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Thu, April 09

County P&Z officials greenlight land-use plan

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday made a few changes to the county's new Comprehensive Plan before sending it to the Board of Supervisors for final adoption.

The plan, a 99-page document, is a guide that addresses the way land will be used in the county. It's mandated by the state legislature and is updated regularly.

Called the "General Plan" in previous versions, it is divided into eight sections: transportation, land use, growth areas, water, energy, open space, environment, and cost of development.

The last plan was developed by professional consultants at a cost of about $250,000; this time around, it was done in-house by the Development Services department with public input, including a volunteer citizens' advisory committee.

The Comprehensive Plan does not change zoning in any way. It is more like a "vision statement," with goals, objectives, and recommendations outlining the way Yavapai County should be developed in the long term.

Wednesday was the second of two public meetings to discuss the plan and make alterations in it.

Three major changes came from Commissioners:

• Commissioner Joan McClelland was concerned with the way census data was presented, and asked that it be clarified in the final plan.

• Commissioner Tom Reilly asked for more specifics than what he called a "feel-good statement" in the water section, which read, "Prepare a list of alternatives to continue to supply water to a growing county;" he wanted the Water Advisory Committee to be included in the document.

• Concern from members of the public drove a change to a part of the map near Sedona, which had U.S. Forest Service land preemptively designated as a Transitional Growth Area in case it should ever revert to private land. After considering public input, the Commissioners asked that the potential designation be changed to Rural Area.

A major difference between the last plan and the current one is that this plan has a mechanism within it requiring reviews every six months; the previous plan had no such provision, and, as a result, it wasn't reviewed very often.

"It wasn't ignored," said Development Services Director Steve Mauk. "What we didn't do...is go in and meet some of the specifics that were there." He used the example of a water conservation code. "Nobody looked at that plan and said, "Okay, that's something we need to do, let's go do it.'

"Now, I would go every six months and give the Board (of Supervisors) and the (Planning and Zoning) Commission and update on where we are in the plan, as far as implementation," as well as changes in the law that affect it.

The Commission voted 7-0 to forward the plan to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation that they approve it.

--Daily Courier

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