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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news June 28, 2016

9/22/2010 9:36:00 AM
Angel Valley Retreat zoning delayed

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD - Yavapai County took no action Monday on the zoning for the Angel Valley Retreat, the site where three advocates of James Ray died during a Spiritual Warrior sweat lodge event in October.

The Board of Supervisors was considering the planning commission's Aug. 18 recommendation to deny a zone change to the 38-acre retreat, along the Oak Creek between Cottonwood and Sedona.

However, when the proposal faced the supervisors Monday, the request had been scaled back to only half the capacity of that the Planning Commission heard.

Originally, the operator, Michael Hamilton, had asked that the permission also increase the capacity to 111 overnight guests from the existing capacity of 46-person capacity.

The amended request before the supervisors called for only 48 overnight guests and only nine additional cabins, so that staff could also live on site.

Supervisor Chip Davis suggested that the proposal return to the Commission for re-consideration based on the change, and the board unanimously agreed.

Planning staff originally had called the hearing to consider a zone change to PAD, since the retreat was found to allow others to use the site for events. But County Commissioners suggested that a conditional use permit was needed instead to allow a regular review of activities there rather than a permanent zone change from rural residential to planned area development.

Supervisor Carol Springer said one question that continually must be asked, despite the size, is "whether the use is to be commercial or religious."

The retreat is currently allowed in a residential zone as a matter of right because of its religious status.

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