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Beverly Wilson, Director, Planning Division
 
Main Location
1415 Melody Lane, Building E
Bisbee, Arizona 85603

Phone (520)432-9240
Fax     (520)432-9278

Sierra Vista Location
4001 Foothills Dr
Sierra Vista, Arizona 85650

EMAIL Planning & Zoning 
planningandzoning@cochise.az.gov

Non-residential (Commercial) ONE STOP SHOP every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to Noon (In Sierra Vista Only)

Residential ONE STOP SHOP every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to Noon (In Bisbee Only)

Bisbee Office Hours
Monday through Friday

8:00am to 5:00pm
Permit Intake Hours:
8:00am to 4:30pm

Sierra Vista Office Hours
Monday through Wednesday
8:00am to 12:00pm &
1:00pm to 4:30pm
Permit Intake Hours:
8:00am to 11:30am &
1:00pm to 4:00pm

Thursday
1:00pm to 4:30pm
Permit Intake Hours: 
1:00pm to 4:00pm

Friday
8:00am to 12:00pm &
1:00pm to 4:30pm
Permit Intake Hours:
8:00am to 11:30am &
1:00pm to 4:00pm

Building Permits may be
submitted in the Sierra Vista
or Bisbee office through
out the week.

Planning & Zoning Offices in Benson and Willcox: Building permits will need to be submitted by appointment only
Please call (520) 432-9240 to schedule an appointment

Benson appointments will be on Tuesdays
Willcox appointments will be on Thursdays


 

 

 

Community Development Department

Planning, Zoning, and Building Safety Division

 

ACCESSORY LIVING QUARTERS

An attached or detached structure that will be used as either a guesthouse or quarters for the ill, elderly or disabled (see below for definitions).  Accessory living quarters must be incidental and subordinate in size, impact and purpose to the principal dwelling. The structure may be no more than 850 square feet in size. In the absence of a special use permit issued pursuant to §1715.05, the structure may be no more than 70% of the size of the principal dwelling.

The square footage is determined by measuring the exterior walls of the Accessory Living Quarters.

The area calculation shall include all attached areas, but not open areas such as carports and patios, and enclosed attached garages. The combined square footage of a detached accessory living quarter and the total square footage of a garage attached to the accessory living quarters shall be subordinate in size to the principal dwelling.

The accessory living quarters shall not have a separate address or separate utility meters and shall not be rented separately from the main residence, nor used for commercial purposes other than a home occupation. Recreational vehicles, other than park models, shall not be permitted as accessory living quarters in any zoning district. Mobile and manufactured homes and park models may be permitted as accessory living quarters in those Zoning Districts that allow mobile or manufactured homes as permitted structures.

Guesthouse – Accessory living quarters that provide temporary accommodations for guests of the principal household. A guesthouse may include cooking facilities. Any individual guest may reside in a guesthouse no longer than six months within a 12-month period.

Quarters for Ill, Elderly or Disabled – Accessory living quarters used by an ill, elderly or disabled person in need of special care or supervision; or a care provider for any such person if the person in need of such care is a resident on the site. Accessory living quarters for the ill, elderly or disabled may include cooking facilities.


To qualify as an accessory living quarters, the structure must meet the definition above and:

  • Be on a property with an existing home;
  • Meet all site development standards such as setbacks from the property boundaries;
  • Be zoned RU, or R-36, or SM-36, 87, 174, 10-acres, 18-acres, or 36-acres, or SR-43, 87, 174, 10-acres, 18-acres, or 36-acres; and
  • As noted, if the structure is to be used as a guesthouse, any individual guest may reside no longer than six months within a 12-month period.

How an Accessory Living Quarters Application is Processed

  • Property owners within 300 feet of your property are notified of the application by mail.
  • They are given 15 days from the date of the mailing of the notice (postmarked date of envelope) to file a written protest.
  • This notification will include the application and a site plan showing existing buildings and the proposed accessory living quarter's structure. It will also describe the procedure for appealing the request.
  • If no protest is received, the Accessory Living Quarters meets the size limitation, and all site development standards are met, the Zoning Inspector will issue the permit in the manner of a residential building permit.
  • If a protest is received and/or if the Accessory Living Quarters is requested to exceed 70% of the size of the principal dwelling (and is not greater than 850 square feet), then the application will be processed as a Special Use permit.  The Planning and Zoning Commission at a public hearing will consider the Special Use permit.  It usually takes 8 weeks to process a Special Use permit.  The fee is $300.  See Special Uses for more information.
  • Prior to issuance of a permit for an Accessory Living Quarters, the applicant shall sign and the Zoning Inspector shall record a notice that specifically identifies the location of the structure on the property, indicate that the subject structure is an accessory living quarters, and state that the property owner or tenant has agreed to comply with all County Zoning Regulations applicable to accessory living quarters.

Informing your Neighbors
It is highly recommended that you visit or write your neighboring property owners and explain what you want to do before the Planning Department sends out the official notice. Sometimes a simple explanation will help them understand the request and prevent them from objecting. The Planning Department can assist in obtaining addresses.

Required Submittals 

  • Accessory Living Quarters Application
  • Joint Permit Application
  • Building Permit Fee.
  • A complete site plan: See handout on how to draw a residential site plan
  • Proof of Valid Contractor's Form

The process will not begin until fees and all information needed to process the Accessory Living Quarters Application are submitted.  It is recommended that you contact the County Planning Department prior to permit application submittal.