Accessory Living Quarters

Accessory Living Quarters (ALQ) is an attached or detached structure (including detached bedrooms) that is used either as a guesthouse or as quarters for the ill, elderly or disabled, or their caretaker(s). It is recommended that you contact the planning division prior to submittal of your application. Following acceptance and recording of the ALQ approval, the applicant must obtain all required building permits prior to construction. 


No more than one ALQ per lot or parcel

  • Manufactured homes, rehabilitated mobile homes, and park models may be permitted as an ALQ in those Zoning Districts where they are a permitted use
  • No more than one kitchen per unit (detached living structures)
  • Recreational vehicles are not considered or permitted ALQs in any zoning district
  • Separate utility meters are only allowed for ALQs with rural zoning. ALQ must be lesser in square footage and height than the existing principal structure

Special Use Authorization is required to:

  • Install a separate utility meter for ALQs, not in rural zoning
  • Rent an ALQ separately from the main residence
  • Use an ALQ use for commercial purposes, or anything other than home occupation

ALQ Qualifications

To qualify as an accessory living quarters, the owner of the parcel shall live either in the primary dwelling or ALQ as their primary residence and the structure must:

  • Be an allowable use within the zoning district of the subject parcel. One ALQ per parcel is allowed in the following districts: RU, R-36, SM-36, SM-87, SM-174, SM-10-acres, SM-18-acres, SM-36-acres, SR-36, SR-18 Acres, SR-10 Acres, SR-174 (4-acres), SR-87 (2-acres), and SR-43
  • Be on a property with an existing home
  • Meet all site development standards, such as setbacks from the property boundaries

Application Process

All property owners within a 300-foot radius of your property are notified of the application by mail by the Cochise County Planning Division. This notification will include this application and a site plan. The site plan must show all existing buildings as well as the proposed accessory living quarter's structure. The notification will also describe the procedure for filing a protest. The notified property owners are given 15 days, from the date of the mailing of the notice (postmarked date of the envelope), to file a written protest.

If the Accessory Living Quarters meets all site development standards, but a written protest is received, the application can be processed as a Special-Use at a public hearing. The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the Special Use application as well as the written protest in order to determine whether the ALQ should be allowed and if additional conditions are warranted to enhance site compatibility. It takes approximately 8 weeks to process a Special Use application and it is subject to an additional processing fee.

If the Accessory Living Quarters meets all site development standards, and if no protest is received, or following the issuance of a special use permit, the Zoning Inspector shall record a notice prior to the issuance of a permit for an Accessory Living Quarters that specifically identifies the location of the property, indicates that the subject structure is an Accessory Living Quarter, and stated that the property owner or tenant has agreed to comply with all County Zoning Regulations applicable to Accessory Living Quarters.

Informing Neighbors

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