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Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan Planning Effort

TO VIEW THE PLAN DOCUMENT (as a Adobe PDF document), HERE IS A LINK TO THE COUNTY WEB SITE PAGE (Opens in a new window). 


October 24, 2001

Three years of work in passage of San Pedro Valley Area Plan



BISBEE - It took more than three years, but the Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan and Land Use Map is now part of Cochise County's Comprehensive Plan.

The Board of Supervisors approved the program Tuesday.

Work on the plan began more than three years ago when area residents wanted to address growth pressures within the plan area. Through three years of public comment, the plan slowly changed and evolved as residents explained what they wanted and didn't want in the area.

The plan is not a firm restriction on what can and cannot be built, but instead establishes guidelines for new residents to look over as they prepare to build.

The plan area covers 83 square miles within the boundaries of the Palominas Fire District, with Hereford Road to the north, the U.S.-Mexico border to the south, Huachuca Mountains to the west and the intersection of Hereford Road and Highway 92 to the east.

"I was most impressed by the willingness of residents to come together in planning the future of their community," District 1 Supervisor Pat Call said. "There were some hard issues, but everyone worked through them and produced a great plan."

The plan came about because area residents voiced concerns and the county made every effort to include the residents in every step of making and fine-tuning the plan.

The process began when a group of residents spoke at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and the commission began to develop the plan. The commission then appointed a committee made up of area business owners, ranchers, developers and homeowners to carry the process forward.

The committee met monthly in public meetings and attempted to keep area residents involved. The committee started by doing a survey of all property owners in the plan area and the results were used as the basis for the plan draft.

But the survey did not end the attempt to garner public input. County officials went into the community, meeting with the Palominas Neighborhood Alliance and the Three Canyon's Ranch Homeowner's Association.

"What's really important is the process itself," said Judy Anderson, the county's assistant planning director. "Residents have the opportunity to speak and be part of what the government does."

The goal of the plan, as defined by county officials, is to "ensure that new development within the Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan boundaries is designed to complement the rural character."

The plan will serve as a guideline for new developmental requests for subdivisions, rezonings, plan amendments, special uses and master development plans while respecting the community's desire to preserve the area's rural character.

The public will continue to be involved in the process as part of the land use notification policy, which was added as an alternative to a Design Review Committee, to promote continued community participation during the implementation of the plan.

"We want people to always have a say," Anderson said. "Whether they come in early or late in the process, we will work with them to address their concerns."

Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan wins approval
By Diane Saunders, Herald Review  (09/16/01)

BISBEE - The proposed Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan, minus its provision for a design review committee, gained a favorable recommendation Wednesday from the county Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission's 7-0 vote came after nearly two hours of comments from Palominas residents, most of whom said they did not oppose the plan, but did oppose the design review committee. Commissioners Barry Lay and Nancy McAvoy did not attend the meeting.

Instead of the design review committee, the commission approved an alternative provision that all interested organizations and individuals be notified of pending development in Palominas.

The Board of Supervisors will make a final decision during a meeting at 2 p.m. Oct. 16.

The vote also came after the resignation of the Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan Committee Chairman Joe Scelso. He expressed anger and frustration with plan and design review committee opponents who claimed they did not know about the proposal until a week ago.

He pointed out the Plan Committee has been working on the document and map for more than three years. The committee's work included community surveys, monthly public meetings, mailings and a public input session displaying the proposed map and document.

Scelso said the 11th hour opposition to the plan and the design review committee made him "want to throw up:' He also pointed out that the provision for design review was only for an 18 month trial basis.

The Planning and Zoning Commission tabled action on the plan in July in order to give the Plan Committee a chance to fine tune the document and build consensus in the community. Attendees of a public meeting in August worked with committee members to outline the composition and duties of the design review committee.

However, several Palominas residents contended Wednesday they had no knowledge of the plan and were never contacted about the Plan Committee's activities and meetings, including the August meeting. Palominas resident Stuart Dutcher and a few others also asked that a vote on the proposal be delayed a second time.

According to Scelso rumor and falsehoods about the plan inundated the Palominas community during the last week. He said if people had attended any of the numerous public meetings they would have understood the process and the plan.

"What I have heard about this committee in the last few weeks is astonishing," Scelso said. "People, wake up!"

He also said he had no intention of doing any future work on the plan. "You have my official resignation from this committee," he said.

Another Plan Committee member, Walter Kolbe, said he found it "ludicrous" that people claim they only heard about the plan seven days ago.

MaryFrances Clinton, another Plan Committee member, said the outcry at Wednesday's meeting was a "Rip Van Winkle" reaction.

Palominas resident Douglas Snyder said he and his wife moved to Palominas about a year ago. "Within a month we knew about the committee," he said, adding that he and his wife regularly attended meetings and often were the only members of the public present.

Richard Mayne, a Palominas resident and businessman, said he opposes the design review committee. He also said he is too busy to read his mail and newspaper articles about the plan.

Wes Flowers, a Palominas rancher, said "I'm 100 percent for this plan. They did a fantastic job, as far as I'm concerned. ... You can't please everyone."

After the 'meeting, he emphasized that he was not totally opposed to the design review committee, but had some misgivings.


Southern San Pedro Valley Plan now headed to county planning and zoning - ( SV Herald, August 26, 2001)

Palominas -  The proposed Design Review Committee for the Southern San Pedro Valley will have a trial run of 18 months before a final decision on its future is made.
   That was the recommendation of the Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan Committee after listening to more than an hour of public comment and suggestions Thursday.
   The proposed plan, including the formation of the Design Review Committee , will go to the county Planning and Zoning Commission Sept. 12 for review and a vote on a recommendation to the county Board of Supervisors.
   The three elected supervisors will make the final decision on the plan.
   If approved, the plan will serve as a guideline for future development in the 83-square mile area within the boundaries of the Palominas Fire District.  The Design Review Committee, appointed by the county Planning and Zoning Commission, would have nine members, two from the Ash Canyon area, two from Three Canyons, two from Miracle Valley and three from the remainder of Palominas.
   In July, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to table the plan after several area residents objected to the Design Review Committee.  Members of the Three Canyons Homeowners Association said than that the sub-division's conditions, covenants and restrictions, or CC&R's, already address county regulations.
   Three Canyons already had a design review process and sought to be exempt from the Ssouthern San Pedro Valley Plan.
   During the meeting Thursday, several Three Canyons property owners and other Palominas residents asked questions about the role of the proposed Design Review Committee and how members would be chosen.
   Palominas resident Richard Mayne said the committee would serve as another layer of bureaucracy and is unneccessary.  He said instead of dealing with a committee Palominas residents should just communicate with the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.
   He also said he was concerned that the Design Review Committee could restrict uses of private property.
Joe Scelso, chairman of the Southern San Pedro Valley Committee, said the plan's purpose is not to limit land use, but serve as a guideline.  "This plan doesn't change what you can do with your land," Scelso said.
   Southern San Pedro Committee member Walter Kolbe said rather than another layer of bureaucracy, the Design Review Committee would serve to open up dialogue and work out solutions to development problems before rezoning or special use requests go to the county Planning and Zoning Commission for a decision.
   Brenda Pratt, president of the Palominas Community Alliance, offered an optimistic viewpoint, "I think the community as a whole agrees with the plan."
   Judy Slyter, sevretary of the Three Canyons Homeowners Association, said after the meeting that she was pleased with the outcome.  "We all live here.  We're all wanting the same thing, " she said.

Scenic corridors’ removed from valley plan after public comments
03/23/01 (From the Sierra Vista Herald)
Sierra Vista Herald

PALOMINAS — Although the proposed Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan appears to have community support, there are a few issues that must be addressed, members of the Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan Committee learned Thursday.

Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Judy Anderson said the “scenic corridors” shown on the plan map were not well-received by the public. She said she believed several residents thought the corridors would limit land usage.

Amendments to the proposed map and plan will be made before it is presented to the Cochise County Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission will make a recommendation for approval or denial to the county Board of Supervisors.

“People can do what they want with their property,” Committee Chairman Joe Scelso said of the scenic corridors.

The intent of showing scenic corridors on the map was to let people know where scenic, or “long views,” are located, Anderson wrote in her summary of written public comments. She presented the summary to the committee Thursday.

She explained that the county cannot limit development unless it purchases an easement.

According to Anderson’s report, Gerald Chouinard, founder of the Our Lady of the Sierras shrine, feared the scenic corridor designation would preclude him from building a church in the area.

Anderson pointed out that churches are permitted in all zoning designations.

But to eliminate confusion and misunderstanding, committee members agreed to remove the designation from the map. Anderson’s report also shows the people who attended a public input meeting in February agreed with all five main plan policy questions. People voted for or against the questions written on wall charts by placing red or green dots on the charts. Red signified opposition while green signified support.

The questions covered several issues:

• Encouraging location of new high and medium density residential uses and new businesses next to existing developed areas.

• No industrial uses within the plan area.

• Maintaining the area’s rural character.

• Allow new businesses if their buildings are designed to fit in with the natural surroundings and follow a ranch or southwest theme.

• Only one driveway access to Highway 92 for new businesses or subdivisions unless the developer proves a second driveway is needed for safety.


San Pedro Valley Plan gets support
Diane Saunders
Sierra Vista Herald

PALOMINAS — The community response to the proposed Southern San Pedro Valley Area Plan was mostly favorable during a meeting at Valley View School Saturday. The doors to the school’s multi-purpose room opened at 9 a.m. Saturday. By 10 a.m. nearly 60 people had signed in to watch a “powerpoint” presentation, look over maps, talk to members of the Southern San Pedro Valley Planning Committee and fill out questionnaires. Several members of the county’s planning staff also were present to answer question.

Bill Odle, who has called Palominas home for about six months, said he viewed the plan as “overall positive. Keep it (Palominas) rural. Slow up this cancerous spread.” FROM PAGE A1 Another area resident, Rich McArthur, also like the plan. “I think it’s a good start. Some things need to be tweaked here and there. But at least somebody is doing something,” he said.

Katie Salwei said the plan reflects more of a “suburban” character than a rural character for Palominas. “I don’t consider four acres rural character,” she said, referring to the minimum lot size. “It’s very suburban. There should be more of a buffer zone of bigger properties around the (San Pedro) river.”

She added that the committee did a lot of work in creating the plan. “They did an excellent job,” she said. Ellen Logue said, “I think people are in favor of the overall idea. I think the committee has done a good job.” The committee, made up of community volunteers appointed by the county Board of Supervisors, has been working on the plan for nearly three years. County Planning and Zoning Director Jim Vlahovich explained the committee will make a few changes based on public input, then send the document to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. The plan will not change current zoning or existing permitted uses.

Committee member Linda Lussier said overall, people are positive about the plan. She said most people want Palominas to remain rural.

Judy Slyter, president of the Three Canyons Master Homeowners Association, said homeowners want to keep the area rural. They also want to keep Three Canyons Boulevard a private road.

Those attending the open house also had an opportunity to “vote” on several plan statements. The statements were written on large posters placed on the walls on three sides of the room. People agreeing with the statements placed a green sticker on the poster. Those opposed placed a red sticker.

Statements pertaining to retaining the area’s rural character, calling for no industrial uses and limiting the number of driveways to businesses received an overwhelming number of green stickers.

Two statements drew closer votes. One, about allowing businesses in rural areas if a ranch or Southwest building design is used, received 18 green stickers and 12 red stickers. Another statement, this time about guiding new businesses to Miracle Valley or the business area near the intersection of Highway 92 and Palominas Road, also drew a split vote. Twenty people placed green stickers, while 13 placed red stickers, signifying disagreement. Those who want to submit written comments have until March 16. For more information, call 432-9450.


For more information or questions call Joe Scelso, 366-0008, Mary Frances Clinton, 515-0251 both committee members or Judy Anderson, 432-9450 Cochise County Planning Department


For information about,  or comments on this website, please email
We want to extend our sincere  THANKS to all the community sponsors!
These merchants, individuals, families, and friends of Palominas daily reflect our community pride!

The Morning Star Cafe
Matthew & Brenda Pratt

Casa de San Pedro 
Bed & Birding
Hereford Realty
Jackie Collins (Owner/Broker)
Judi MacNeil
Long Realty
Copper Queen Community Hospital
Bisbee, Arizona
Raymond Candell
Doug & Jean Snyder
Judy Combs
Four Feathers Realty, L.C.
Keith & Teresa Mullen
Palominas Child Care
Debbie Stoner
The Bisbee Doll Doctor
Ellen S. Logue
Rockin JP Ranch, Inc.
Joe & Patty Scelso
Canyon General Convenience Stores Neal Galt Insurance Big Wheels Construction
Backhoe Service & More
Bob & Jan Bullard Shady & Jack Chapman Jim & Jan Arndt