By Tammy Gray-Searles —
Adoption of Aztec Land and Cattle Company’s area plan and incorporation of that plan into the county’s comprehensive plan will be considered during a special meeting of the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Commission set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the county complex in Holbrook.
Aztec’s area plan includes property stretching from the Heber-Overgaard area to the Petrified Forest. New communities as well as commercial developments are proposed in the area plan. Planning and Zoning staff member Bill Fraley explained that the area plan is a general outline showing how Aztec hopes to eventually develop the property, but it is not a detailed development plan.
In order to move forward with any development, Aztec must still go through the standard permitting and planning process. Approval of the area plan does not guarantee approval of the final development plans.
Including Aztec’s area plan in the county’s comprehensive plan will require county staff to take the company’s future land use plans into consideration when making long-term decisions, such as where and when new roads will be constructed. Aztec’s plans were already considered as the state developed a long-term transportation plan for the area.
Aztec officials note in the plan that, “The intent of the Aztec area plan is to develop a template for the future for the Aztec property which accommodates growth in a manner that recognizes the needs and requirements of Navajo County and its citizens to achieve growth in a realistic, balanced and productive way that is consistent with its unique traditions and culture.”
Currently, most of Aztec’s land is used for ranching. The area plan notes that future development of the land will be based on “employment related growth.” The plan does not call for immediate development, but notes that it will serve as a guideline as future opportunities arise so that growth can take place in a logical, planned way. The document also notes that the existence of a plan may encourage growth since certain areas will already be designated for commercial or industrial use.
The 62-page document outlines seven distinct developments or uses of Aztec’s land, including rural ranch, rural edge, community village, commercial/office district, industrial/employment district, agricultural district and power corridor zone. Maps detailing locations of each land use are included in the area plan.
Planning and Zoning Commission members will be asked to consider whether the area plan should be approved and, if so, incorporated into the county’s comprehensive plan. If the commission offers its approval, the board of supervisors will be asked to make the same decision.
The complete Aztec area plan, as well as the county’s comprehensive plan and proposed amendments to the plan, are available online by visiting www.navajocountyaz.gov/pubworks/pz/ and clicking on the “comprehensive plan” link on the left-hand menu.