Cottonwood P&Z OKs rezoning

Whoever ends up building on the parcel of land near Cottonwood's Wal-Mart Supercenter will have to meet 24 different stipulations and go through the regular round of city staff, commission and council reviews.

Potential builders will also need to have their site plans approved by the city before the land's zoning is changed from residential to heavy commercial.

Members of the planning and zoning commission made the stipulations and the project approval conditions of the zoning change that was requested Monday night by the owner of the site.

Located on the west side of Silverado Drive, the parcel was annexed into the city about two years ago. The Cottonwood general plan designates the land for performance commercial/ industrial use. It currently holds the Yavapai County R1L-35 zoning (residential, 35,000 sq. ft. minimum) The owner of the property, Larry Green, asked for a city zoning of C-2 (heavy commercial).

Community Development Director Jerry Owen explained at the commission's Monday meeting that no commercial users have entered the picture yet. The zoning request is from the land developer.

According to a staff report, the landowner is responsible for bringing street access, water sewer and other utilities to the site preparing the property for development.

Different development scenarios have been discussed but, "all these plans are conceptual at this point," Owen said.

Steve Biasini, a representative for Green, attended the commission's meeting. He also attended a neighborhood meeting March 16.

The meeting between developer, staff and residents was called for at the commission's Feb. 28 meeting. Commissioners tabled the zoning decision on that date hoping that the parties could compromise.

Biasini confirmed that currently no one is in the process of purchasing the land for development. Green is seeking the zoning change to make it easier to market the land for commercial development.

Owen explained that businesses want the commercial zoning in place before they'll even consider a piece of land. He said the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Lowe's Home Improvement are two local examples of how that works.

The neighbors were still uneasy about the proposal Monday night.

Resident Bob Gillies spoke out at the meeting, saying he thought other zoning labels could be more appropriate for the area.

"This is a threat to this neighborhood," he told the commission.

Others mentioned property values, quality of life, noise and scenic views.

Commissioner David Mazzuchelli ended up making the motion to approve the zoning change based on a concrete proposal for the initial stages of the project. Staff's 24 stipulations were also included in the motion.

The commission approved the conditional change in a 4-2 vote. Ed Kiyler and Terry Fisher voted against the zoning change.

Fisher said he had hoped the neighborhood meeting would have found a compromise. He also said he feels for the neighbors who will have to come back for more meetings as the project's come in.

Kiyler explained he felt the commission hasn't been told everything regarding the project.

"There are too many blanks here," he said.

The final decision on the zoning change will be made by the Cottonwood city council.

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