The Town Council and its Planning and Zoning Committee held a joint meeting on January 10th. The primary agenda was review and decision on two use permits. The Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center (PYEC) requested the conversion of a residence at 115 South Third Street to a clubhouse for their youth programs. The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended approval after comments and questions from the audience and Council
members. The Council unanimously approved the use permit (4-0).
The second use permit request came from Mitchell Cutler to convert a garage at 321 Pennsylvania Ave to an apartment. There were a number of questions raised by the members of the Planning and Zoning Committee regarding the size of the space to be
converted, the location of the building related to lot line, the number of residential units on a single lot, and the impact of being in the flood plain.
Mr. Cutler seemed surprised by these questions. He clearly had not been made fully aware of the Town regulations. His contractor, Ted Piper, was not present at the Council meeting. The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended that the decision be tabled until further discussion with Cutler and Piper.
There were three major agenda items at the Town Council meeting on January 24th. Caleb Weaver and Mary McKay requested approval for submittal of an $80,000 grant proposal from Arizona State Parks and Trails. The money would be used for improvements at Richardson Park and at Doc Mock Park.
At Richardson Park, the money would allow fencing to be placed and mulch added. At Doc Mock Park, the southernmost triangle of the Town Park, funding would pay for a ramada
over the existing memorial and a sidewalk similar to what is in place in the more northern sections of the park.
Audience members asked if the improvements would impact parking for the Fall Festival or other activities. Weaver said that the current grant is part of a larger plan for the park that created designated parking areas for at least the total number of cars that actually parked during the busiest day of the 2016 Fall Festival. The Council voted unanimously to approve submitting the grant.
Mitchell Cutler returned to the Council, with his contractor Ted Piper, to present their request for a use permit to convert a garage to an apartment. While Piper clarified the size
and presented the construction plans, Council members still had questions primarily around fire safety as one side of the existing building is right at the lot line, compliance with FEMA regulations, and compliance with the Town Plan (which permits only two residences per lot; this conversion would make three).
Several in the audience suggested that approving the permit might set a precedent that would allow other owners to add more than two residential units to their lots. Others were
worried that a major remodel, even if on the existing footprint, would trigger FEMA requirements to elevate the building. Town manager Dave Teel agreed to research this.
Several people expressed concern that any tinkering with FEMA regulations might hurt town efforts to revise the FEMA flood plain map and efforts of the Flood and Flow Committee to get flood insurance rates lowered. The use permit request was again tabled
and a site visit by the P and Z Committee will be scheduled.
Philip Brister from Senior Citizens of Patagonia requested approval from the Council to install a water softening system to prevent problems with the water heater and a bioenzyme system to address problems with the grease trap in the commercial kitchen.
The Senior Center has secured grants to pay for these improvements. The Council approved the request unanimously. The Mayor commented that he liked these requests that ask for permission, not dollars!