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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 1, 2014

3/9/2013 3:47:00 PM
MUHS to ask for property to be rezoned residential

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- Mingus Union High School faces the Cottonwood Planning Commission on March 18 hoping to finally get a solution to an orphaned piece of property it owns on the other side of Camino Real.

The land is about 15 acres of mainly flat terrain with a section of Oak Wash running through the northwest corner. The school district hopes to be able to eventually sell the land to benefit the school. For years, it has been frustrated from using the land as part of the district. During an election in 2008 voters gave the school permission to sell the land. Today, the property is home to dumpsters - the place where neighbors drop off their recyclables.

Mike Gardner of Casa Verde Consulting will represent the school district before the Planning Commission. The district will ask for two changes. The first would amend the land designation in the General Plan from its existing " Public" use to "Residential Medium Density."

In a second action, the school will request a zone change from AR-43 to R2. That change would allow construction of single or multifamily homes rather than the agricultural zoning that would permit only one residence per acre.

Gardner says the proposal is not as dense as the existing Cottonwood Commons standing diagonally across from the high school on Fir and Camino Real. "The school board didn't want a high density concept," he says.

Gardner says the proposal is not a conventional one in a typical world. While in the construction heyday of the last decade, a property owner might bring a developer to the table with a proposal. There is nothing like that in this case. There is no buyer or actual proposal yet.

Normally, a site plan is required when such a request is made. The example site plan shows the property developed with 177 condos or apartments. The plan will simply the Commission and a potential buyer what is possible. The idea is that the land could be sold with the zoning in place and allow a developer to move forward, even though he may wish to submit a new plan with the R2 density.

The consultant says the city used the same approach when it rezoned the 260 corridor to allow for the commercial development that stands there today.

The land has been a sore spot for the high school. It has a lot of pipe dream potential for the school, but there is a significant collector road running through it. As long as that is the case, it can't be used by the school.

In recent years, there was even a proposal during the early "90s to re-route Camino Real around the west side of the land, but that did not appeal to existing neighbors and would have complicated the existing road alignment.

Notices of the March 18 proposal have been sent to all property owners within 300 feet of the perimeter of the property. So far, the only comment has been an objection from the owner of one of the Cottonwood Commons units.

Since the council chambers is being remodeled the hearing will be held in the Yavapai County annex at 10 S. Sixth St. at 6 p.m. March 18.

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