BISBEE — Changes to Cochise County’s zoning regulations will benefit local property owners through an improved planning process and user-friendly information.
At its regular meeting on Aug. 27, the Board of Supervisors approved two zoning amendments, to introduce new minor land division regulations and the removal of the minor expedited residential subdivision option.
Minor land division is defined as a separation of one parcel into five or fewer lots, any of which are 10 acres or smaller.
“Currently, the county does not regulate this practice and instead only records such divisions,” said Development Services planner Christine McLachlan. “An absence of regulation has led to the countywide proliferation of residential areas that lack basic infrastructure and vehicular access. In addition, many property owners are unable to meet their underlying zoning requirements following improper parcelization, rendering their property unbuildable.”
Under the new regulations, property owners must obtain a minor land division permit that meets minimum zoning requirements, to include evidence of legal access traversable by a two-wheel-drive passenger vehicle, and necessary utility easements to serve each divided lot. The approval or denial of a permit will also be in the property deeds for public record.
A brochure detailing the process will be available to the public when the regulations take effect Sept. 27, but a draft version can be viewed at http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/docs/2019/BOS/20190827_1617/4714_082719_BOS_MLDpresentation.pdf.
Development Services is also removing the minor expedited residential subdivision option, which allowed developers more flexibility when building subdivisions of 20 or fewer lots. While the process was intended to help conserve land by allowing denser development, unintended consequences included a lack of on and offsite road improvements, poor access management and substandard residential development pattern.
This amendment will also be effective Sept. 27.
Supervisor Ann English said she was pleased to see steps taken to improve services to the public.
“I think this is a major step forward,” she said. “For those people who choose to do this the right way, we will have a plan for them.”