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Commissioners discuss open space and guest home rental ordinances

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission could vote on recommendations for Development Services' two open space development ordinances and on allowing homeowners to rent-out detached guest homes for money.

Commissioners on Wednesday consider also extending the public notification distance from the current 300 feet out to 1,000 feet.

A sustainable planning committee started working in 2007 on an open space development ordinance, and it has emerged as two similar but separate ordinances. Both ordinances are voluntary and would allow developers to build subdivisions in unincorporated areas of the county under different guidelines than the current subdivision ordinance.

The idea is to discourage developers from splitting lots and to encourage them with density incentives to cluster homes and preserve more open space, Chad Daines, Development Services director explained in the draft ordinance.

Both ordinances would limit subdivisions to 640-acre parcels and require that 40 percent of the subdivision to be preserved as open space.

The Open Space and Sustainable Development Option would offer density incentives to developers that would allow them to build more homes in clusters than the number of homes they could build under the current subdivision ordinance.

The Cluster and Open Space Option does not offer density incentives.

Development Services staff could approve a subdivision under either open space ordinance without a public hearing unless someone within 1,000 feet files an objection.

If the Commission votes for a positive recommendation on one or both ordinances, the drafts would go to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote.

Land Use Manager Steve Mauk's proposal to allow homeowners to rent-out detached guest homes met with stiff public opposition at a previous P&Z meeting, and he re-wrote the proposed ordinance.

Public opposition included fear of increased traffic, homeowners turning their guest homes into Bed and Breakfast and time-share businesses. The proposed ordinance would require that homeowners rent guest homes for a minimum of 30 days at a time.

Under the current ordinance, homeowners can let friends and family members live in a guest home for as short or as long duration as the homeowners let them. That option remains in the proposed ordinance.

The current citizen notification boundary requires that neighbors within a 300-foot boundary be notified of a use permit application from a property owner if the use permit could have an affect on neighbors.

Development Services staff re-wrote the ordinance to extend the boundary out to 1,000 feet because of the long distances between homes in some parts of the county.

The Commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the supervisors hearing room, 1015 Fair St., in Prescott. The meeting is open to the public.

The proposed ordinances may be read and downloaded at www.co.yavapai.az.us on the Development Services homepage.

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