Jerome preparing for P&Z presentation<br><I>Council to ask county to deny zoning change request</I>

VVN/Philip Wright

A preview presenta-tion of Jerome's argument against the county allowing land near town to be rezoned from residential to commercial was given by Jim Rush Wednesday morning to the town council.

Representatives of the council and town will make a presentation to the Yavapai County Planning & Zoning Commission Feb. 23 in opposition to a zoning change application for 6.6 acres near the entrance of the Jerome State Historic Park. The parcel, known as the Little Daisy Mine Property, is owned by Verde Exploration, Ltd., and is managed by Mike and Roberta Westcott.

If the zoning change, from residential to commercial, is approved, the Westcott family intends to lease the Engineer's Office and remodel it into a brewery and restaurant.

During several public meetings, Jerome residents, as well as council members, have voiced considerable opposition to the proposed business. Most arguments against the business focus on noise, traffic and overloading of the town's infrastructure.

Jerome resident Jim Rush gave the council a preview of the presentation during a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"This is subject to all kinds of changes," Rush said. The presentation was designed so the council could make as many changes as it wants, he said.

The presentation may be changed, but it likely will reflect most of the points brought up during previous discussions on the topic during council meetings.

The land in question lies outside of Jerome's town limits and therefore the authority of the council. But the property is within the footprint of the historical designation that overlays the town. Jerome officials believe the county will give some weight to the town's stance on the requested zoning change.

During a special meeting Jan. 26, the council passed a motion to ask the county P&Z to deny the application to rezone the parcel.

At that meeting, Mayor Jane Moore said the town's sewer plant is now running at, or above, its designed capacity. Moore also said the decision whether to support or oppose the project is a difficult one because Verde Exploration has been good to the town. But she added that the town's general plan does not recommend expanding the commercial zone into the residential zone.

Property owners adjacent to the project are reportedly against it. Moore pointed out that Jerome's fire and police departments would have to respond to any calls in the area of the proposed business.

It is estimated that the Westcott's combination brewery and restaurant would consume between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons of water per month.

Moore said that amount of water equals the usage of 10 to 30 other businesses. She said the town does not have that kind of water available in the summer.

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