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4/3/2014 2:04:00 PM
Cornville P&Z rejects Camp Soaring Eagle
Proposal now will go before Cornville Community Assn.
The Cornville Planning and Zoning Committee’s recommendation for denial of the Camp Soaring Eagle project will now be forwarded to the Board of the Cornville Community Association. VVN/Jon Pelletier
The Cornville Planning and Zoning Committee’s recommendation for denial of the Camp Soaring Eagle project will now be forwarded to the Board of the Cornville Community Association. VVN/Jon Pelletier
Cornville Community Assn. Board Member Debbi Segall chastised the committee for only listening to people who opposed the zoning, and not affording the same opportunity to people who supported the plan. VVN/Jon Pelletier
Cornville Community Assn. Board Member Debbi Segall chastised the committee for only listening to people who opposed the zoning, and not affording the same opportunity to people who supported the plan. VVN/Jon Pelletier

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

CORNVILLE -- A brief meeting Wednesday night abruptly ended the Camp Soaring Eagle's appearance before the Cornville Planning and Zoning Committee.

The recommendation for denial will now be forwarded to the Board of the Cornville Community Association.

Many neighbors rallied against the proposal that Camp Soaring Eagle be allowed Planned Area Development zoning in the middle of their residential community on North Aspaas Road.

Camp Soaring Eagle is proposing to purchase two parcels totaling about 26 acres off North Aspaas Road from the Living Waters Foundation. Living Waters formerly held religious retreats on the property. CSE, as part of its community outreach, had two meetings with neighbors before approaching the advisory committee on planning issues.

Planning Board Member Carole Mackler read a list of clarifications from the February meeting and Camp Soaring Eagle attorney Cameron Carter presented an example of the proposed calendar to show the maximum 32 events annually proposed for the property. Those events would include camp programs for critically ill children, summer camps and camper weekends and the third-party uses, mainly as fundraisers, that have raised the hackles of neighbors.

Carter explained that no use would have more than 120 occupants and that the outside uses must follow the same rules as the children for whom the camp is proposed.

Cornville resident Jonathan Robinson said he agrees with the Foundation's "fabulous mission, but it's the wrong location." Robinson told the board that Camp Soaring Eagle had a bad history when it originally planned its operation on the Verde Valley School land years earlier. He questioned, "What confidence should we have here?"

Another neighbor, Brad Wheeler, claimed that CSE had failed in its lease agreement, and "walked away from" an adjacent property it had purchased and left buildings unfinished as the economy was crumbling. Wheeler said he got the information from the Verde Valley School director, who was not employed there at the time.

About 45 minutes after the meeting was opened, Board Chairman Stephen Cassagio made his motion to reject the PAD zoning request. It was approved unanimously and the board adjourned.

"We opposed the PAD zoning," said Cassagio. "We recommended they buy the property and use a Conditional Use Permit to operate Camp Soaring Eagle. After a period of three to five years, then apply for a PAD zoning.

"Right now we don't want to change the residential zoning to a PAD, because once you do that, you can't change it back."

Even though the formal meeting was over, Debbi Segall, a member of the board of the Cornville Community Association, told Cassagio that the committee had heard from the people who opposed the zoning, but did not afford the same opportunity to people who supported the plan.

Erin and Steve Estes of Cornville were among those who support the Camp Soaring Eagle operation. Erin said this is the only buyer that would put so many restrictions on itself.

Immediate neighbor Kami Mulcaire, who said that she and husband Tommy disagree over the issue, said that CSE is "chastised for bringing changes, but it was you who asked for the changes."

Related Stories:
• County decision on Camp Soaring Eagle an obvious railroad job
• Editorial: Sense of fair play missing from Cornville P&Z decision process
• Commentary: Camp Soaring Eagle will be a good neighbor to Cornville
• Letter: Cornville P&Z's handling of our case does not pass the smell test

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Article comment by: you are right

You are right Cornville resident There are openings on the CCA and if people in the community want to join, come to meetings and see how things are done, they should run for the board. It isn't an easy job to have but maybe some new blood might help. Stop talking about it and do it, It's easier to be a Monday morning quarterback than it is to be a full time player.

Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Article comment by: Its About PAD Zoning

Living Waters is a “non-conforming” use in a residential zoning that restricts the area to no more than one home per acre. PAD rezoning would change the current area zoning for the property from residential to a multiple use permit that would allow various uses of the Living Waters property regardless of the promise of restrictions and assurances that are given by CSE’s attorneys.
Yavapai County’s Planning and Zoning Ordinance states that “A non-conforming use may not be changed to another use unless or without complying with the provisions of this Ordinance”. Changing this non-conformance property to a PAD is a Change of Use, uses allowed in a PAD are not allowed in a residential zoned district.
The Ordinance states that the purpose of a Planned Area Development (PAD) is intended “to provide for various types and combinations of land use (such as commercial centers, single and multi-family housing, golf course developments, industrial complexes, and public spaces) through the adoption of a development plan”. The Ordinance further states that “a PAD district applicant or his successors in interest may file a request for a major amendment with the Development Services Department”
A Change in Use is just what CSE is doing with the zoning now, they have hired professional zoning attorneys to have a “non-conforming” residential zoned property rezoned to a use that allows them to hold major events in a residential neighborhood. Once rezoned to a PAD, the same zoning attorneys for CSE, or a subsequent buyer, can apply for a major change in the restrictions to allow an even higher use. This is the problem with rezoning a residential property to a PAD, there’s no going back.

Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Article comment by: Mr Max James, Where Have You Gone?

You told us about your dreams and aspirations at the first lost your cool big time when confronted with "neighborhood" issues.................We do have some additional questions for you, and you alone, that only you can answer. C'mon, put your big guy pants on and lets chat...........

Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Article comment by: Credit risk

If CSE can only get financing if they get PAD zoning that will inflate the property value, then I wouldn't put much faith in any promises.

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Told ya so.

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: Cornville Resident

4 of the 7 board of directors positions will be over THIS year. The other 3 are up next year. This is a good year for change if anyone wants to see it happen.

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: who is listening

I too have been to most of these meetings and reading all the information provided by both sides. I think what the CCA P&Z committee is trying to do it keep groups from coming into residential neighborhoods and changing the zoning. they don't care and shouldn't care what it going to be there. Their job is to follow the County rules and what is best for the community of Cornville. The CSE group did change a few requests but the main question I have is, why are you concentrating so much on 3rd party events and the money you will make from them, than on the issue at hand, Ill Kids. You are a non-profit organization not a business to make money. If you can't get funding unless it is zoned a PAD, that seems to be a problem everyone should be worried about. What is going to happen when they can't make a go of the camp? Lastly, who does Debbi Segel think she is making such a spectacle of herself at a committee meeting of her own organization. Pretty unprofessional

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: Affair Analysis

It’s good that CSE has made a concession by reducing the max number of people per day for any event from 300 to 120, and they have finally made an attempt to show annual people loading on the property as shown in their 2015 CSE Calendar of Uses. Unfortunately their logic is faulty and incomplete.

Surely most fair minded thinking people see that listing the number of people attending each event and totaling the column for the year doesn’t show the true number of days the site will be in use.

We must also consider how long each group will stay to determine how busy the site will be. We must also show the support people required for preparation before each event, support of the event conduct, and cleanup and resupply after the event.

Perhaps this lack of clarity is by simple lack of analysis ability, or perhaps by desire to spin the data in their favor. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Their calendar lists the planned events and the number of people that may attend each event, and they then state the number of days each event will last. ONE MORE COLUMN IS NEEDED TO THE RIGHT TO COMPLETE THE PICTURE. SPECIFICALLY, THEY SHOULD HAVE A COLUMN TITLED:" TOTAL PARTICIPANT DAYS".

TOTAL PARTICIPANT DAYS = (Number of Persons per event) times (Number of Days for the event). For example, A Summer Camp Program Event hosting 68 people for 6 days = 408 Participant Days.

Doing this for all events on their calendar, then totaling the column you will see the true number of participant days on site equals 6,865 not 1816.

Then we must add the support people on site full time and pre and post events to get the full picture of total activity.

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: On The Creek

I’m sure that if the Cornville P & Z committee had approved CSE’s application to rezone Living Waters to a PAD that we, the neighbors to the property who have the most skin in the game, would be carping just as the supporters of CSE are now doing. The property is inappropriate for a children’s camp in the first place, it’s a Sweat Lodge waiting to happen. The buildings lack code required fire protection, the inaccessibility of fire support vehicles to get to the buildings much less to get to the site, the 30 year old buildings that don’t meet ADA minimums necessary for disabled children or adults, a septic system that does not meet even the minimum AZ Environmental Quality requirements, only two of the three wells providing water to the camp are in working order. The buildings were never intended to be domiciles, most of the beds are bunk beds in large rooms on the second levels of the buildings.
How much of the donated money that CSE has received to support the children have they wasted chasing a property that would only be a money pit if they were to buy it? This is typical of the past performance of this group. We have attended all the CSE community meetings and each time, CSE starts with a presentation of what a beneficial purpose they provide to children without hope as if that is the reason they should own this property in a residential neighborhood. But in each meeting they present a greater use of the property than the last, now depending on “third party” users to pay for their operations. Third Party users are not disadvantaged children, they would be paying guests.

Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Article comment by: Perfect Place

Lots of parcels going to foreclosure out in Angel Valley.
There would be no better or more appropriate place for a campground than out there. CSE should check it out.

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
Article comment by: sherry john

Why all the fuss. Listen the residents that live around Living Water. If they want the new commercial PAD zoning let them have it. They live there. Simple. Horse properties and houses surround the project. So just show up and voice your opinion to the County on the 23rd. The Cornville Association is not the issue.

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
Article comment by: Hopefully Happy

Hopefully the current CSE request for PAD rezoning of residential property will be approved. Perhaps the approval will allow me to get PAD approvals too, in the near future, so that I can develop my parcels for multi-use.

I anticipated years ago that Cornville will grow, and this CSE PAD rezoning approval will show that I was right. My several parcels are north of Living Waters, near Oak Creek Valley Estates, and south of Oak Creek itself.

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
Article comment by: Steven Jenks

Such rancor. Life's too short.

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
Article comment by: Maren Joslin

I could not attend the meeting , but I will state again, the PAD is not about Camp Soaring Eagle but about land usage and impact on the adjoining properties. I have been at all the prior meetings and my researched questions have NOT been answered publicly by the REPRESENTATIVES of CSE. I have been involved because I will be impacted by whatever buyer of the property comes to pass. Newcomers to this discussion should review the comments posted after the 2nd meeting at Oak Creek School...........This whole fiasco has been going on since DEC of last year...........Before you make statements, please do your homework and decide your position on researched FACTS!!!!

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
Article comment by: Perry Suden

I believe, unwittingly, The Cornville Planning and Zoning Committee by their inappropriate process of conducting the meeting will, in the long run, serve to rally more supporters for Camp Soaring Eagle that will lead to its approval. Yes, as is known and has been stated, there will be an impact in our neighborhood for all of us, and the greatest, to the campers.

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