Code of the West - Access to your Property

 The fact that you can drive to your property does not guarantee that you, your guests, or emergency vehicles will have the same level of access at all times. Consider the following.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE - Response times by law enforcement, fire suppression and medical emergency services may vary-due, in part, to the County's geography, road conditions in bad weather, and the inadequacies of rural addressing. Emergency response to outlying areas can also be very expensive. If the property you purchase is not in an existing Fire District, which is often the case in rural areas, you could be billed a substantial amount for the cost of a response to a fire or medical emergency. It would be worthwhile to contact various emergency service providers in the area before you buy land.

LEGAL ACCESS - The existence of an unobstructed road to your property does not guarantee the road will remain open in the future or that you will have unlimited access. The road may cross another property. With the assistance of a title company or private attorney, verify existing easements and ensure that all necessary ingress/egress easements are in place.

ROAD MAINTENANCE - Coconino County maintains 1,228 miles of roads-250 are paved and 978 are not paved. Many rural properties are served by private roads, which are typically maintained by private road associations or individuals. Some private roads are not maintained on a regular basis. The County does not maintain private roads. It is very important to know if your road was properly constructed, what type of maintenance to expect, and who will maintain it.

PRIVATE ROAD STANDARDS - Emergency service vehicles may encounter problems navigating small narrow roads. To address this issue, Coconino County adopted an ordinance requiring access roads to be built to a certain standard before combustible materials can be taken to a vacant parcel of land. For more information, contact Coconino County Community Development or Public Works.

EXTREME WEATHER DRIVING - In extreme weather conditions, roads (including County maintained roads) can become impassable. You may need a four wheel-drive vehicle and/or chains for all four tires to travel safely during storms, which can last for several days.

NATURAL DISASTERS - Natural disasters, especially floods, can destroy roads. A dry creek bed can become a raging torrent and wash out roads, bridges and culverts. Property owners served by private roads are responsible for the repair and reconstruction of damaged roads and structures, which can be very expensive.

PAVING - If an existing road is unpaved, it is highly unlikely that Coconino County will pave it in the foreseeable future. If the seller of any property indicates that the road will be paved-beware! Contact Coconino County Public Works to verify the status of the road and any future plans for the road.

ROAD IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS - Some rural communities have formed improvement districts to pave their roads, or to reduce dusty conditions. Property owners are assessed their portion of the initial cost as well as future maintenance costs, which can be very expensive. For more information, contact the Special Districts Coordinator.

VEHICLE "WEAR AND TEAR" - Because unpaved roads are typically rough, and slippery in wet weather, vehicle maintenance costs may increase when you regularly travel on these roads.

CONSTRUCTION COSTS/DELAYS - It may be more expensive to build a residence in a rural area, due to higher material delivery fees. Some large construction vehicles encounter problems navigating narrow roads, and County building inspectors travel to some remote areas only once a week, which can cause construction delays.

MAIL, NEWSPAPER AND PARCEL DELIVERY - Regular mail, newspaper and/or parcel delivery may not be available in all areas of the County. Check with the postmaster, local newspaper office and parcel delivery services in your area. Delivery fees may also be higher than within a city.

SCHOOL BUSES - School buses travel only on roads that have been designated as school bus routes by the school district. It may be necessary to drive your children to the nearest publicly maintained road to catch the school bus. Check with the school district to determine the appropriate school bus route for your area.