One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"

Truth or Consequences
January 2006

"Sincerity is Subject to Proof" Thomas M. McGaffey, 1982

When first heard or read the above quote may seem quite cynical. In fact, almost every time I have seen my husband quote it to someone, the hearer's face has displayed a disconcerted disbelief. I admit the phrase does have a bit of a "demanding" tone to it. However, virtually all of our institutions have applications of this concept built into it.

Take marriage. Just the act of getting married is "proof" that two people love each other and are sincerely committed to each other. At the ceremony certain symbols, like a ring on a certain finger and a white dress are used as "proofs" that a certain kind of ceremony has taken place and to solidify the union.

A form letter came in the mail recently from Engineering and Environmental Consultants, Inc. out of Tucson informing me of a request that is being made to change the use of properties in the Sunsites area.

Like many others I am not a member of the SCA. So I did not find out about the meeting that Bill Fisher and three other men from the Shadow Mountain Golf Course attended until two days after it occurred. Bill Fisher told me about it when I spoke with him at the club house. So I went online to do a little research and found some interesting information I decided to share with you. The following is a document I found on the Cochise County web site at

Citizen Review Report

A Citizen Review Report must be submitted along with all rezoning or special use applications to include, at a minimum:

  1. Copies of notices sent to property owners;
  2. Copies of all information provided to the public;
  3. Sign up sheets from public meetings;
  4. Responses, concerns and questions raised by the public during the notification process;
  5. Applicant response to concerns raised by the public.(NOTE: meetings are required only if requested but are recommended even if not requested. Face to face contact minimizes misunderstandings.)
  6. Minimum required Citizen Notification:
  7. All property owners located within the application site.
  8. Category D Rural areas: all property owners who own property within 1500 feet of the subject property.
  9. Category A, B, or C Growth areas: all property owners who own property within 1000 feet of the subject property.
  10. All applicable homeowners’ and community associations.
  11. Notification to include (click for sample flyer):
  12. Description and location of the project with a drawing of the site, and a written description of the project and how off-site impacts will be addressed.
  13. How verbal and written comments can be submitted.
  14. When and where any public meeting(s) are scheduled.

NOTE: A pre-application meeting with the Planning Department staff is required to go over the Citizen Review Report requirements.

Pre Application with site standards

Why is Effective Citizen Review Important?

Effective Citizen Review gives the applicants the opportunity:

  1. To explain their proposal early in the process helping to stem rumors and mis-information;
  2. To try to mitigate any real or perceived impacts the proposal may have on the neighborhood or community.
  3. Effective Citizen Review gives the neighbors and other concerned parties the opportunity:
    • To learn about applications that may affect them; and
    • To work with applicants to resolve concerns at an early stage of the process.
    • Effective Citizen Review promotes ongoing communication between the applicant, interested citizens and property owners, County staff, elected and appointed officials throughout the application review process.
  4. The Citizen Review Process may not produce complete consensus on all applications, but it demonstrates the applicant's desire to be good neighbors.


Effective Public Input can go a long way in addressing the concerns of nearby property owners.

A mis-informed or uninformed public can defeat a project.

Commission meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m., Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, Bisbee, 1415 Melody Lane, Building G.

Submittal Deadline: 45 days before the Commission Meeting.

The document describes the requirements of the Citizen Review Report process that the new owners of the Shadow Mountain Golf Course must follow in notifying the residents of Sunsites of their plans for development of their properties. Take note of the underlined passage at the top. It says that the applicants must go through the process of meeting with the citizens, getting their input, collatting their responses, etc. first and THEN they can prepare and submit their application(s) to the county for rezoning or for special use. So, you, as a citizen of Sunsites and neighbor of the golf course with a legal voice in the citizen review process you need to know what that process is. If you think that at this time you can just sit back and "see what happens next" and wait to express your opinions and ask your questions after the ink has dried on the parchment you are sadly mistaken. You are already sitting in a pew at the wedding and as they say at the beginning of a wedding, "speak now, or forever hold your peace."