WHETSTONE — Despite objections from residents living near a recycling center in Whetstone, the Cochise County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a Special Use Authorization for the applicant during a hearing Wednesday.

The applicant, Eric Holeman, owner of Bolstering Buffalo Inc., started the recycling operation at 202 West Oak St. in Whetstone in March without the required special use authorization he needed for the business.

Gary Miller, owner of Quail Ridge RV Resort, is one of five objectors who spoke against the special use authorization, citing a number of concerns that he feels a recycling center could bring to the neighborhood.

Following the hearing, Miller said he plans to file an appeal against the commission’s decision.

“It’s very troubling to know that someone can set up a business illegally and operate it for four months, which is what Mr. Holeman did. He then was able to get the county’s approval for a special use permit after the fact. It’s even more troubling that he got the approval in spite of a number of objections. There was a petition with 99 signatures opposing the special use, and nearly 40 letters of objection.”

The five complainants who spoke at the hearing contend that a recycling operation is not compatible with the neighborhood, a mixed-use area of general business and RU-4 (residential) properties.

A recycling center requires a light industry zoning, which is why Holeman applied for the special use authorization following a complaint to the county by neighboring property owner Lucinda Earven. The property Holeman is leasing is zoned general business, a lower intensity use than light industry.

Along with those who objected to the special use authorization, there were callers who spoke in support of it. All the supporters were from Hereford or Sierra Vista and are Bolstering Buffalo customers. Because audio problems made it difficult to hear names clearly and what callers were saying, there will be a follow-up to this story in Sunday’s paper.

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