The Gila County Board of Supervisors in a two-to-one vote approved a zoning change request to allow for 38 park model manufactured homes in Pine.

Property owner Ray Pugel wants to build a park for the small manufactured homes on land now zoned for condominiums.

However, at the conclusion of the July 10 meeting, county manager James Menlove told the supervisors, county attorney Jeff Dalton said the zoning ordinance requirements could invalidate their vote.

The zoning ordinance states, “If 20 percent or more of the owners of property by area and number within the zoning area file a protest to such change, the change shall not be made except by unanimous vote.”

Scott Buzan, community development director, said the county’s legal staff will have to determine the definition of “zoning area.”

District One Supervisor Tommie Martin said it could mean the properties adjoining the site; the properties within 300 feet of the land being rezoned; or even the entire community of Pine.

Martin voted to approve the zoning change, as did District Two Supervisor Tim Humphrey, who serves as chairman of the BOS. District Three Supervisor Woody Cline voted in opposition, stating he liked the proposal, but wanted more details on dealing with water, wastewater, drainage and traffic.

Supervisors Martin and Humphrey also gave their reasons for supporting the zoning amendment.

“The modification of our zoning map is all we are doing. We are here to see how to make it work, not how to stop it. This is the absolute correct use of the property. I’d rather see trailers than condos ... You need to incorporate to make the decision (about what happens in Pine) or create some legal structure for the community ... If you don’t want trailers or condos there, buy it yourself and do something else,” Martin said.

Humphrey echoed Martin, “We’re here to act on a zoning change, not the development, not water, not drainage, not building codes.”

The “20 percent” rule was brought up when the zoning request was heard and subsequently approved by the Gila County Planning and Zoning Commission, and again by one of the residents opposed to the project, Susan Thompson, at the supervisors’ meeting.

Martin said the supervisors would have to reconsider the request. But took no formal action.

The county planning commission recommended approval of the development. The community development staff reported to the supervisors, “It is the position of county planning staff that the proposed development could be a good asset to the community if it is determined that it will not negatively impact adjacent properties and surrounding community, will not have a negative impact on existing transportation and infrastructure systems and meets all county and state requirements.”

Darwin Huber, speaking on behalf of the Pine-Strawberry Future Visioning Committee, told the board the group’s survey of the community found that condominiums are one of the top three least desired developments by the area’s residents — right behind retail and fast food chains.

Community development staff said the zone change would create a less intensive land use than condominiums or apartments.

Pugel’s initial application said the Rimside Village Park Model Park would “provide additional housing vacation property to the area. The project will be similar to Pine Creek Resort and will help provide a more stable income stream to other Pine-Strawberry businesses.

“The existing parcel is 4.28 acres in size. The land is currently vacant. Each site will be a minimum of 40 feet wide by a minimum of 70 feet deep and include two parking spaces. The site is not located in a flood plain. The intention is to retain as much natural vegetation (trees) as possible for landscaping. A block wall similar to that at Bishop Self Storage will front Old County Road.

“A sewer service connection will be provided to all RV spaces. The effluent will flow to a new on-site treatment and disposal system. The sewage treatment and disposal system will be submitted to the Gila County Health Department for approval and permitting.

“Potable water will be provided by the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District which has a water main adjacent to the site. Each RV space will be provided with a water service connection.

“Fire protection will be provided by the Pine Strawberry Fire Department.”

Before voting in opposition because of a lack of details, Supervisor Cline asked the community development staff about the zoning amendment process.

Senior planner Michelle Dahlke said with an application like this the developer needs only to provide a conceptual site plan, not the detailed professional documents that generally answer the questions about drainage and retention basins, placement of wastewater treatment facilities, traffic studies, etc.

She said the county staff had recommended to the commission it table the request until more details were provided, primarily due to the significant amount of opposition. Instead, the commission voted to recommend the BOS approve the request with the following stipulations:

1. The applicant shall submit a development plan as required by the County Zoning Ordinance within 180 days of approval of the rezoning case by the County Board of Supervisors.

2. All necessary building permits are obtained in a reasonable timeframe.

3. All lighting will need to be shielded in accordance with county zoning regulations.

4. A landscaping plan should be submitted with the development plan.

5. A grading and drainage plan should be submitted with the development plan.

6. A letter from the applicable water authority indicating there is an adequate water supply to serve the proposed community without causing and undue burden on the community. — This was provided at the June 21 hearing of the planning commission.

Dahlke, in her opening remarks to the BOS, said staff continued to recommend tabling until more details were available.

The primary points of the opposition included: an increase in traffic on Old County Road; concern about the drainage once the property is developed and its potential impact on other properties; the placement of a wastewater treatment facility; and lowering the value of surrounding homes.

Pugel told the BOS the proposed project would have less of an impact on the area than the 40 condominiums that could be built on the property with its existing zoning. The project would have less traffic and create less runoff than a fully occupied condominium development.

“Park models are much better on the property than condos,” he said.

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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