POQUITO VALLEY COMMUNICATOR       

Poquito Valley              Yavapai County          Arizona         USA

History

         POQUITO VALLEY HISTORY
        a progression of the ground beneath our feet

  Our Poquito Valley is formed by the western
 halves of sections 2, 11, 14 in Township 15
 North, Range 1 West, with northern
 extension into the western half of section
 35, Township 16 North, Range 1 West that
 now lies with-in the incorporated limits of
 Chino Valley North of Dog Ranch Road.
 Section 35 from Apx Racers Way South to
   Dog Ranch road,
 Section 2 comprises Dog Ranch South to
   apx. Gumtree,
 Section 11 from apx Gumtree South to
   Sparrowhawk,
 Section 14 from Sparrowhawk South to
   apx Acre,
 with Section 23 South from apx Acre
   into Viewpoint subdivision.

  The name Poquito Valley first appears in
 deed records in a filing recorded June 02,
 1987 for ‘Poquito Valley Partnership’ whose
 principals were Marston & Marion Holben
 and William and Mary Ball, who acquired land
 parcels from the 1976 Land Trusts of
 Dan, Valerie, and Eva Siegel and Jessica
 and Stacy Richter. In 1973, same parcels
 were conveyed to Harold and Jean James 
 by Roland Tracy who became trustee of
 the lands in 1958.
  The surveys submitted for the partnership
 in 1988 include the names: Arthur
 Richardson, Jon Seibert, Martin Sterusky
 and James Combast  as officiers for the
 partnership.
 Yavapai Title trusts 300 and 371 were
 established under Poquito Valley
 Partnership. 

  A 1912 map in the Sharlot Hall Archives
 shows that all lands in section 2 were set
 aside for ‘schools’, sections 35, 11, and 23
 were ‘railroad’ and section 14 was owned
 by Granite Dells Ranch, which was formed
 in 1909 in the Arizona Territory.
 The ‘railroad’ (Santa Fe, Prescott and
 Phoenix Railway Company) also had Lieu
 options on all surrounding sections 
 including section 14.(M.E. Lererich: Public
 Land, Mining and Water Law, Phoenix,
 Arizona) 

  In 1929, the trustee for Granite Dells
 Ranch was Jacob R. Finkelstein, who took
 this responsibilityfrom Peter B. Nelson,
 who was trustee up to 1923.
  An interesting side-note, taxes were a bit
 simpler in the 1920s at One Dollar per Acre.
 and the Prescott-Jerome road received it’s
 designation as State Road 79 (89A today).

  Lonesome Valley, which fully encompasses
 Poquito Valley,  was called this by the first
 stockmen in the Arizona territory "because
 of its extent and loneliness due to lack of
 settlers", and was described as "A large
 rolling treeless valley with excellent grass
 having Jerome Junction (Chino Valley old
 post office) at its center".
  Early maps depict Lonesome Valley with
 Williams Valley to its West, Mingus
 Mountains to the East, Jackass Flats to
 the South and Devils Canyon to the North.
 (Arizona Place Names: Barnes, Will C.1935,
 UofA press)
    
 In June 1986, a 25' easement was recorded which outlined sections which would become Poquito Valley, Antelope Meadows, Viewpoint and Pronghorn. In May of 1988, further easements were recorded to facilitate utility services to the area in preparation of sub-division and sale. Exhibit B of this document established a 66 foot easement that today constitutes Poquito Valley Road, and gave access to that easement to all adjacent land owners in what would become Poquito Valley. The CCR’s were also established concurrently in May 1988. The area of Yavapai County currently is 8125 sections, so Poquito Valley is .0002462 percent of current total land mass. When the original divisions were made in the Arizona Territory in 1864, Yavapai County comprised about 65,000 sections which comprised most of Arizona north of the 34th Parallel (Morristown). This area was first visited (recorded) by Europeans via the spanish explorers Juan de Onate in 1604, and Friar Francis Garces in 1776. The ruins at Fitzmaurice (South end of Lonesome Valley) and Coyote excavation (East end of Lonesome Valley) and multiple encampments in Williamson Valley and Camp Wood areas (West end of Lonesome Valley) is testimony to the richness of this area to native peoples.                                    

  Much of the information conveyed above
 derived from maps and documents courtesy
 of Sharlot Hall Museum Archives.

  Expanded and additional details as they 
 come available...

Article printed August 05, 2007 - Read more Days Past articles

'The hill was named for Col. Glassford'

by Sharlot M. Hall
edited by Parker Anderson

Editor's Note: The following article first appeared in the Prescott Courier on March 19, 1932. It seems particularly timely today, with all of the development that is appearing on and around Glassford Hill.

"Men make strange friendships as they go through life - sometimes beautiful as they are strange and unusual. There was such a friendship between the rounded brown hill lying to the east of Prescott, and one of the finest of the old-time army officers who served at Fort Whipple.

Commonly this hill is spoken of as 'Bald Hill,' and much earlier it was called Malpais Mountain and so marked on maps. Then toward the end of the 1880s it appeared on topographical maps as 'Mount Glassford' - it had taken the name of its friend.

In 1880, much of Arizona was still unsurveyed and unmapped and military posts were dotted systematically where the Apaches needed watching. Fort Whipple, a full regimental post, and department headquarters, was the official center of military activity.

Telegraph lines were few - telephones none - communication was by mounted courier, and often word of Indian outbreaks lagged behind the swift dash of Indian ponies bearing Apaches out to kill. Already the relaying of communications by mirror flashes had been developed into the heliograph, and from the experience on the Plains in Sioux campaigns it was transferred to Arizona to out-run the Apache raiders.

To Fort Whipple was sent a tall and slender young lieutenant who, in himself, constituted the new Signal Corps. He was William Glassford, quiet, diffident, but a genius under his thatch of brown-red hair. He knew more about mathematics than is taught in most colleges, and his hands had their own cunning.

He turned the just-begun heliograph into a magic working machine and looking about for hilltops from which to reach across the country, he moved up on top of the brown volcanic cone back of the fort and began his own private campaign against the Indians.

Making, re-making, experimenting - he sent his own messages across country by relays for hundreds of miles, and simplified the 'sun-talk,' as the Indians called it, until it could be used accurately by moving troops and scouts far in advance of the main force.

William Glassford did his bit in making it more comfortable for the Apaches to stay on the reservations than to go out raiding, and some of his methods were borrowed by the English army and used successfully in northern India.

For many years, his little camp could be traced up on the dead volcano he had chosen, and his name was given to the hill by mapping engineers - though locally known by its old names. Even yet, few Prescott people climbed to the top of this interesting mountain and traced out its crater rifts and walls of lava - or know of the wide-sweeping and beautiful view from the top. Someday it will have its own roadways as has been happily suggested for the Thumb Butte region, and Prescott will have one more wonder trip for visitors.

Between whiles, Lieutenant Glassford reached out across to the Grand Canyon, surveying and mapping and reporting with enthusiasm on the beauty of the Coconino forest, and all the region between Flagstaff and the southern rim.

When he was transferred to other scenes of duty, he remembered Arizona with such affection that upon his retirement he chose to return and make his permanent home in the Salt River Valley where he became one of the advance guard in agricultural experiments by which the whole region has profited.

Mrs. Glassford was the daughter of an old-time army officer, and their home was a veritable museum of interesting things gathered in travel and service. Two years ago, they were so eager to retrace the route of Colonel Glassford's early surveys and travels that they journeyed by auto all through the northwest and back by the Lee's Ferry Bridge into Arizona.

At Prescott, they halted to salute the mountain of his early service in the Signal Corps, and to see briefly the new Whipple and new Prescott. Plans were made to return for a longer visit, but this was forbidden by failing health and the death a year later of Colonel Glassford.

He was a man of that fine type so aptly described as 'An officer and a gentleman,' and though his life reached so far into the past history of the west, he lived in the present and looked into the future to Boy Scouts, in whom he took a keen interest, he was a figure as fine as Dan Beard himself - and it would be a fitting thing if the Boy Scouts of Prescott should mark simply the site of his heliograph station on top of the mountain which has again been officially designated by his name."

Note: For information regarding the Fort Whipple heliograph system, see the Days Past articles for January 16 and 23, 2000. 

Article printed January 16, 2000 - Read more Days Past articles

Whipple, Glassford, and the "talking mirrors"

by James H. Riddle

The date was May 15th, 1890, and the Army's Department of Arizona had just completed a major heliograph practice; it was, in fact, the largest the world had ever seen. I call it the "Volkmar Practice", after the man responsible for it, Col. Wm. J. Volkmar, the Assistant Adjutant General and Chief Signal Officer for the Department of Arizona. Although the practice lasted only sixteen days, preparations for it took months of reconnaissance and preparation. Involved in the long range signaling maneuvers were twenty-five heliograph stations stretching from Whipple Barracks near Prescott to Fort Stanton near Ruidoso, New Mexico. My guess is that close to two hundred men were involved, both cavalry and infantry.

Best known of these men today was, perhaps, John J. Pershing, a young lieutenant who was in charge of the Fort Stanton heliograph station during the maneuvers. "Black Jack" Pershing was later named General of the Armies of the United States; only George Washington was ever similarly honored!

Another man, long since forgotten, but deserving special recognition was Corporal Daniel Williams of the 10th U.S. Cavalry, one of two "Buffalo Soldier" regiments. He is singled out because of his race, he, apparently being the only known black signalman placed in charge of a heliograph station. This occurred during the practice at the very busy Fort Cummings station when its officer in charge fell seriously ill and had to be transported to Fort Bayard for treatment. Williams was commended in a report of the station activities written by the officer. I hope to present this evidence to the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico for consideration of the unnamed hill manned by Williams' detachment being named for the corporal. Fort Cummings is now a national park, and the hill is in sight and within easy hiking distance from the fort.

The heliograph is a remarkable instrument using one mirror, and frequently two, for flashing coded signals over great distances. The sun is its light source, and its projected rays are interrupted into short and long flashes. These "dots and dashes" are made by the opening and closing of a shuttered screen as with a signal light on a ship, or by quick movements of a mirror hinged on its sides. Code, similar to the Morse Code of today, was used. The instrument can transmit as far as the eye can see. For greater distances, intermediate mountaintop stations are necessary. For example, communications between Ft. Whipple and Ft Verde (at Camp Verde) required two intermediate stations: Bald Mountain (we now call it "Glassford Hill") and Squaw Peak.

The distance, between Whipple and Fort Stanton was well over 400 miles, and required eight intermediate stations: Bald Mountain, Baker's Butte, Mt. Reno, Mt. Graham, and Bowie Peak in Arizona, and Camp Henley, Fort Cummings, and San Andreas in New Mexico. Branch lines were made to Forts Bowie, Lowell, and Huachuca in Arizona and Bayard in New Mexico. Some of the mountain stations had no names, so names of nearby encampments or forts were used.

Forts Verde and McDowell were withdrawn from the practice due to closures taking place just before the practice. The BIA Superintendent at the San Carlos Reservation, a civilian, understandably refused to allow the Army to operate a station on "his" reservation. Nevertheless, mountaintop stations within view of these places were included in the exercises.

Besides Bald Mountain, several other stations have new names: Mt. Reno, for example, is now called Mt. Ord. Changes like these produced many challenges as I began my search for well over fifty stations that once flashed their signals across the southwest.

"Bald Mountain", a perfect name for the prominence was renamed "Glassford Hill" in honor of the Department of Arizona's first Signal Officer, 1st Lieut. William A. Glassford. Lt. Glassford worked with the heliograph, possibly as early as 1885, when he first reported to Fort Whipple.

Granite Mountain, instead of Glassford Hill, might have been Whipple Barracks' connecting heliograph station with the outside world except for the efforts of 2nd Lieut. C. W. Fenton, of the 9th Infantry, for it was he who reconnoitered the 1890 heliograph line that would extend from Whipple Barracks to Ft. Verde. It was Fenton's honor to report that Bald Mountain (Glassford) would be a superior station to Granite, and what they probably called "Baldy" would also be able to connect with Bakers Butte north of Payson. Not only would Baldy shorten the line twenty miles, but it would also be much easier to ascend than Granite Mountain. I'm sure the young lieutenant was greatly relieved when Bald Mountain was chosen for the station instead of the towering Granite Mountain.

During Fenton's reconnaissance, he 'talked' with Whipple's 1st Lieut. L. D. Tyson, also of the 9th Infantry, and then made contact with the Fort Verde unit on Squaw Peak on March 15, 1890. He had with him a detachment of four signalmen, and at 11:45 a.m. exchanged messages between Whipple and Verde.

Contrary to popular opinion, Glassford Hill is not visible from the foremost portion of Prescott Valley. The mountain seen I call "Lessor Glassford", or "East Glassford" (it being about fifty feet less elevation than Glassford) is, however, all part of the Glassford Hill complex. If you want to be sure it is Glassford, look for the radio towers on its top.

The 1890 practice was the first time the heliograph was put to work over such a large area since General Nelson Miles used it extensively in his campaign against Geronimo in 1886. A handwritten message regarding its use during the 1886 campaign is dated June 6, 1886, and is from Major Beaumont, Ft. Bowie's commander, to General Miles in Willcox: "Heliograph reports four indians going south passed station No. 5 - Antelope springs at dusk last night. I have ordered Budd to send Couriers to Hub Ext at Bisbee Canon and Budd to Cross sulphur springs valley south of West and try to strike trail and follow - it is out of my dist. but I suppose my troops are nearest to no. 5."

Numerous rumors have persisted regarding the use of the heliograph in Yavapai County. One is that it was used by the Army against Indians. I have been unable to uncover any documented evidence that the mirrored communications device was ever used against any Indians in the southwest except during the Geronimo campaign. The heliograph did not arrive in the Prescott area in any quantity until almost ten years after the Indians on the Date Creek and Camp Verde Reservations had been forced to march to the San Carlos Reservation in 1875, a trek now called "The March of Tears" by the Prescott Yavapai Indian Tribe. Accordingly, there was little, if any, need for protection from the Indian people in the Prescott and Verde areas after 1875. This is not to say there wasn't any heliograph activity in the area, there may have been, but I've simply been unable to find any reliable evidence.

Its also been reported that there was a heliograph station on Mt. Union. Again, I have been unable to find any evidence to substantiate this; besides, such a station would not have been visible from either Fort Whipple or Bald Mountain, so that any direct communications between it and those stations would have been impossible.

Finally, there have been persistent stories regarding a heliograph line running between Fort McDowell or Fort Whipple to Fort Union in northern New Mexico. Such lines were discussed, but they were neither reconnoitered nor constructed.

There was, however, reconnaissance for a line between Fort Mohave southwest of Kingman and Whipple Barracks. Lance Corporal Green left a dairy of the exploration, which took place in May 1890, which would have been during Volkmar's practice. Corporal Green was among several men from Fort Mohave who volunteered to establish the signal line for heliograph, flash lantern, flag and torch communications between Fort Mohave on the Colorado River and Whipple Barracks at Prescott. The distance was stated to be 166 miles. His detachment left the fort on May 6th with a lieutenant, a sergeant, Corporal Green, five privates, and one trumpeter and passed through the town of Hardyville located eight miles above the fort on the "left bank" of the Colorado. A four-mule team and wagon left the fort on the day before with the detachment's provisions and bedding, and a teamster and cook.

The men traveled from Mohave to Whipple, and while en-route climbed two mountaintops, which were deemed suitable for communications stations. As described in the diary, the first site appears to have been on Rocky Peak near Union Pass eighteen miles west of Kingman, and the second was on Hualapai Peak ten miles southeast of Kingman. The Hualapai Peak station would have been visible from Granite Mountain, which, in turn, could have connected directly with Whipple or Glassford Hill. The heliograph line distance from Fort Mohave to Granite Mountain via Rocky Peak and Hualapai Peak would have been only 131 miles, with the longest distance, 63 miles, being between Hualapai Peak and Granite Mountain. There is no record of the line ever being installed. 

 Article printed January 23, 2000 - Read more Days Past articles

More on the talking mirrors in Yavapai County

by James H. Riddle

There is a lot we now know about the heliograph stations that were established at Fort Whipple and Bald Mountain (Glassford Hill).

In May of 1890, the signal officer in charge of the Whipple station, 1st Lieut. L. D. Tyson, 9th Infantry, wrote that for the first three days of the heliograph practice he had a detachment of three corporals and five privates from a signal class at Whipple who helped in manning his station. Their equipment included two heliographs (later reduced to one), a telescope and "the necessary" signal flags.

Tyson wrote, "The station (at Whipple) is located a short distance in front of headquarters building, as a fine view of Bald Mountain, the communicating station, can be had from there. Bald Mountain was only communicating station, distant seven and one-half miles by road; about six miles by flash".

With respect to the Bald Mountain station, 2nd Lieut. C. W. Fenton, also of the 9th Infantry, wrote in 1890 of having a detachment of seven men including a cook. The cook was placed in charge of the camp located at the base of the mountain while the signal party was on its top.

Tyson reported that the connecting stations were Whipple Barracks, Squaw Peak, and Baker's Butte. He further reported that another proposed station, Turret Peak, was not visible from the mountain, but he was incorrect on this as I have seen the peak from Glassford on numerous occasions; it is just hard to find from there.

A good view of Turret Peak is from AZ-69 just before turning south on I-17 when traveling from Prescott to Phoenix. Looking east, the peak is located on the horizon about 30 degrees to the left of the highway. It is a black, volcanic, flat-topped mountain with 45 degree sides, topped by the rounded "turret" on its right end.

Continuing with Lt. Fenton's report, he said that Bald Mountain's equipment included three heliographs, field glasses, a telescope, a wall tent and a small table, which he placed in the tent for writing messages. He wrote, "The telescope was fastened to a 4 X 4 post, planted firmly in the ground, and at such a height that the observer could take a comfortable sitting position. Bald Mountain is covered with volcanic rocks (basalt), which were used to build a wall along the west side of the station for protection from the wind, the prevailing wind coming from that direction. This wall broke the force of the wind very materially and enabled me to keep more perfect adjustments".

Concluding the 1890 practice, Col. Wm. J. Volkmar, the Assistant Adjutant General and Chief Signal Officer for the Department of Arizona, wrote, "While at Fort Bayard (near Silver City, New Mexico) I received from the Department Commander a test message telegraphed from Los Angeles to Whipple Barracks and transmitted thence by heliograph 365 miles, minimum flash repetitions, desiring me to convey to all officers and operators upon the lines his 'congratulations upon the handsome results attained through their energy, skill, and enterprise'".

Volkmar went on to report that of 2,544 miles included in the 1890 charted heliograph system, about 2,000 miles were actually operated during the two week practice. He also told of the world's longest heliograph communication, which was successfully transmitted during the practice, a communication between Mt. Reno (Ord) and Mt. Graham, a distance of 125 miles and a world record.

Unfortunately, because of a severe sand and dust storm, which raged between the San Andreas and Sierra Blanca stations in New Mexico (no doubt blown up from the White Sands area), the final connection to Fort Stanton was not successfully completed on the appointed day for the Whipple to Stanton test message.

Col. Volkmar ordered the lines closed except for voluntary practice or special experiments and returned to Whipple by railway where he arrived on May 13th and devoted one day to the Bald Mountain station, finally closing the general practice at sunset, May 15, 1890 at which time he wrote, "the various parties started upon their homeward marches".

The heliograph station at Whipple Barracks was probably located on the east side of Prescott's VA Medical Center on a small hill now occupied by a children's playground. This location jibes with Lt. Tyson's description and with the adjusted 1890 bearing and distance from Glassford Hill. Glassford hill is still plainly visible to the northeast of the playground.

The playground is in a restricted residential area so that permission to visit it should be obtained from Frank Cimorelli, Public Affairs Officer at the VA (Tel: 520-445-4860 Ext. 6281).

Today, Glassford Hill is occupied by a radio facility that was constructed in 1986, and depends on the sun's rays for power just as the heliograph did a hundred years earlier when Geronimo surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in southeastern Arizona.

Glassford can be reached at the end of Coral Dr. in Diamond Valley east of Prescott, but written permissions are needed from the Arizona State Land Department (520-778-9567), and from Fain Land & Cattle (520-772-8810), holder of a grazing permit for the land. The Fains request that hikers carry their permission letter with them while hiking the mountain.

Should you decide to climb Glassford, the three heliograph stations visible from it are Baker Butte (East, or 87° and 58 miles), Squaw Peak (East, or 94° and 30 miles), and Whipple Barracks (SSW, or 224°, and 5 miles). Looking to the east, Baker Butte is a minor rounded prominence on the distant flat horizon of the Mogollon Rim; Squaw Peak, only half the distance, is just to the right of it and has an almost vertical slope on its left, but slopes back gently from the tall cliffs to the right.

The Squaw Peak station, which is located about 7 miles south from Camp Verde, was used to communicate with Fort Verde prior to its closure just before the practice. Baker Butte connected with other mountaintop heliograph stations to the east and south in the Sierra Anchas, the Pinals and the Mazatzals, which, in turn, connected with many other stations.

In looking from Glassford Hill, the Prescott VA is located below and to the right of the Yavapai Indian Tribe's Prescott Resort, a hotel and gambling casino, which sits prominently on a hilltop across US89 and Granite Creek from the VA. The Whipple station can be seen from Glassford with a good pair of binoculars by looking for three white inverted "V's", the gable ends of three of the VA's residential structures. The playground may be visible just below and to the right of the gables.

The hike up Glassford is steep, especially at first, and may take up to an hour or more depending on your condition. There is a road up the mountain but the gate is locked. Pick a clear, cool day, pack a lunch, and be sure to take a hat, water, binoculars and a compass. The views from the bald mountain are marvelous of the surrounding valleys and mountains, however, there are no apparent signs of any heliograph stations on the mountain.

The VA station is visible from near the top of the west side of Glassford, and Baker Butte is visible from the opposite side of the peak. Because Lt. Fenton had three heliographs, two of which were developed for shorter ranges, it is probable that separate stations were setup on these opposite sides of the mountaintop with the long range heliograph being used for Baker Butte. It is also most probable that signal flags were also used between Whipple and Glassford.

I really hope we can commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Volkmar practice with a reenactment of Lt. Fenton's March 15, 1890 visit to Bald Mountain in which messages were exchanged between Whipple Barracks and Ft. Verde at Camp Verde. This would be a demonstration project for anyone interested to enjoy.

(James Riddle is an avid hiker who is considering publishing a guide to the heliograph stations in the Southwest. For more information, you may contact him at 520-445-4245 or kd7aoi@arrl.net.) 


 


POQUITO VALLEY ROAD HISTORY
  a progression of the mud beneath our wheels

Currently being compiled, please check back.
 past articles from The Courier archives

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ An ambulance en route to an injured child in Antelope Meadows fruitlessly drove up and down Poquito Valley Road Friday.

At street after street, homemade roadblocks and locked fences prevented paramedics from crossing east onto Antelope Meadows Drive.

Fortunately, paramedics with the Central Yavapai Fire District drove up Antelope Meadows Drive from Pronghorn Ranch Parkway to reach the child. Upon arriving, they called for a helicopter to fly the boy to a Phoenix hospital.

"If we were doing ground transport, that (the roadblocks) probably would have delayed it," CYFD Fire Marshal Charlie Cook said Monday morning.

The Friday morning response to Antelope Meadows, while not a disaster, illustrates worries about access to lot-split communities in counties across Arizona.

Because these communities use roads built on private easements, the residents can ­ and often do ­ erect fences and roadblocks to keep out through-traffic. Locally, Antelope Meadows is trying to keep heavy trucks and cars off the $800,000 main drag its residents chipped in to pay for in early 2005.

"If people would not use these every day, then property owners may be willing to leave them (cross streets) open for emergency access," said Dawn Neveau, an Antelope Meadows resident who contacted the Daily Courier. "And, if Poquito Valley Road was paved or properly maintained, all of the residents, including service vehicles Š would use it instead of our road."

Poquito Valley has discussed improving its road, but is facing a cost-prohibitive $3 million price tag from Yavapai County.

LifeLine Ambulance Service, which uses the same roadmaps CYFD does, spoke to the Daily Courier about the incident Tuesday morning.

"You expect something to be there, and it's not there," Communications Manager Glenn Kazprzyk said.

"This is what happens when you get into a rural area," Chief Executive Officer Cheryl Smith added. "Unfortunately, you don't find out until there is an emergency."

LifeLine has indicated it will work with the emergency dispatch center in Prescott to ensure callers give directions ambulance drivers can use if necessary.

Kazprzyk said LifeLine will also brief ambulance drivers on the situation north of Prescott Valley so they can prepare for blocked roads and use alternate routes.

"We can identify areas where we know there are problems like this," he said.

No one in Antelope Meadows has indicated they are willing to remove the roadblocks and fences. Residents of Poquito Valley contend they are concerned only with access for emergency vehicles.

Contact the reporter at malewis@prescottaz.com
 
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Arizona's Legislature would do well to take note of the current controversy boiling between residents of Antelope Meadows and those on Poquito Drive.

It quintessentially illustrates the need for lawmakers to do something about unrestricted lot splits in the county.

Under current law, owners of land outside municipalities can split their land into five parcels, deed it to new owners and those owners, in turn can split theirs, and so on down to a minimum of two-acre lots.

Getting to and from the lots is a whole different matter than in a planned development. Antelope Meadows is a community that grew out of lot splits, but Antelope Meadows Drive has become an improved county road. Residents paid to accomplish that in 2005.

Poquito Valley Road, however, is on private easements. It's not a great road. People traveling in the area obviously would tend to use the improved road if possible and they have. Thus, Antelope Meadows residents have blocked routes from Poquito Valley Road to Antelope Meadows Road to avoid undue wear and tear.

That has raised concerns about emergency vehicle access that became reality this past Friday as a story in today's paper illustrates.

Lot splits are popular because it's cheaper and easier to build a house without having to comply with all of the development rules. It may have worked fine back in the homestead days and still may work in more remote areas.

But in densely populated areas near municipalities, we end up with exactly the issues unfolding in Antelope Meadows and Poquito Valley.

It's time to set up some more rules that resolve issues about roads and access before they reach the point they have in Antelope Meadows and Poquito Valley.
 
 

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ Residents of Poquito Valley and Antelope Meadows argued across the makeshift roadblock dividing their communities Tuesday.

The brief exchange, which almost turned into a shouting match, is indicative of rising tensions between the neighboring communities about road usage.

Unlike a typical subdivision where a developer builds roads that become public rights of way, these communities and many others in Yavapai County have built a grid of unpaved roads on private easements.

Because these roads are private, residents often get upset when contractors and motorists from other communities use them as through-streets, especially when they have spent money to improve them.

The result is a series of homemade roadblocks and locked gates. The unintended result is that they also block access for firefighters, paramedics and police.

"We need to resolve this problem," Central Yavapai Fire District Fire Marshal Charlie Cook said recently. "Someone is going to lose a life or their property because of these fences. It could be the person who put up the fence and locked it."

The current hotspot of contention is on Memory Lane, the dirt road connecting Poquito Valley Road and Antelope Meadows Drive.

Antelope Meadows residents dumped a load of fill dirt on the road recently to prevent Poquito Valley residents from crossing over. They used to have locked gates, but someone, presumably from Poquito Valley, yanked them out of the ground.

Antelope Meadows contends it is protecting its investment ­ an $800,000 paving job on Antelope Meadows Drive that contractors finished in February 2005.

"If the main access to Poquito Valley was taken care of, this wouldn't be an issue," said Mark Coldiron, an Antelope Meadows resident living just east of the roadblock. "The only person that can make us do anything is a judge."

Poquito Valley residents currently have only one point of access to their homes, Poquito Valley Road, a rough dirt extension of Viewpoint Drive with countless potholes that rainstorms make almost impassable.

Two years ago residents formed a road improvement district with Yavapai County, but still are in the planning stages. The $3 million price tag the county quoted them is slowing progress.

At an estimated cost of $3,250 per acre, each resident in Poquito Valley would have to pay a minimum of $6,500 toward the road.

"My concern is that that's going to be pretty steep for a lot of people," said Jack Russell, chairman of the Poquito Valley Road Improvement Committee. He added that the committee is planning an Oct. 14 block party fundraiser to pay for 1,200 cubic yards of aggregate as a temporary fix.

A few years before Antelope Meadows had its own paved road, it faced a problem similar to that of Poquito Valley.

With no reliable access to their homes, many residents drove up Coyote Springs Road before cutting across to Antelope Meadows on side streets such as Dog Ranch Road.

That road now features an imposing steel fence with a smaller, broken fence lying in the weeds just a few feet away.

"That was a battle," Cook recalled while driving down Coyote Springs Road to the next roadblock. "It was never an issue before any of these roads were paved."

Contact the reporter at malewis@prescottaz.com
 
 
Friday, May 27, 2005

Janet Lincoln, who has been serving as the interim Yavapai County public defender, received a vote of confidence Wednesday afternoon when the Board of Supervisors made her appointment permanent.

The supervisors unanimously approved Lincoln's appointment, at her existing pay rate, after an executive session.

Lincoln thanked the board for its acknowledgement of the job she is doing, not only for herself, but also for the rest of the staff members. "Thank you. I appreciate your support," Lincoln told the supervisors.

The executive session included discussion of a resolution restating the establishment of the public defender's office and a personnel matter involving a county department head.

The board unanimously approved the resolution establishing the public defender's office. When the office became part of the 1997-98 budget year it had a budget but no resolution establishing it officially.

The resolution authorizes the continuation of the office to provide indigent defense services. It defines the responsibilities of the public defender, including the performance of legal work and managerial work in administering, supervising and providing criminal defense services.

The Board of Supervisors oversees the operation and has budgetary control over the public defender's office.

The board also accepted the resignation of Medical Assistance Director Mona Berkowitz, effective May 26, with one-month severance pay, by a vote of 2-1. Supervisor Chip Davis voted "no."

As part of the consent agenda Wednesday, the board approved a request from the Development Services Department to submit a $10,000 grant application to the Arizona Department of Commerce for the Verde Valley Regional Plan. The board also committed to a $10,000 county match if the grant wins approval. The match would include $5,000 for in-kind services and $5,000 in cash, which would come out of the outside services account.

The board also approved establishment of the Poquito Valley Road Improvement District. Residents of the proposed district filled the supervisors' hearing room to show their support for the proposal.
 
Tuesday May 14, 2002
 
Welding accident starts small fire near PV
PRESCOTT VALLEY – No one suffered injuries when a brush fire burned 1.5 acres in Poquito Valley, near the Viewpoint subdivision, Monday afternoon.
Officials said the fire did not threaten any structures. They believe a welder accidentally started the fire.
Firefighters were able to put out the flames quickly but stayed on the scene for about two hours to make sure it did not ignite again.
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