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7/10/2009 6:00:00 AM
Solar plant rezone stalled
‘Heavy manufacturing’ concerns aired by residents at meeting

James Chilton
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A solar plant proposed to go on 40 acres of land north of Interstate 40 and east of Hackberry Road may yet see the light of day - so to speak - though it appears unlikely the land will be rezoned for heavy manufacturing, as originally submitted.

The Mohave County Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to continue a request by Donald and Margaret Garrett to rezone the 40 acres from A-R/10A: Agricultural-Residential/Ten Acre Minimum Lot Size to M-X: Heavy Manufacturing. The vote came after essentially everyone involved, from the neighbors to the commissioners to the applicants themselves, expressed a desire for some kind of alternative to the heavy manufacturing zoning.

Reasons for opposition varied from one perspective to another. The subject property's neighbors spoke out primarily because they felt the rezone would set a precedent, allowing anyone to seek heavy manufacturing zoning in the county's rural residential areas, potentially threatening their rural way of life.

"Once the door is open, you can't close it," said Cedar Hills resident Sandra Smith. "It will allow a host of manufacturing and industrial businesses to be placed in between and next to residences."

Resident Wayne Smith pleaded with commissioners to not open up what he called a Pandora's Box for rural county residents. "It'll absolutely kill property values and our way of life," he said. "You don't know what you've had until you've lost it."

Some residents expressed concern that the 1.5-megawatt photovoltaic plant would negatively impact their view of the surrounding countryside, while others hailed the concept of the plant, just not the rezone it required.

One proponent of solar energy, Lane Garrett (no direct relation to the applicants), noted that the facility would require little to no water for day-to-day operations as opposed to larger-scale concentrated solar plants proposed for the county that would use hundreds of millions of gallons of water a year apiece. But even he admitted the heavy manufacturing rezone made little sense, given that no "heavy manufacturing" would actually be occurring.

"This is not heavy manufacturing; it takes a lot less effort than a farm would," Lane said. "You don't have any ongoing maintenance except to trim weeds when they get too high."

Representing the applicants, consultant Kathy Tackett-Hicks admitted that the only reason they were seeking the M-X zoning was because it is currently the only zoning district in which solar plants can be built. She acknowledged that the county is currently working out classifications for a new "green" energy zoning designation, but she told commissioners her clients could not afford to wait to secure such zoning, since there was a time component to the solar plant's funding source.

The commission ultimately voted 9-0 to continue the hearing for 30 days, requesting that the applicants submit the zoning use permit application for consideration next month.

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Related Stories:
• Residents will have a chance to speak out on solar plants
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• Biofuels plant on P&Z agenda
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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009
Article comment by: HA

All you hind behind the "sky is falling" excuse. So tired of it.

None of you really know how much water is available, but you really don't care. It is simply a convenient excuse to keep Kingman from growing.

Good work. Just keep up the good work for all your fellow Kingmanites that don't have jobs or homes.... How brave of you all! How considerate your "defense" of our water really is...

Thanks but no thanks.

Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009
Article comment by: Rescuelady

When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. Then they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists, I did not protest; I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

In Mohave Co. they came for the water...

Thomas Fuller said in 1732, "We never know the worth of water, 'til the well is dry."

Only the selfish think about what it does to them.

A generous being thinks about what legacy it leaves for the future generations.

Someone has to speak for them.

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009
Article comment by: Russ

All solar does not use precious resources, read the story, photovoltaic only use sunlight not water like concentrated solar which use's sunlight to make steam! I'm all for this and there is no manufacturing involved, It's a win win deal!And yes I would also like to see more wind large and small scale in this area!

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009
Article comment by: Kele

Instead of Solar which uses our precious resource, water, why not wind farms. As I travel acroos America, I see them every in every state and they use no water. I don't find them disturbing the landscape, especially when I know it is generating electricity. Better to have wind farms, than individual windmills in yards blocking views of the city.

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