Print New town codes need a few Western tweaks
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:00

The Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission wants to make sure the town keeps its rural Western character not only in spirit, but enshrined in the rules guiding the town.

The Town of Camp Verde has spent months and thousands of dollars in an effort to rewrite its aging land use codes, originally adopted when the town incorporated in 1986.

Horses meander near the fence on a Quarterhorse Lane property Friday, Jan. 21. Camp Verde’s Planning and Zoning Commission has been reviewing the town code and plans to remove specifications which go against the Western spirit of the community.The codes were adopted straight from Yavapai County’s existing codes, and the copy and paste job has left the town facing several problems over the years necessitating constant revisions and causing numerous headaches.

The code rewrite was considered necessary by town leaders. Now the town’s government has to review the numerous pages of new code before it can eventually be adopted by the Camp Verde Town Council.

The document is currently being reviewed by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Last week, the commission expressed a desire to ensure the new codes make sense for Camp Verde, a mission the com-missioners feel includes maintaining the rural Western spirit that attracted many residents here in the first place.

That includes some issues, that while they may seem minor at first, are at the heart of how the town sees itself, according to commission Chairman Joe Butner.

The rewritten codes under consideration contained a few provisions Butner and others felt were questionable, rules which would potentially prohibit large animal veterinary services from existing in areas zoned rural residential.

Butner said he had often taken his horse to a vet who worked out of his home on a few acres of land, and it was just part of life in Camp Verde.

Other rules in the rewritten code would call for large animals to be treated inside a completely enclosed structure, one that must also be soundproofed if it happens to be within 300 feet of an adjacent property line.

Commissioner Jim Hisrich said he felt the rewritten codes might have been written to prevent people from getting an inch and taking a mile — that is, making the leap from working on horses in a residential area to working on cars.

Butner said he didn’t think horses would generate the complaints something like auto mechanics might.

The rewritten rules “just aren’t in the character of our town,” Butner said. It’s also important to differentiate among animal species, something not covered specifically in the proposed rewrite.

“We aren’t worried about horses nickering at night,” Butner said. “We are worried about 100 yapping dogs.”

The rewritten codes would also potentially prevent a large animal vet from living on the same property where animals are treated without a special permit.

Commissioner Dave Freeman said it was important a vet of this type be on the property in case of an emergency at any time of day.

While much of this sort of activity may be allowed with a special permit, Butner said he wants to make sure it’s as simple as possible for these types of activities, ones which define Camp Verde, to continue with little interference.

Similarly, Freeman expressed concern over potential new rules which could be interpreted to prevent the small-scale sale of agricultural products from local farms.

The rules were designed to prevent large-scale operations like massive slaughterhouses from opening up in town limits, but Freeman is concerned the language of the rules could also outlaw buying something like a single slaughtered chicken from a neighbor.

The town staff said they would research some of these issues and find out exactly what the language of the new codes would permit and possibly offer alternatives to the commission, alternatives which would be more in line with keeping the “Western rural” spirit.

The commission can only make recommendations to the elected Town Council, which will make any final decisions on what new codes to adopt.