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County Comprehensive Plan on the homestretch
7/10/2012 2:29:00 PM
By Steve Ayers
COTTONWOOD - If the attendance at meetings is any indication, few people pay attention to the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan.
That is until someone wants to change it, and walks into the county's Development Services Department with plans to build a 10,000-unit subdivision adjacent to your rural paradise.
Then you and your neighbors discover some forward-thinking folks created a document that outlines a vision for your community, which doesn't include 10,000-unit subdivisions.
Hoping to be elected next time they run, the supervisors ultimately reject the subdivision and you are saved by a document you cared little about or never knew existed.
Since 2010, county staff, a citizen advisory committee and whoever bothered to show up and express their views at numerous public meetings, have been shaping the look of the county for the next 10 years.
Their work, a draft update of the Comprehensive Plan, will go before the Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission this month for their perusal. With their recommendation it will go to the Board of Supervisors for final approval in September.
State law requires comprehensive plans be updated every 10 years.
And this time around, because the county has passed a population threshold, it must address things it has never addressed before -- like energy, environment, cost of development and identifying areas of growth.
Last time the county revised the plan, it was hired out to a consultant, costing about $250,000. Economic conditions dictated otherwise this time around.
"We had the time and talent on staff to do it ourselves this time. It's been a learning experience for everyone and it's also been a challenge, but at the some time it's been an opportunity to build a working relationship with the residents," says Development Services Director Steve Mauk.
One of the biggest challenges, says Mauk, has been educating the public as to what the Comprehensive Plan is and what it is not.
"The plan does not change anyone's taxes, it does not change zoning or current use of land or anyone's address. It's a tool used to guide decision makers by outlining the public's wishes," says Mauk.
Some 90 agencies and community groups have reviewed the plan. But that does not mean the review is over. Over the next few weeks, residents can still read, review and comment on the plan.
It is available online at www.yavapai.us. It is also available at county offices in Cottonwood and Prescott. If you have questions or comments you can call Development Services at (928) 639-8151.
"The only thing we ask is if you are going to read it, read all of it," says Mauk. "If you read only part of it you might as well not read it at all. Reading it completely will answer most questions."
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