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home : opinions : editorials May 25, 2016

4/9/2014 2:49:00 PM
Editorial: Sense of fair play missing from Cornville P&Z decision process
Supervisor Davis: “Sometimes we get folks that think this is a position of power instead of a position of service.”
Supervisor Davis: “Sometimes we get folks that think this is a position of power instead of a position of service.”

With the election of new officers this week, the first order of business for the Cornville Community Association should be to develop a meeting protocol policy for itself and its sub-committees.

It should be a policy that is anchored in a sense of fair play.

The lack of fair play in the decision-making process of the association's Planning and Zoning Committee is a recurring theme for the association right now. It was clearly evident during last week's rejection of a Planned Area Development zoning request by Camp Soaring Eagle. Further, District 3 County Supervisor Chip Davis was critical of the committee's prior handling of the Windmill Gardens' request to put a digital message board in front of its nursery.

In the Windmill Gardens case, Davis explained, the Cornville P&Z committee, "heard the applicant's request and then dismissed them. After the applicant was gone they discussed the issue, raised a number of questions and voted to deny the request ... that is not how fair process works."

Again during last week's Camp Soaring Eagle hearing, Cornville Community Assn. Board Member Debbi Segall protested the fact that the committee listened to people who opposed the zoning, but did not afford the same opportunity to people who supported the plan. As Camp Soaring Eagle Board Member Rob Olson noted, it "demonstrates a complete failure in the following of appropriate protocols, and their handling of our case does not pass the smell test."

Fellow Camp Soaring Eagle Board Member Eric Meyers noted that had the Cornville P&Z been a true government organization, its very actions would have violated Arizona's open meeting laws.

Certainly, the folks in Cornville are to be commended for being proactive about the growth and development of their community. But their current track record is suspect, and for that we can be thankful that the true legal process for the Camp Soaring Eagle proposal will begin in earnest when it is heard by county's Planning and Zoning Commission April 23.

Unlike the Cornville P&Z group, the county's planning board receives training in basic meeting protocol and the open meeting law from the Arizona Association of Counties. Likewise, in the City of Cottonwood, its new planning and zoning members are provided with notebooks outlining their duties and authority, explained City Manager Doug Bartosh. "The material also includes information on legal requirements such as open meeting laws. Usually, if it is a new board or a board with many new members, we would have our city attorney attend to educate them on the meeting process," said Bartosh.

With the county and the city, there is a legal process to the way they do business. Correspondingly, there are legal consequences for violations of the process.

Groups such as the Cornville Community Association do not have the same legal authority, process or consequences. In essence, they can do what they want as they "play" the government game.

As Supervisor Davis observed about the membership of these groups, "Sometimes we get folks that think this is a position of power instead of a position of service."

Related Stories:
• County decision on Camp Soaring Eagle an obvious railroad job
• New members added to Cornville Community Association board
• 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
• Cornville P&Z rejects Camp Soaring Eagle

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Article comment by: Bonfire mania responds

Long time resident who worked at LW as a 13 year old child..............Are you yourself a PROPERTY OWNER with your name on the deed registered with Yavapai county? You seem to have issues with "newcomers" but are wholly satisfied with accepting a commercial development, basing your opinion on the quiet no-problem religious retreaters. Private weddings, family reunions, private party fundraisers, and any other entity that has the funds to rent out the camp for WHATEVER they might like to do......do you really think their agenda and MANNERS would be the same? And if you had completely read my comment, NOONE is stating that ALL N. Aspaas Rd PROPERTY OWNERS are against the requested zoning change. And back to the bonfires, how would you like your childhood home burnt to the ground by unsupervised party goers, neglecting "small bonfires"? Discredit your opinion?..no...., you, as I do have every right to your opinion............your logic is faulty on that point. This is serious business to many, many people on both sides of the coin. CSE likes our little neighborhood, so do we............of course, not ONE of their Board of Directors or staff LIVES any where near here, so they as people have no problem with making it a little tough on the adjoining neighbors and crying shame on the children haters when their motives are questioned. Hopefully you have attended all the "community meetings" concerning this issue and publicly voiced your opinion as many many of us have already done.

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: @ Bonfire Mania

Yes, I was employed by LW at about 13 years old and got paid $4 or $5 and hour to bus tables. I lived within walking distance ON N. Aspaas so I AM VERY aware of how it effected my neighborhood. We rode bikes, played, I walked to and from kids houses and really never noticed a difference when there were retreats going on versus when there were not. Either way, I am very qualified to give my opinion on this matter, having lived on North Aspaas for over 25 years. Good try on discrediting my opinion but seeing that I have lived on North Aspaas longer than almost anyone else there...not gonna work. It upsets me that there are so many people who are speaking as if no one on North Aspaas supports this, when in fact, there are quite a few of us that do. Almost all of the people I have spoken to who have been here as long or longer than us, support it....it's those that are recent additions to the neighborhood that have issues and are griping. This is the perfect fit for our neighborhood!

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: What is happening to Cornville???????????? Cornville Resident

If CSE is causing so much animosity amongst the Cornville residents then go away... Our streets can not handle this kind of operation. It looks like a who's who in all your parties.

CSE has a nice program at Jack Pot Ranch with their 72 acres. Jack Pot Ranch takes care of food, accomodations, bedding for 25 campers. Jack Pot Ranch knows what they are doing. You will not need your Lawyers for that program.

If you have alcohol at your fundraisers to get the purses and wallets opened , then I fear for all of our community when the parties over. It may be over for more than just CSE. It may be an accident with one of our neighbors or loved ones. Cornville road is dangerous and is meant to drive slow and cautiously. I am not going to even mention Aspass Road. Are you kidding, you will be taxing our road. Using it up like your donors...LOL

I do not mind donating, but I do not want to pay salaries to your board.

The opposition will see you all on April 23. Try to find another location. Try not to be so greeeeedy.
There are plenty of properties you have not tried yet!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a good day..See you soon.....

From a concerned Cornville Resident who loves Cornville

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: nancy widener

What kinda contribution did ya get, Mr.Davis, from Ole Man Max F. James of New Vision Herbal Fame and Fortune and Founder of Camp Soaring Eagle----Come on now, Mr. Davis, ya can trust us. We is Cornville folks who just luv--yo-- honesty.

Hobby/Lobby/PAC Member Opposing Grand Central North Aspaas Road

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: it's amazing to me

Yourso Wrong " I am disgusted with Cornville Community Assoc. and the lack of support for this great camp."
I find this interesting. If you were on the side of this change, meaning, not for it, and the CCA voted for it and pushed it through without public comment, would you be mad at them for not supporting what the majority of the community wanted? It is unfair to judge what a handful of people are trying to do for the community and what a handful of people who normally don't care what goes on their community have to say. There are always and will always be two sides to every issue. Just be courteous of the other person views. Nothing comes from dividing a community

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Bonfire Mania and The Babbling Brook

Even a small campfire or a discarded cigarette butt can take out a whole forest...........And how many "Little" bonfires are permitted? Is there a ordinance defining the size of a bonfire? The creek is not their ( LW) property. Non- debatable point........Yourso wrong was employed by LW, how would you know of neighborhood disruption..........Hard to say bad when money is jingling in your pocket and you are busy catering to the HUNDREDS of needy religious retreaters.. Of course, not all N.Aspass residents are anti-PAD, and in my opinion we are talking apples and oranges in this discourse. A commercial zoning change in a residentially zoned one access neighborhood is the only issue debatable. CAMP Soaring Eagle is continuing its operations in the Verde Valley as it has for the last 6 years or so. And it is ONLY for the kids and families. No 3rd party fundraisers and lot splits of the acreage they plan to purchase and SELL for PROFIT!!!!!!!!!!!! And their profits can go to whatever and wherever they please.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: sherry john

Actually can't we all just get along? Davis seems to understand the situation without making up his mind on the purchase by the Soaring Eagle Group. That is the real issue. So will the Cornville residents show up to make their voices heard at the P and Z meeting on the 23rd?? We can forget the Cornville Association until it shapes up and improves its procedures. It should be a hoot!

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: N. Aspaas

Mr. Davis,

You are going to vote on this issue as a county supervisor. You may like to think your are being impartial. Perhaps your mind isn't made up yet and won't be until you have "received all of the information available".

But consider this:

Your opinion here on the CCA process makes it appear that you favor the PAD. Supporters of CSE are cheering your letter right now. They believe it supports them. Your decision on the matter will be forever suspect.

Like it or not, intentional or not, you have prejudiced yourself. You should recuse yourself from the vote.

Nobody elected you to opine on the protocol of local community associations.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: @ Yourso Wrong

Not all residents of North Aspaas are against this. CSE has put restrictions upon itself to make sure that the neighborhood is respected. If they had not, we would not support it. They specifically limit large bonfires and use of the creek and so your statement above is absolutely false. You are entitled to your own opinion but don't post false information to get others to jump on your band wagon. I am disgusted with Cornville Community Assoc. and the lack of support for this great camp. Others could come in and buy this property and may/may not put restrictions on themselves to appease the neighborhood. I worked at Living Waters long ago and they had hundreds of people come in at a time for retreats. It never once disturbed the neighborhood to my knowledge and I don't suspect that this will be any different.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Old Timer

As usual, Slater Slater stick's his-her-it's nose where it has no business.

On topic:

Chip, it appears your mind is already made up regarding CSE's zoning request. As you've publicly shown your hand, you will be needing to recuse yourself from any supervisors' vote on the issue.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Cornville will be a memory in ten years.Sprawl
is happening right before their eyes.Paved
streets,backdoor deals,water rights bought
years ago,it will be the new cali with a twist.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Continued - Yourso Wrong

What the Cornville P&Z was CORRECLY responding to is the desires of the CURRENT neighbors - - - who PROACTIVELY expressed their opinion at all previous meetings and in Letters of Opposition, formally submitted to the County, early on. The P&Z reflected the desires of the current Cornville neighbors who want QUIET, PEACE, and NON-DEVELOPMENT. If the Camp gets the support of the County Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors, it will be because the County, CSE, other developers/speculators, and the Board of Supervisors will benefit. It will not be because of what the neighbors want. So, like the natural wildlife that currently exists in Cornville, we will be moving-on to another remote location, if this gets approved. How sad, that the "natives" of Cornville, must move on (this has been the history of our nation right ? The "natives" must move on). And so, CSE, the County Commissioners, developers, speculators, and Board of Supervisors can have your celebration parties, once this is approved. And once again, it will be "who you nose" that will have counted, not the people who do not have the funds "to nose".

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Yourso Wrong

The SUPPORTERS of Camp Soaring Eagle (CSE) were given as much opportunity to express their opinion as the opposition from the very beginning of this rezoning inquiry, in Dec, 2013. They were invited to the SAME meetings they could have done the research and promotion just as SOON (in Dec, 2013), as the opposition did in 2013. But the supporters, CSE, and their lawyers and consultants are "behind" now. They could have been more proactive, but they were not ! But, the opposition is strong and will not end. The opposition wants Cornville residential areas to be QUIET, PEACEFUL, and RESPECTFUL of the neighborhood. CSE, by it's very nature, will not be quiet, peaceful, and respectful of its neighbors. Bonfires loads of people swimming and doing outside activities loads of traffic loads of horse manure loads of incoming & outgoing supplies, (before & after every week's event) lots of outside and inside lights are NOT quiet, peaceful, and respectful of nature . This is just the beginning of the growth for Cornville, if this rezoning is approved. There are lots of acreage properties in Cornville that will be applying for PAD's/multi-use permits, if this PAD gets approved. This approval is what they are waiting for. These properties owners are speculators. They are interested in making money, just like CSE wants to do, "for the children" (ha !). Take a look at CSE's 2010 - 2012 financial statements on their online CSE website (at the bottom of "About Us"). Who does the majority of the incoming money go to ? NOT THE KIDS ! Continued in the below post.....

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: I'm surprised

I am quite surprised at this article. The CCA has been around for years and has always been viewed pretty favorable in the paper and by the community. They have a new board and new people volunteering for the P&Z board and are trying to learn and provide a service to the community. This CSE is probably the biggest project they have taken on. YES, they may have made a mistake, does that mean they should be criticized like they have been. I am shocked at Supervisor Davis's comments. He of all people knows how hard the community of Cornville works to work their residents and within the guidelines they have. This whole process has been two sided, one getting all the good press, maybe even unfairly, and one not so good. Try volunteering in an arena you aren't proficient in and see how you do. Give them a break, the County is going to do what they want to do anyway. with our without the approval of the CCA P&Z

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