Comprehensive Plan Amendment

Process Overview

Cochise County is continuously faced with choices concerning growth, economic development, infrastructure, the environment, public facilities, and service delivery.  The Cochise County Comprehensive Plan provides a vision and a policy framework to guide orderly growth and development. The Plan includes land use categories and designations for all parcels within Cochise County. There are four general land use categories, ranging from most intense category A to least intense category D. There are seven land use designations, which identify the character of the underlying land. The zoning of a parcel must be consistent with its underlying land use. 

Zoning changes may only be considered for those Zoning Districts, listed below, as being permitted in the applicable plan designation unless otherwise provided for pursuant to an adopted community plan, area plan, neighborhood plan, master development plan, or unless an appropriate plan amendment is submitted in conjunction with the proposed Zoning change.

PLAN DESIGNATION                                     PERMITTED ZONING DISTRICTS

Neighborhood Conservation (NC)

R-36, R-18, R-9, NB, SM-36, SM-18, SM-9, SR-43, SR-22, SR-12, SR-8,MR-1, MR-2

Enterprise (ENT)NB, GB, LI, HI
Developing (DEV)

RU-2, R-36, R-18, R-9, SM-87 (2-acres), SM-36, SM-18, SM-9, SR-87 (2-acres), SR-43, SR-22, SR-12, SR-8, MR-1, MR-2, NB, GB, LI, HI

Neighborhood Rehabilitation (NR)Same as NC
Enterprise Redevelopment (ER)Same as ENT
Rural Residential (RR)RU-36, RU-18, RU-10, RU-4, RU-2, SM-36 Acres, SM-18 Acres, SM-10 Acres, SM-174 (4-acres), SM-87 (2-acres), SR-36 Acres, SR-18 Acres, SR-10 Acres, SR-174 (4-acres), SR-87 (2-acres)
Rural (R)

RU-36, RU-18, RU-10, RU-4, RU-2, SM-36 Acres, SM-18 Acres, SM-10 Acres, SM-174 (4-acres), SM-87 (2-acres), SR-36 Acres, SR-18 Acres, SR-10 Acres, SR-174 (4-acres), SR-87 (2-acres), HI


The following describes the procedures for amending any of the elements of the Comprehensive Plan. Amending the Comprehensive Plan is a very serious action and is not taken lightly by the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Supervisors; the criteria for evaluating the amendment and the rationale for such must be very strong.

Justifying a Land Use Amendment

A proposal to change a Land Use Category should be justified by one or more of the following:

  • The extension of urban standard facilities and services (including major road improvements and extensions of waste disposal systems and water service) into the area has changed the optimum intensity of development appropriate for the area.
  • Nearby growth areas have reached capacity and there is continued demand for new growth areas.
  • A master development plan is proposed.
  • The new Growth Area Category is an extension of an existing Growth Area Category or otherwise is not limited to a single parcel but is large enough to be expected to develop with the range of services and land uses expected in the Growth Area Category proposed.

A proposal to change a Land Use Designation should be justified by one or more of the following:

  • The pattern of growth in the area no longer reflects the type of growth expected in the current designation.
  • Substantial changes in an area, for example, a designated neighborhood conservation area, may make the continuation of the conforming development within the plan designation undesirable. Such changes may include the deterioration of surrounding development, a change in character in the area due to capital improvements, non-conforming development by exempt entities, or approval of special uses or rezonings.
  • The extensions of urban standard facilities and services (including major road improvements and extension of waste disposal systems and water service) into the area have changed the optimum type of development appropriate for the area.
  • There is substantial support from property owners for the proposed change.
  • ‘Developing’ designations should be changed to another appropriate designation as a distinguishable pattern of development has occurred.
  • New designations should be of a size, type, or design to provide a harmonious transition between existing designations.

Process

Comprehensive Plan amendments of land use map designations Growth Category designations or Plan adoptions, amendments, or extensions may be initiated by the Planning and Zoning Commission, either upon the application of interested persons or upon its own motion. Amendments to countywide Plan policies may be initiated by the Commission.

If a private person or persons seeks to amend the Plan, they can submit the application to Amend the Comprehensive Plan. Please note that if the proposed amendment would result in an increase in the potential densities or intensities of uses for an area of two thousand (2,000) acres or more, the application can be accepted by the Development Services Department for consideration only from January 1 to the last business day in August of any year. All major amendments will be considered at a single public hearing by the Board of Supervisors in December.

The Planning and Zoning Commission shall hold one public hearing to consider all amendments, and provide a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. A recommendation of approval by the Planning Commission shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present.

After the Planning Commission makes its recommendation on an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, the application shall be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration and official action. The Board of Supervisors shall hold one public hearing at which residents of the affected area and other members of the public shall be heard.

Under normal circumstances (not a major amendment), the process takes about 10 weeks from the time the application is deemed complete. If extensive research is required, such as an in-depth environmental or traffic analysis, the review time could be extended if this information was not included with the application.

Public Input

Applicants of proposed amendments to the Plan are required to follow the Public Participation Process outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. The process requires a pre-application meeting with County staff and completion of a Citizen Review Report prior to application submittal. Major amendments also require the Applicant to notify nearby cities, service providers, school and fire districts, and nearby homeowner associations, among others, as well as place a legal ad at least one-eighth page in size as an advertisement in the official County newspaper and one local newspaper. A public hearing will be held by the Planning and Zoning Commission to accept input from people who support, oppose, or simply have questions about the proposal.

After the public hearing on the subject is closed, the Commission votes to recommend approval, recommend approval with conditions, or recommend denial of the application to the Board of Supervisors, or may vote to table the request. If it is not tabled by the Commission, then the request goes to the Board of Supervisors, in another public hearing, for a final decision. If approved, the Plan amendment goes into effect 30 days after the Board's decision, and the Comprehensive Plan is revised accordingly.

Required Submittals

The process will not begin until the fees and all information needed to evaluate the Plan change are submitted.  The submittal deadline is, typically, 45 days before the date the Commission would consider the application.  Please note that acceptance of the application does not confer approval of the proposed Plan change. Please submit the following:

  • Additional information as needed, depending upon the nature and scale of the proposed amendment (traffic study, environmental assessment, water adequacy, and conservation plan).
  • Completed application form
  • Fees (PDF)
  • Letter of Authorization (if applicable)
  • Map for map amendments. View the Land Use Map Example (PDF).