Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Architectural Considerations

One of the defining principles of a homestead model is that it is as self-sufficient as possible. To adhere to the homestead principles as closely as possible, to reduce long-term energy costs, and to become as self-sufficient as possible, all alternative energy systems, like solar, wind, natural lighting, water harvesting, grey water systems, etc, will be considered in building Echoing Hope Ranch

Location
► Property for Echoing Hope Ranch is located in the Rio Vista Development at the foothills of the Mule Mountains approximately 2 mile east of West Bisbee and approximately 20 miles Southeast of Sierra Vista. The United States Mexico border is within 10-15 miles of the property with the closest border crossing being Naco.
► It is 3.5 miles from the major highway to the property.
► Average annual rainfall is between 14 – 18 inches with temperatures ranging from low 30s in the winter to lower 90s in the summer.

Property
► There are no existing buildings on the property. There are no developments in the near vicinity but there is a proposed development at the major highway and Rio Vista Road.
► Red Mountain Road runs along the south boundary of the property and El Via Liberacion runs along the east boundary of the property.
► There are two neighboring properties with buildings on them but only one is visible from the ranch property.
► Access to the property is via a privately maintained dirt road for the 3.5 miles from the main highway.

Land Characteristics
► The land has a slight east to west slope. There is a small wash going across the Northeast section of the land.
► Vegetation consists mainly of native Arizona plants including but not limited to ocotillo, cholla, mesquite, creosote, and crown of thorns. There is limited natural grass growing on the land.

Use of Natural Desert Areas
► Approximately 6 acres will be used for grazing for horses and/or cows.
► Natural paths will be developed throughout the 12 acres designated for ranch buildings.

Allowable Development
► The property is zoned RU4. A special use permit will be needed to build the ranch.

Setbacks or Easements
► There is a 30 foot setback on all boundaries of the property
► There are sign restrictions. A permit to display a sign can be included in the special use zoning permit.

Flood Plain Areas
► The property is located in an areas designated as X flood plain.

Fire/Emergency Response Areas
► The ranch is located within the Bisbee fire district and emergency services are provided though the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department and Border Patrol.
► Medical services can be accessed through the Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee or the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in Sierra Vista.

Utilities
► Whenever possible and practical, alternative energy sources will be used, such as solar, wind, rainwater harvesting, grey water systems, etc.
► It is approximately ½ mile to tie into the nearest electric power. A back up generator system will need to available.
► Depending on the water needs of the ranch (for residential purposes, animals and gardening purposes), 1 – 2 wells will need to be drilled
► A septic system will be needed for all buildings on the property.
► Satellite will be necessary for television and Internet services.

Other Development Infrastructure – whenever possible, ranch residents (or ranchers) will participate in the building of other development infrastructure.
► 3.5 miles of dirt road will need to be maintained between the major highway and the property. This cost can be shared between neighbors but may be a way of building good will with neighbors if it becomes a ranch expense.
► A gravel driveway from one of the cross streets will be created that enters the property and allows access to all houses and the barn/office. A gravel parking lot will be located in front of the barn/office.
► Fences will be built around the entire 18-acre ranch with a fence cutting near the middle to separate the animal grazing area from the ranch buildings area. Fencing for animal pens will also be necessary.
► Animal structures will be built to house the animals, horse stalls, chicken coop, shelter for sheep/goats, etc.

Municipal Development Authority
► Cochise County is the municipal development authority.
► There is an inactive homeowners association established to maintain the roads within the Rio Vista Development.

Other Thoughts
► People with autism have significant sensory needs that can be very different than the typical population. Designing buildings to help limit as much disturbing sensory input as possible should be considered as much as possible and may include:

  • designed in a manner to limit noise
  • ventilation systems that are designed to eliminated odors without increasing noise levels
  • natural lighting whenever possible but also taking into consideration how the light enters the building
  • limited/no fluorescent lighting due to disturbing hum
  • Additional information about special considerations will be investigated through a report by University of Arizona and architectural firms involved with the development of the ranch.

► People with autism tend to enjoy/need structure. Designing buildings and paths in a manner to create structure and encourage independence should be considered:

  • Houses built in a circle or semi-circle encouraging movement toward the middle of the circle (toward the barn/work area).
  • Bordered paths around the property with different colored gravel than surrounding area – provides a structured direction to follow around the property.
  • Lighting inside of houses should be as close to possible as the light outside. No extreme differences in light should be found upon entering any buildings.
  • Buildings should be designed to limit extreme differences in temperature in the entryways.

► Additional Considerations Within Houses

  • Each bedroom should have its own bathroom.
  • A small common area should be designed between bedrooms with a larger common area in the middle of the house.
  • A mud room should be included near the entry way closest to the barn/work area./li>
  • Each house should have a public/general use restroom so visitors and staff do not have to use ranchers’ restrooms.