The Planning Unit plans and guides the physical development and future growth of Yavapai County in accordance with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, Planning & Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Regulations. The unit’s duties include, implementation of the above-mentioned policy documents, administration and processing of zoning map changes (rezoning requests), use permits, variances, Comprehensive Plan amendments, updating policy documents as required, development of area and neighborhood plans, development of long-range growth strategies, and responding to all customer inquiries. Planners also coordinate with other private and public agencies, support the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Arizona’s counties are enabled to perform planning activities by the authority granted under Title 11 Chapter 6 of the ARS Section 11-802.
Growing Smarter Acts
In 1998 and 2000, the Arizona State Legislature added the “Growing Smarter” and “Growing Smarter Plus” Acts, with amendments in 2002, to city and county planning statutes. The Growing Smarter Acts created additional mandates in the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan for Counties with populations over 125,000. These include a broad-based Public Participation Plan, coordination with the Arizona State Land Department, a 60-day agency review period, planning elements of land use, circulation/transportation, and water resources. Other elements are required for counties over 200,000 in population.
The Growing Smarter Acts also specify that “the policies and strategies to be developed under these elements shall be designed to have regional applicability”. Other significant statutory additions state that the plan “is effective for up to ten years” and that a new plan or re-adoption of the existing plan must happen at that time; and that “zoning and rezoning ordinances, regulations, and specific area plans” must be “consistent with and conform to the adopted county plan.”