In 2011, Arizona SB 1598 set up a "Regulatory Bill Of
Rights" for citizens in dealing with county planning departments.
Here's a description of SB 1598 from 2011:
and here's its text:
Most of the law applies to county government,
and its most important part added an entire new
chapter, ARS 11-1601 through 1610, to the laws
dealing with counties in general. These
statutes are available via
The heart of the new statutes is ARS 11-1602.
Here's a condensation: "To ensure fair and open
regulation by counties, a person:
. "1. Is eligible for reimbursement of fees and
other expenses if the person prevails by
adjudication on the merits against a county in a
[lawsuit] regarding a county decision ....
. "2. Is entitled to receive information and
notice regarding inspections ....
. "3. Is entitled to have a county not base a
licensing decision in whole or in part on ...
conditions or requirements ... not specifically
authorized as provided in section 11-1604.
. "4. May have a county approve or deny the
person's license application within a
predetermined period of time ....
. "5. Is entitled to receive written or
electronic notice from a county on denial of a
. "6. Is entitled to receive information
regarding the license application process ....
. "7. May inspect all [laws and policies] of a
county, including a directory of documents, at
the office of the county or [its] website ....
. "8.... may expect counties to avoid
duplication of other laws that do not enhance
regulatory clarity and to avoid dual permitting ....
. "9. May file a complaint with the board of
The text of 11-1602 is at
Those rights are implemented by ARS 11-1603
through -1610. Those statutes should be read by
everyone living in the rural parts of Cochise
County. For convenience, here are condensations:
ARS 11-1603(A) says "A county inspector who
enters any premises ... for the purpose of
conducting an inspection shall:
. "1. Present photo identification ....
. "2. ...state the purpose of the inspection
and the legal authority for conducting [it].
. "3. Disclose any applicable inspection fees.
. "4. Except for a food and swimming pool
inspection, afford an opportunity to have an
authorized on-site representative of the
regulated person accompany the ... inspector or
regulator on the premises, except during
. "[5, 6, and 7 require notice of various rights.]"
1603(B) requires an inspector to give notice of
various rights and information. Then comes
. "C. A county inspector shall obtain the
signature of the regulated person or on-site
representative ... indicating that the [person
or representative] has read the writing
prescribed in subsection B ... and is notified
of [his] inspection and due process rights....
Unless the [person] at the time of the
inspection is informed how the report can be
located electronically, the county shall leave a
copy with [him]. If [he] is not at the site or
refuses to sign the writing ... the county
inspector or regulator shall note that fact on
the writing ....
. "D. A county ... shall give a copy of, or
provide electronic access to, the inspection
report to the [person or representative] either:
. "1. At the time of the inspection.
. "2. Notwithstanding any other state law,
within thirty working days after the inspection.
. "3. As otherwise required by federal law.
. "E. The ... report shall contain deficiencies
identified during an inspection. Unless
otherwise provided by law, the county may
provide the [person] an opportunity to correct
the deficiencies unless the county determines
that [the deficiencies] are:
. "1. Committed intentionally.
. "2. Not correctable within a reasonable
period of time as determined by the county.
. "3. Evidence of a pattern of noncompliance.
. "4. A risk to any person, the public
health, safety or welfare or the environment.
. "F. If the county allows the [person] an
opportunity to correct the deficiencies [he]
shall notify the county when [they] have been
corrected. Within thirty working days of
receipt ... the county shall determine ... and
notify [him] whether or not [he] is in
substantial compliance, unless the determination
is not possible due to ... normal operations at
the premises. If [he] fails to correct the
deficiencies or the county determines [they]
have not been corrected within a reasonable
period of time, the county may take any
enforcement action authorized by law ....
. "G. A county decision pursuant to subsection
E or F ... is not an appealable county action.
. "H. At least once every month ... a county
shall provide the [person] with an update ... on
the status of any county action resulting from
an inspection .... A county is not required to
provide an update after the [person] is notified
that no county action will result ... or after
the completion of county action resulting from
the ... inspection....
. "J. This section... does not apply:
. "1. To criminal [or] undercover
. "2. If the county inspector or regulator
has reasonable suspicion to believe that the
[person] may be or has been engaged in criminal
. "3. Inspections by a county board of
health or a local health department pursuant to
. "K. If a county inspector ... gathers
evidence in violation of this section, the
violation shall not be a basis to exclude the
evidence in a civil or administrative
proceeding, if the penalty sought is the denial,
suspension or revocation of the [person's]
license or a civil penalty of more than one
. "L. Failure of a county employee to comply
with this section:
. "1. Constitutes cause for disciplinary
action or dismissal ....
. "2. Shall be considered by the judge and
administrative law judge as grounds for
reduction of any fine or civil penalty....
. "N. This section:
. "1. Shall not be used to exclude evidence
in a criminal proceeding.
. "2. Does not apply to a county inspection
that is requested by the [person]."
Read the text of 11-1603 at
ARS 11-1604(A) says "A county shall not base a
licensing decision in whole or in part on a
licensing requirement or condition that is not
specifically authorized by statute, rule,
ordinance or delegation agreement." This will
matter when, for instance, a county is willing
to grant a permit only if a person gives up part
of property or an easement that he owns.
11-1605 governs time limits for a county to
11-1606 includes another "bill of rights" for
citizens: "A county ... provide the following
information to an applicant at the time the
applicant obtains an application for a license:
. "1. A list of all of the steps the applicant
is required to take in order to obtain the license.
. "2. The applicable licensing time frames.
. "3. The name and telephone number of a county
contact person who can answer questions or
provide assistance throughout the application
. "4. The website address and any other
information, if applicable, to allow the
regulated person to use electronic communication
with the county.
. "5. Notice that an applicant may receive a
clarification from the county of its
interpretation ... as provided in section 11-1609."
11-1607 requires the county to "publish, or
prominently place on the county website, at
least annually a directory summarizing the
subject matter of all currently applicable
ordinances, regulations and substantive policy
statements.... The [items] and any materials
incorporated by reference in [them] shall be
open to public inspection at the office of the
county or the county website." Our County
Attorney Office's (CAO) website has, for a long
time, had a link -- at
-- which supposedly leads to county ordinances,
but in fact leads to this statement: "Please
return here soon for more information about
ordinances in Cochise County, Arizona." The CAO
should follow the law.
11-1608 says "The board of supervisors shall
receive complaints concerning ordinances,
regulations, substantive policy statements or
county practices alleged to violate this
article. The [BOS] may review any [such item]
and may hold hearings regarding the
allegations. The [BOS] may recommend actions to
alleviate the aspects of the [items] alleged to
violate this article." See
11-1609 is the process for a citizen to
implement the "bill of rights" in 11-1606.
. "A. An applicant for a license ... may
request a county to clarify its interpretation
or application of a [law or policy] affecting
the procurement of that license by [making] a
written request that states:
. "1. The name and address of the applicant ....
. "2. The [law or policy] that requires
. "3. Any facts relevant to the requested
. "4. The applicant's proposed
. "5. Whether, to the best knowledge of the
applicant, the issues or related issues are
being considered by the county in connection
with an existing license or license application.
. "B. On receipt of a request ... the county
may meet with the applicant ... and shall
respond within thirty days ... with a written
explanation of its interpretation or application
.... The county shall provide the applicant with
an opportunity to meet and discuss the county's
. "C. The county may modify [the] written
explanation ... if required by a change in the
law that was applicable at the time the
clarification of interpretation was issued ...."
Citizens definitely should study the text at
11-1610, lists exceptions to coverage, but they
don't cover most cases involving a citizen. See