborhood Business), GB (General Business), LI (Light Industry), HI (Heavy Industry).

• These districts allow a whole range of uses!

Our County

Mission Statement
– Provide a one-stop shop for

permits, inspections, enforcement and complaint resolution to the Citizens of Cochise County.

Building Division Functions
• Issue Residential & Commercial Building Permits
• Perform Building and Zoning Inspections

• Enforce Zoning Regulations
• Abate Hazards

What is a Permitted Use?
A use that is allowed in the zoning district but requires a permit from the Planning Department.

To Permit or Not Permit
• A permit is required for new construction, additions, installation of manufactured homes, remodels and signs > $500 outside of Building Code Areas. • A permit is also required for a change of use, such as when a different type of business is put into an existing building.
– Example: When a furniture store is changed to a restaurant, a permit is needed.

Permit Application
A complete application is the key to successful and timely permit request. Joint Permit Application  Commercial Permit Questionnaire  Hazardous Materials Questionnaire  Proof of Valid Contractor Form  A complete site plan

Getting a Permit
 Residential permits take about 5 days to issue  Non-residential take 15 days or more to issue depending on the complexity One Stop Shop  The Planning Department sends the permit to the Health and Highway and Floodplain Departments and other interested agencies for review

Enforcing Zoning Regulations
• Violations of the Zoning Regulations
     Fill out a violation form An inspector will investigate If determined a violation a letter is sent Owner given about 2 weeks to comply voluntarily If compliance is not achieved the violation is cited to the hearing officer  Hearing officer can impose a fine of $750 & up to $50 per day per violations  Process requires patience as it can be lengthy

Our County

Mission Statement
– Promote future growth of the County in an orderly, well-planned manner

– Assign physical addresses for establishment of a countywide “Enhanced 9-1-1” emergency response system.

Planning Division Functions
• Issue Rural Addresses • Process Rezoning & Special Use Permits & Master Development Plans & variances • Review Home Occupations • Process Accessory Living Quarters • Lot Modifications • Update/amend the Comprehensive Land Use Plan
– Develop localized land use plans with communities

• Process Subdivisions

Why an Address is Important
• The local fire department needs an address to find your home (Enhanced 911)

• Santa Claus can’t find the house at RR#2, or the second house, past the 3rd big rock, after the fork in the road

Rural Addressing Questions
I’m west of Hway 92, why is my address east? Why can’t I name my driveway? How are roads named? Why hasn’t my road sign been installed? Can I put up my own numbers or do I have to use the shiny green numbers the County provides? • Can I put my address numbers on the mailbox? • • • • •

Changing my Zoning: Rezonings
• Rezoning changes the range of land uses permitted on a property
– For example a lot limited to homes can be changed to allow businesses if a rezoning is approved – Neighbors are notified of the request – The Planning Commission holds a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors – The Board holds a public hearing and votes for approval, approval with conditions or disapproval

Downzoning is a voluntary action by an individual or group of landowners to decrease densities and/or uses of an area through increased minimum lot sizes
 Increased buffers between neighboring parcels  Decreased residential densities  Increased overall open space  Fewer offsite impacts  Less infrastructure needed  Preserves rural appearance

What is a Special Use?
• Uses that are approved on a case by case basis by the Planning Commission • Involve a public hearing with input from neighbors.

Special Uses in the RU Zoning Districts
There are 43 Special uses in the Rural Zoning Districts, for example:

•Auto Repair Services •RV Parks •Convenience Stores

•Shooting ranges

Home Occupations
• Gaining permission to operate a small business in your home is simple:
– Complete a short questionnaire – Submit a hand-drawn sketch plan showing the area used for the business

• Typical home occupations are:
– Internet consulting and sales – mail-order & accounting – handicrafts for craft shows.

Home Occupations Criteria
• Home still looks like a home, not a business • No outdoor display, storage or activities
– except one small on-site unlit sign and vehicular signs

• No off-site impacts (noise,odors,dust,glare etc.)

• Business uses an area no greater than ¼ of the residence’s floor area • Only 1 employee other than a resident • Minimal traffic/all parking on site • No retail sales from the property

Accessory Living Quarters
• Needed if you want to care for your mom in a small house next door or want a guest house:
– 750 square feet or 1/2 the size of your home whichever is smaller – Permitted if the neighbors have no concerns
– Only for larger parcels • RU, TR-36, SM-36, 87,174, 10-acres, 18-acres or 36-acres, or SR-43, 87,174, 10-acres, 18-acres or 36-acres.

Lot Modification
• What if my lot can’t quite meet the site development standards for my zoning districts?
– Some Site Development Standards may be eligible for a reduction of up to 10 % :
• • • • Setbacks Site coverage Height Number of Parking spaces

– Site area may be reduced:

• Permitted if the neighbors have no concerns

• 5 % for lots in a zoning district with a minimum site area of one acre or smaller • 1 % for lots in a zoning district with a minimum site area of more than one acre.

• What if my lot still can’t meet the site development standards?
– A variance can be reviewed by the Board of Adjustment at a Public Hearing

• Variances are granted if:
– There are peculiar circumstances, surroundings or conditions for which strict application of the Zoning Regulations would result in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship

What is a Community Plan?
Gives local citizens a voice in how their community grows
• Once adopted, it is a commitment from the Board of Supervisors to use the Plan as the basis of land use change decisions such as:
 rezoning requests  special use permits  subdivisions  Master development plans

A Plan Does Not……
•Affect existing zoning or •Affect existing permitted land uses!

How Big Parcels Shrink
• There are two ways that big parcels become small parcels • Formal subdivision process • (lots split all at once through a planned process) • Unregulated splits (lots split 5 times by different owners over time)

Unregulated Splits
• State law regarding splitting parcels
– 360-acre parcel can be broken into ten 36-acre parcels so long as each lot is 36-acres or larger – Each 36-acre parcel can be split 5 more times by subsequent owners if they meet the minimum lot size for zoning – No one owner can split more than 5 times

The Result

A 400-Acre parcel

Becomes Ten 40 -Acre Parcels

40 acres

40 acres

40 acres

40 acres

40 acres

400 acres
40 acres 40 acres 40 acres 40 acres 40 acres

New Owner Splits 5 Times

8 8 8 8 8 Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres

Each 40-acre parcel becomes five 8-acre parcels

New Owner Splits Twice

4 acres

4 acres

Each 8-acre parcel becomes two 4-acre parcels

End Result: 100-Lots

100 -Lots

Each With Own Home
4 acres 4 acres

16 acres
4 acres 4 acres

Problems Resulting
• Unregulated splits happen without any planning or oversight resulting in:
– Unmaintained, impassable roads – Flooding during storms – Parks, schools, or Sheriff’s protection becoming overburdened or crowded – The general taxpayers ends up paying for services rather than those served

Formal Subdivision Process
• Advantages of a formal subdivision process
– Applicant presents a planned development – County reviews all lots at once – Adequate roads, drainage, utilities, and accurate lot boundaries – Once approved and improvements are constructed the original owner can put the lots on the market all at once

Decision Making Bodies
• The Planning and Zoning Commission – 9 Volunteer members:Board of Supervisors appoints – Recommends to the Board of Supervisors on rezonings, regulation and plan amendments, community plans – Make decisions on special uses • The Boards of Adjustment – 3 volunteer members: Board of Supervisors appoints – Decides variances to the Zoning site development standards such as setbacks – Hear appeals of Planning Director interpretations • Hearing Officer – Judges violations to the Zoning Regulations

Thank you for your time
Any Questions or comments?

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