Is change good for Apache County? Ready or not it’s on the horizon

 Brad “Tank” Peterson has been on the Navopache Electric Cooperative board for 5 years, and is on the Planning and Zoning Commission of Apache County. (In photo above.)

By Kareena Maxwell

Things are changing. They’re supposed to. When I first moved to Apache County in 2013, and because I came from New York City where construction is a way of life, I knew that the Concho, Show Low Pines, and Vernon area, would be in for some tractors and plows. And it wasn’t that far off. There is an upside and a downside to the breaking of land and to watching convenience slither its way into our consciousness. In New York City there is nowhere to build so they knock buildings down, take small spaces and divide them. In midtown they build skyscrapers. There are also zoning laws on the side streets limiting buildings to five stories in most neighborhoods. But for the purpose of this area, in the White Mountains, I think a boom is about to happen and it’s rearing its face with a Dollar General Store at the crossroads of this area known as the “Y”; it is also the location of the Stanford General Store.

During a follow-up meeting to the one on January 5th which reconvened on February 2nd.at the Stanford General Store, with the good graces of owners, John and Kate Dahl, I went there, with the idea that the meeting would be encouraging, and enlightening and with the focus on the issues of well, problem solving, and informing the citizens about change, and it was. The room flooded with constituents who raised their hands to speak, and hung onto the words of Apache County Supervisor for District 3, Doyel Shamely, Attorney Devin Brown who is the Director of Community Development for Apache County, and Brad “Tank” Peterson who has been on the Navopache Electric Cooperative board for 5 years, and is on the Planning and Zoning Commission of Apache County.

The gist of the meeting centered on building codes, zoning laws, the power grid and participation from the residents of Apache County. Brown made it clear that in order to assist the residents he needs and to know what they want, “We need your participation,” he said. A slight ooh emanated when abandoned single wides and the removal of them was mentioned. We don’t have the money to remove them, Brown said. The meeting was an intricate organized flow of zoning, planning and the possibilities of what the people want, what they want to know, and how the town officials can help. The changes are only as important as the citizens make them. If they don’t hear from the land owners, the home owners, the shoppers and the bill payers, then how are they supposed to know what the needs and thoughts are?

One woman said, “I don’t want to see the place built up with stores.” As the county wants more revenue and needs it the infrastructure would have to be secured so that other stores and buildings could be built. Has there ever been an area that was built up and didn’t compromise the natural, raw beauty that made it inviting for people to live there?

This fascinating land in Arizona could be changing faster than some want it to. In a hub of the Stanford General Store at the “Y” or the crossroads of the Concho, Show Low Pines and Vernon area, there are problems that exist with the homeless population and the emergency food program. Shamley said it was, “Bothersome that starting this year a neighboring town thinks they are going to get a chunk of the money.”

The Concho Voice listened with interest to statements about the fiber optic upgrades and that two other vendors are looking to make their way into the area. Competition is knocking on Frontier’s door. The dead zones are of concern especially for emergencies. Verizon, it was revealed by a spokesperson, is working on upgrading, and Cellular One doesn’t seem to have an interest only in areas where the money is coming from government contracts.

More next time on building codes, guest houses, and amount of homes allowed on a lot. Change is inevitable; bulldozers, and probably traffic lights are in the future for this area of the White Mountains. I left before we had a gridlock in the parking lot.

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