May 272011

By Linda Kor–

Aztec Land and Cattle Company President Steve Brophy received long awaited approval from the Navajo County Board of Supervisors for inclusion of his company’s area plan in the county’s comprehensive plan.

During the May 24 meeting of the board, Brophy, who represents the company’s 228,040 acres of land located between Snowflake, Heber, Holbrook and Joseph City, explained his vision for the future of the area he called “north of the pines.”

“We think of this area north of the pines as having a tremendous future. With the interstate, intercontinental railroad and short line railroad, natural gas industrial type, and the largest sustainable water supply in the state, it’s ideal for industry,” stated Brophy.

According to Navajo County population projections provided by the Arizona Department of Commerce, the population in the county in 2006 was 112,672 and is projected to grow to 200,000 in 2055. With those figures in mind, Brophy explained that it is critical that careful planning take place now to ensure that growth occurs in an orderly, logical and sustainable manner.

According to Brophy, land in the southern portion of the county has been primarily subdivided into 40-acre parcels for housing, resulting in large tracts of land that have set uses. The plans for this land will be primarily industrial.

“With employment comes people. If you head from California to Kingman, Bellmont, Flagstaff and even Winslow, you see industry and then it stops. Navajo County has land with water in abundance, cheap land and equal or better infrastructure. This tells us that this will be developed by employment if provisions are made for employment. Aztec is its own buffer, and this plan provides expansion for Holbrook, Snowflake, Taylor and northeast of Heber for pockets of development,” explained Brophy.

During the public comment portion of the discussion one individual commented on the proposal. Randy Johnson of Holbrook stated that he is also a landowner in the county and is in full support of the plans presented by Aztec.

The board approved the inclusion of Aztec Land and Cattle Company’s area plan into the Navajo County Comprehensive Plan, and approved major amendments to the plan as a result.

Board members approving the inclusion were Jerry Brownlow, Jonathan Nez and Jesse Thompson. Chairman David Tenney was not present at the meeting, and Vice Chairman J.R. DeSpain recused himself from the proceedings due to shared business interests with Aztec.