Cochise County zoning commissioners OK special uses

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okPart of an old dairy farm located off Hereford Road will soon become a residential care facility for adults with autism, after the unanimous approval of a special use permit by the Cochise County  Zoning Commissioners Wednesday.

The former San Pedro Bed and Breakfast Inn and seven other outbuildings on the 10.6-acre parcel will be converted to housing for autistic adults who come to Echoing Hope Ranch, the non-profit that will run the facility. The parcel is located around one-half mile from the San Pedro River.

Senior Planner Beverly Wilson explained that the non-profit is composed of people with family members who are affected by autism.”The group plans to build a mini-ranch care institution where these adults can spend their time working with animals, learning to garden and landscape and try to become self-sufficient,” Wilson said. She said that this pastoral, picturesque environment would be beneficial to individuals who make their way to the ranch, as would be the planned activities of horticulture, animal care, art, music and therapeutic exercise.

The organization’s Vice President Norman L. Smith said water for the homes would come from a well owned by the Bureau of Land Management at the property. The development will follow the guidelines for the Sierra Vista sub-watershed and there are plans for rainwater harvesting and gray water storage to irrigate the greenhouse, the grass around the homes and the gardens and keep the ponds full.

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