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Sat, Dec. 14

County Planning and Zoning recommends approval of permit for Rimrock well

Montezuma Rimrock Water Company Owner and President Patsy Olsen, pictured, is looking to get a use permit for an on-site well approximately 200 feet west of the intersection of Bentley Drive and Tiemann Lane in Rimrock. Wednesday, the commission voted 6-to-3 to recommend that the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approve the request. VVN/Bill Helm

Montezuma Rimrock Water Company Owner and President Patsy Olsen, pictured, is looking to get a use permit for an on-site well approximately 200 feet west of the intersection of Bentley Drive and Tiemann Lane in Rimrock. Wednesday, the commission voted 6-to-3 to recommend that the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approve the request. VVN/Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD – Montezuma Rimrock Water Company needs a permit to use one of its on-site wells to provide water for its customers.

Thursday, Yavapai County’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-to-3 to recommend the county’s Board of Supervisors approve the use permit application.

The applicant, Montezuma Rimrock Owner Patsy Olsen, seeks a permit to use the well, located on a 0.22-acre lot approximately 200 feet west of the intersection of Bentley Drive and Tiemann Lane in Rimrock.

The well would serve the Montezuma Rimrock Water Company system in an R1L-10 (residential: single-family limited, 10,000 minimum square-foot lot) zoning district.

Appropriate for commercial use?

County Development Services Director Dave Williams told the commissioners that they were charged with deciding whether this residential lot is appropriate for a commercial well.

“From a land-use point of view, we have to argue that the well was there,” Williams said. “We are here because a zoning ordinance doesn’t allow a commercial well at a residence.”

Reader poll

What do you think of Montezuma Rimrock Water Company’s request for a permit to use the Bentley Drive / Tiemann Lane well?

  • Good idea. It’s needed for that service area. 43%
  • Bad idea. The well is too close to Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well National Monument. 26%
  • Bad idea. We need more information about water supplies. 30%

53 total votes.

Olsen told the commission Thursday that she bought the parcel the well sits on because the lot “was designated for a community well.”

“The well has always been there,” Olsen said.

The well, known as Well #4, would be “a well for us to have a backup,” Olsen said.

“It’s not a new well,” Olsen told the commission. “It’s a replacement well.”

As part of the process to apply for a permit to use the well, Olsen wrote a letter of intent on June 24 to her customers and other residents within a 300 feet radius of the site of the well.

With about 200 customers, Montezuma Rimrock Water Company has two other wells, Olsen told the commission, but “one of them is no longer usable.”

‘Best interest’

Dorothy Firecloud, National Park Service superintendent for Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well National Monument, told the commission she was concerned with the Montezuma Rimrock use permit application.

She stated that Well #4 is located “on property less than 300 feet from the boundary” of Montezuma Well.

“The National Park Service is very concerned about the effects of groundwater depletion on park resources and water supplies,” Firecloud said. “Granting this use permit is not in the public’s best interest.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Commissioner Bruce George stated that “we should table this item until we know who has the right to use this water.”

But Commission Chairman Jim Stewart reminded George that the commission’s sole responsibility was to determine whether the residential lot is appropriate for a commercial well.

According to the commission’s Nov. 21 agenda, Yavapai County’s Board of Supervisors is tentatively scheduled to hear this use permit request on Dec. 18.

For more information, contact the county’s Development Services department at 928-442-5441.

Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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