Cochise County Planning & Zoning Commission approves sustainable living center, denies medical marijuana application

Cochise County Planning & Zoning Commission approves sustainable living center, denies medical marijuana application
Cochise County logo (Source: Cochise County)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An application to build an arts and permaculture center on the outskirts of Bisbee has been approved by the Cochise County Planning & Zoning Commission.

Ashley Baker and Samantha Goerlich plan to establish the facility on the 80 acres of land they own at Aviation Avenue, near the Bisbee airport. They propose to use 4.5 acres to build classrooms, an outdoor stage, covered outdoor kitchen, restrooms, offices, greenhouses, gardens, and other related structures.

Baker told the commission at its December 12 meeting she and her business partner want to improve the local community through educational workshops on sustainable living and the arts.

“We hope to be an asset to the Bisbee and Cochise County communities,” she said.

The workshops will focus on sustainable living practices, such as rainwater harvesting, green building methods, and aquaponics techniques, as well as ceramic and fine arts, and children’s programs.

The commission approved the application, on condition the applicants erect a fence around their property before construction begins, following concerns raised by a neighboring cattle rancher. They have also agreed to improve the dirt roads and access to the site, as well as comply with all health department requirements.

In other business, the commission unanimously denied an application by St. Jude Alternative Healing to place an outdoor medical marijuana cultivation facility on two acres along W. La Luna Drive, near Douglas.

More than 30 surrounding residents signed a petition objecting to the proposed business by representative Julia Patten being established near their homes.

County staff recommended the application be denied, based on a number of factors, including traffic concerns, the visual impact of the 10-foot wall required by state law, lighting issues, water conservation, and the significant public input.

Commission chair Patrick Greene commented, “This does seem a right fit for this community.”

The applicant has 15 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.

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