SAFFORD — A prospective homeless shelter, along with the possibility of added animal hospitals and clinics, got a boost from the Safford Planning and Zoning Commission last week.

In a Thursday, Nov. 21, meeting, the commission voted to recommend text amendments to the municipal zoning code that added a definition for a shelter facility; added shelters to permitted uses in an A-R Agricultural-Residential District, with limitations; and added shelters to conditional uses in a C-2 Highway Commercial District, with limitations.

The Gila Valley Ministerial Association (GVMA) is looking to open a local homeless shelter, to be named the Gila Valley Samaritan Home. Vaughn Grant, representing the GVMA, thanked the commission and Safford Planning and Community Development Director Susan Anderson. “I think it does give us a great opportunity now to look for a place,” Grant said.

The text amendments also added definitions of small and large animal hospitals and clinics to the zoning code; added small animal hospitals and clinics to permitted uses in an A-R District; added large animal hospitals and clinics to permitted uses in an A-R District, with limitations; and added large animal hospitals and clinics to conditional uses in a C-2 District, with limitations.

Anderson recommended approval of the amendments, saying a shelter facility would fulfill a community need to address homelessness, and animal clinics would provide the community with additional services.

The commission’s recommendations will go to the Safford City Council, which Anderson said will hold a public hearing in January.

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