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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : commentary September 25, 2016

4/26/2014 11:10:00 AM
County decision on Camp Soaring Eagle an obvious railroad job
By Don Hoon
Guest Commentary

I would like to present the other side of the coin. You were very critical of the Cornville P&Z in your April 9 editorial where the P&Z cut their meeting short and, in the opinion of the supporters of Camp Soaring Eagle, didn't give CSE a "fair shake."

Take a look at the attached map of those neighbors of the Living Water's property, presented by Tammy Dewitt at Wednesday's Planning and Development hearing for the CSE application to rezone a residential parcel to a PAD. The map shows those neighbors that support the rezoning application and those that are opposed.

As you must be aware of by now, the County Commissioners voted 4 to 2 to recommend the rezoning application to the Board of Supervisors.

It is more clear now to everyone what was fair, the community representatives (P&Z) decided that the residents didn't want the property in their neighborhood changed to commercial zoning and respected their decision.

As shown on the attached map, most all the neighbors around the property and along Aspaas Road, oppose the change.

The application hearing Wednesday was a railroad job by the commissioners, but the outcome was different than the decision made by the Cornville P&Z.

CSE's Scottsdale attorney was given as much time as he needed to present CSE's case as to why CSE needed to rezone Living Waters.

Although the attorney was told by the chairman that his presentation was to be about why CSE needed to rezone residential property to commercial PAD and the chairman told the attorney not to talk about all the good things that CSE does for the children, the attorney flashed pictures of children on his Powerpoint and insisted that to understand what CSE is, he needed to describe the work CSE does.

The attorney spent more than 40 minutes presenting CSE and why the property was perfect for what CSE does. There was nothing in the presentation why the property would benefit the community by having a commercial PAD, down a narrow lane, along Oak Creek, in a residential neighborhood.

The supporters in the audience then were provided an opportunity to comment. All the supporters' comments were a plead to the commissioners to recommend the application based on CSE's work. Again, none of the supporters provided reasons why the rezoning would be good for the community.

When the opponents to the rezoning were allowed to present their comments, the chairman instructed the opposition that their presentations were to be limited to no more than three minutes each. None of the opposition was allowed to complete their prepared comments before getting cut off and told to sit down.

Then the CSE attorney was again allowed as much time as he needed to rebut the opposition comments without the opponents being given a chance to speak.

The attorney misstated and mislead the commissioners but was never challenged and when the opponents tried to challenge the misleading statements, they were rudely told by the chairman to be quiet and that they were not allowed to or to participate further in the hearing process.

The vote was taken by the commissioners, one of which had worked for CSE in the past, and four of the six voted to recommend the application with modifications to the stipulations.

The stipulations are poorly drafted and lack specificity to prevent later adjustments to the PAD restrictions.

This wasn't a case of not being fair, but a railroad job by the commissioners and CSE.

I hope you can be as fair as you claimed the Cornville P&Z wasn't, and research the CSE rezoning application hearing meeting and why the commissioners would ignore the opposing neighbors that are shown on the attachment and why they would vote to permanently change their neighborhood and lives.

Don Hoon is a resident of Cornville.

Related Stories:
• Camp Soaring Eagle gets positive nod from County P&Z
• Editorial: Sense of fair play missing from Cornville P&Z decision process
• Commentary: Camp Soaring Eagle will be a good neighbor to Cornville
• Cornville P&Z rejects Camp Soaring Eagle

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Concerned Resident

A change to commercial zoning will be a huge change in a quiet rural residential neighborhood which could have major negative impacts if, and probably when, this particular use that people support fails. It should definitely be a Conditional Use Permit rather than a change to commercial. It looks like a bad set-up for big problems in the future once it's changed to commercial, and there's no going back! And what about increased sewage from increased use right next to the creek?

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Sleeps with Developers

I am surprised at the recommendation for a PAD zoning rather than a Conditional Use Permit. This is not a use that should be approved permanently without a trial period (e.g. a use permit). This whole process has smelled of the Maricopa Way. Lots of spin, misleading information, emotion and b.s. from both sides. The ethics sure haven't been pretty.

Maybe this is a sign of how the 5-Supervisor System will work? Instead of 6 P&Z Commissioners from outside your District vs. your 3 local ones (a 2:1 ratio), you now have 8 Commissioners who have no real interest in your District vs. your 2 (a 4:1 ratio). Also, all P&Z Commissioners are political appointees, and the experience and local knowledge of appointees can, and has over the years, varied widely. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the Scottsdale lawyers will continue to spread their special kind of Maricopa Manure, the sales pitch will get louder and the accusations will continue to fly. Let's just hope that Chip, Tom and the other Supes see through the brown fog and remember the Yavapai Way.

Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: Web Untangler

How does property tax status change when CSE buys the property and zoning changes? (I.e., how much more property tax will the county receive?)

How will surrounding property valuations change? (I.e., will neighbors pay more property tax?)

Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014
Article comment by: sherry john

Gee, we have seen the Cornville Association's lack of fair play and criticism by Supervisor Davis now its Yavapai County's unfairness procedures with a map showing a lot of opposition. Let he who has no sin cast the first stone. I suggest letting the full Board of Supervisors deal with this and see how it shakes out as it is in Supervisor Davis' home district.

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2014
Article comment by: Oh what a tangled web we weave........

I believe the commissioner who advised that he "cooked" for CSE, but had no financial connections with the rezoning might want to check his charitable contributions on his IRS and AZ Dept of Revenue forms..........After all CSE is a non-PROFIT organization........Irresponsible that he would feel that he should be allowed to register a vote with all his friends standing looking at him. He had no questions? Maybe he has already been "advised" of all the details? It will be interesting to see what is finally presented ON PAPER at the Supervisors meeting......Will Mr Chip Davis address the local newspaper and express his concerns about how the Yavapai county hearing was conducted? Ah, well, we shall see.........And maybe CSE will be granted a digital billboard out on Cornville road............and a liguor license and a whole bunch of "variances", as the NEED arises............

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2014
Article comment by: Bill Gray

I believe the P&Z commissioners are appointed by the elected Supervisors.

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