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Zoning defines what types of primary and accessory uses can be developed and what types of development standards will govern each use. Development standards generally include lot size, lot width, setbacks, heights of structures and buildings, lot coverage, and screening. You can check your property's zoning on the County's interactive web map INFOMap. Search by address or parcel number/APN (Format: 123459876).
ArcGIS Cochise County INFOMap
Per state law, building permits are required for all new structures or renovations of existing structures that meet or exceed $1,000 in value, although some home repairs and uses are exempt from this requirement. A list of specific improvements that do not require a building permit can be found on the Permit Exemptions Webpage. Be advised, regardless of whether your project requires a permit, it must still be constructed in conformance to the regulations of this jurisdiction and all applicable state laws.
On December 1, 2022, the Douglas Groundwater Basin Active Management Area (“AMA") was officially established. AMAs are subject to certain statutory and administrative regulations regarding the withdrawal and use of groundwater by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). The boundaries of this 552 square mile AMA correspond to those of the Douglas Groundwater Basin. To learn more about AMAs, including information irrigation allowances and prohibitions, please visit the ADWR website.
Electric service is provided by Sulfur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc (SSVEC), Arizona Public Service (APS), or Columbus Electric Cooperative (CEC) depending on your location within the County. To determine which provider provides service to your home or business, reference the County’s interactive web map INFO Map: ArcGIS Cochise County INFOMap. (Utility - Electric Service Area layer)
To find out more information about the process, your responsibilities, and/or to establish new electric service, please contact the responsible agency. Here are a few links to get you started:
Yes, the County has adopted Appendix Q (Tiny Homes) of the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC). Here is a link to those requirements: Appendix Q. By local amendment, tiny homes must be at least 296 square feet.
No. There must be a house, or some other established use, on the property in order to camp. This applies to all forms and durations of camping requests.
The County uses the following building codes:
Please note: The International Building Code and other related codes are subject to the amendments contained in the Local amendments pertinent to Cochise County (PDF)
Building Safety Page
Yes, but a standard septic system is still required. Contact the Cochise County Health Department, at 520-586-8206, for more information.
Septic Systems Page
If there is an existing principal use on the property, such as a house, you may be eligible to live in an RV on your property for up to 6 months in a calendar year with an approved temporary use permit. You may also live in an RV while a principal use is being constructed with an approved temporary use permit.
Temporary Use Permit (PDF)
You may build your own home but you will be required to obtain all required permits and sign an owner/builder affidavit. By signing this affidavit, you affirm that the property is intended for your sole occupancy and will not be offered for sale or rent within one year of completion (ARS 32- 1121.A.5). As an owner/builder, you act as your own contractor, and will be responsible for following all aspects of the permit process.
Cochise County also offers an additional program to qualifying rural properties called the “owner-builder amendment.” (See Owner-Builder Amendment webpage)
We have a lot of information, including historical permit documents, zoning designation, and flood hazard zones, on the County's interactive web map INFOMap. For additional information email the Planning and Zoning Department.
ArcGIS Cochise County INFOMap
Accessory dwelling structures are allowed within certain zoning districts. They must be equal to or lesser in height than the existing principal dwelling and they are limited in size to a maximum of 50% of the livable square footage of the principal dwelling or 1,000 square feet, whichever is less.
Also, accessory living structures must comply with all development standards as the principal structure. For more information, please see the Accessory Living Quarters Page.
The expiration of permits is stipulated by the County's adopted building code. Any work associated with a building permit must begin within 180 days after the permit is issued. The permit is considered "active" as long as work authorized by the permit is not suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days. The Building Official may grant an extension. All requests for extensions must be in writing.
Most vacant property in Cochise County is not addressed. Addresses are assigned during the permit process for a residential dwelling or commercial building.
Rural Addressing Page
All permit fees are included in the Development Services Fee Schedule (PDF). Here's a couple of examples:
Example Residential Fee for a new Single-Family Home:
Example Manufactured Home Permit Fee:
We make it easy for you! Register and apply for a permit online.
Cochise County regulates the 100- year floodplain. Property within the 100-year floodplain has a one (1%) percent chance of flooding annually. The County's Info Map includes a National Flood Hazard Layer, showing where floodplain throughout Cochise County is present. To access this information, please go to our Mapping Resource page.
Setbacks are limits that govern how closely you may build to a property line. In Cochise County, setbacks are measured from the closest point on the property line or the edge of road travelway to the structure/use, whichever is closer.
The County allows small-scale, non-residential activity in a home or workshop as a secondary use. There are associated restrictions and property owners must first submit an application and be approved to operate their business. (For more information: https://www.cochise.az.gov/246/Home-Occupations)
Development Services does not maintain records of easements on individual lots that are not part of recorded subdivisions. Recorded subdivisions may have easement information listed as part of the recorded plat. However, even these may not be the most up-to-date. In most circumstances, we recommend contacting a surveyor, real estate attorney, or title company for a title report. Specifically, the Schedule B portion of a title report lists the encumbrances and exceptions, including easements, that affect a property, and will contain the most current and accurate information.
Easement disputes can be complex. Development Services is generally not involved in civil easement disputes. We recommend contacting a title company to conduct a full title search. You may also consider hiring a surveyor to physically locate and mark your property boundaries as reflected in your deed. In come cases, you may benefit from consulting an experienced real estate attorney to analyze your specific situation and help you better understand your rights.
Livestock, for private use, is allowed in all parcels in all zoning districts in unincorporated Cochise County that are at least 36,000 square feet (0.82 acres) in size. By definition, "livestock" in County County includes cattle, horses, sheep, llamas, alpacas, goats, mules, swine, asses, and ratites, such as ostriches and emus. It does not include chickens, turkeys or quail. All livestock must be confined to prevent roaming. All stables, barns, shade structures, corrals, manure piles, and/or areas where animals congregate must be at least 50 feet from all property lines. County planning does not regulate the number of livestock allowed on a property.
If you own property within a homeowner's association or commercial condominium association, you may be bound by more restrictive CC&Rs that do not permit livestock. County Planning does not enforce CC&R restrictions. It is your responsibility to understand any CC&Rs that may apply to your property.