For one solid year, L.S. and Kay Mahan, who own property along I-10, have wanted to put up a billboard with a free ad for Cochise County tourism.  County Planning & Zoning fought all the way — and now P&Z looks ridiculous.
At the November 21 Board Of Supervisors meeting, the Mahans appealed, and the Supervisors asked the Department questions that P&Z had no good answer for.
The Department had only three specific complaints:
1, the billboard would be 600′, not 660′, from another sign.  The Mahans readily volunteered to move the billboard 60′ more.  When the Supervisors asked the Department if it had tried to resolve this before the meeting, the Department admitted that it hadn’t.
2, the billboard would be over 35′ high.  The Mahans volunteered to drop it to 22′.  Again, the Department didn’t try to resolve this beforehand.
3, the billboard would be set back only 10′ from the I-10 right of way.  Again, the Department didn’t try to resolve this beforehand.
After running out of excuses based on nitpicking, the Department claimed to be carrying out its own policy.  The Supervisors responded that the Board, not the Department, sets policy.  The Supervisors voted, 2-1, to allow the billboard (the No was Newman, who participated by phone).
Why did the Department conduct a year-long campaign against the Mahans?  Every reasonable possibility makes P&Z look bad.
The Mahans point out that while the Department was obstructing them, it was allowing illegal billboards owned by a major ad company to go up all over the county.  So perhaps the Department was just carrying out its well-known policy of favoring outside money over county residents.
But also, there were personality clashes with Departmental employees.  So perhaps “public servants” were trying to show “mere citizens” who was boss.
And it’s ironic that while nitpicking through the regulations to obstruct the Mahans, Department head Anderson is notorious for ignoring the regulations and law if they would constrain her.
The Mahans are the kind of people Cochise County needs & should be proud of.   But where do we find people like Anderson?  And why do we keep them?

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