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Developer confident Kingman construction will start again

KINGMAN - Unwilling to let another long-stalled housing subdivision fade into oblivion, the City Council on Tuesday voted 6-0 to allow a developer to sell lots before he makes required on- and off-site improvements.

The decision went against the recommendation of Gary Jeppson, the city's director of Development Services, who wanted developer Scott Lander to finish paving sidewalks and roads before his property assurance escrow was released.

The Hualapai Shadows subdivision, located north of Hualapai Mountain Road and east of N. Central Street, was approved in 2006.

Plans called for the 127 lots to be built in three phases. Phase 1, which includes 51 lots, is finished, but Lander said he needed to start selling lots in phase 2 to fund the improvements he's required to make and to allow him to finish phase 3. Combined, the two phases include 77 additional lots.

Lander, a longtime Kingmanite, said the land is paid for, as is all of the underground utility work in the subdivision, but he doesn't have the money available to post a cash assurance bond.

He said he'd rather have a property assurance bond than a cash assurance to guarantee the improvements would be made if the City Council agreed with Jeppson.

The lack of certainty concerned Jeppson, who told the Council his recommendation was based on the city's financial exposure.

The risk, he and a couple of council members noted, is that taxpayers would be on the hook to fund improvements if Lander was unable to do so.

The primary improvement - and the City Council's main concern - is paving a portion of Yavapai Road within the next 18 months in order to relieve traffic congestion at Central.

Sidewalks were another concern, but Lander said builders who purchase lots understand they have to put them in. To do so prior to completion of construction, he said, could be counterproductive.

And Lander is optimistic the worst of the recession has passed.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "I've got three contractors standing in line waiting to buy lots. I think we're in a good spot right now."

He said one builder wants to buy 10 lots.

Council members seemed to base their decision on a couple of factors. Lander has lived in Kingman since 1964 and his family has owned A to Z Roofing for more than 40 years.

His reputation and his promise to make the improvements seemed to hold sway.

Also, the city needs more sewer customers and property tax revenue.

"I'd rather see it get done than not," said Councilwoman Erin Cochran.

Mayor John Salem declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in the discussion or the vote.

In other City Council news:

• The council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Mohave County Flood Control District that will give the city an additional $271,600 in funding.

Last August, the City and District agreed Kingman would get about $510,000 for flood control.

Earlier this month, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, acting as the flood control district, agreed to reallocate funds that were previously "swept" from the city.

"Thank you, Mohave County," said Mayor John Salem.

• Call it Guns and Hoses. Kingman's police and fire departments will square off in a charity basketball game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The City of Kingman Youth Advisory Commission and the Lee Williams High student council will cosponsor the game and share the revenue generated.

According to Cochran, the event also features a silent auction, a 50-50 drawing and a halftime half-court shooting contest.

Admission is free to children under six years old, $3 for children between six and 14 and $6 for those 15 and older.

• The final fundraiser for the July 4 fireworks display is Saturday at Wash Me!

All proceeds earned at the event will go to pay for Independence Day pyrotechnics. Cochran encouraged residents to stop by the Stockton Hill Road car wash between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Kingman Boomers, the group raising the funds, must turn in the money it has collected by March 5.


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