BISBEE — The Cochise County Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday gave its approval for two residential care facilities to increase their number of residents.
The increase in occupancy would place both facilities at seven residents or more, changing their classification from residential care homes to residential care facilities. According to the meeting agenda, “residential care institutions can potentially generate greater off-site impacts than residential care homes, thus the requirement for a special-use permit.”
Owners of both facilities cited economic benefits as the primary reason for their wish to admit more individuals to their facilities.
John Hurbon, who owns and operates Arizona Skyline Assisted Living Home outside Benson with his wife, Shalini, said the additional four residents the permits would allow them to take in would generate $101,920 in additional gross income.
Neighbors of Windmill Ranch Assisted Living in Hereford voiced concerns over the increase in traffic that additional residents at the center would cause, citing dust from the unpaved road leading to the facility as a problem.
“Our concern is the traffic on the road,” said neighbor Kunie Kummer. “It’s gone from one person, once a day, to five or six people a day.”
Kummer and other residents requested that the east entrance to the road, Labrador Lane, off Calle de la Mango, be closed to the facility’s traffic. Staff and visitors to the facility could use the road’s west entrance off Calle de la Naranja, she said.
Kummer admitted that Monica Vandivort, the owner of Windmill Ranch, has made several attempts to address the concerns of neighbors, including having gravel cover the east portion of Labrador Lane to reduce dust from vehicles.
Prior to the vote approving the special-use permit for the facility, commission Chairman Lee Basnar said he understood the concerns of neighbors, but said additional traffic in the area was inevitable.
“I, too, am concerned about the traffic, but I also look to the future, and there will be more structures built in that area, and traffic will increase,” Basnar said.
The commission also approved a two-year extension of a special-use permit approved in 2002 for the Stronghold Area Recreational Park in Sunsites. Charles Brown requested the extension of time limits, which expired last November, that the park had to satisfy parking and landscape requirements. Brown cited increased difficulty in securing funding for the projects as the primary reason for the delay.
The commission also voted to approve forwarding four tentative plats to the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. Those plats include Red Hawk III in the J6/Mescal area, Saddleview Estates near Douglas, and Legendary Trails and Majestic Skies of the Ranch in Tombstone.
The panel also elected Basnar as chairman and Jim Martzke as vice chairman. Basnar had been the vice chairman, and Martzke, a commission member for more than 30 years, was not an officer immediately prior to his election, but has been chairman “half a dozen times” he said.