Supervisors reject rezone to allow truck wash off I-40

Citing concerns about water usage and congestion, the Mohave County supervisors voted 2-1 Monday to reject a rezone that would allow a five-bay truck wash business north of Interstate 40 east of the D W Ranch Road exit.

Supervisors Pete Byers and Tom Sockwell sided with project opponent Earl Engelhardt, a nearby property owner.

However, Supervisor Buster Johnson cast the sole "no" vote, saying afterward that the site is a "logical" location and contending the supervisors lacked documentation of harm to the aquifer.

The board majority reversed a unanimous decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission, which approved the rezone Nov.

13.

Applicant Bill Wire of Kanab, Utah, sought the rezone of the property from agricultural-residential to general commercial highway frontage.

The site is less than 11 acres.

With his project defeated, Wire said afterward that he will "go somewhere else." He has been in the truck wash business for 12 years.

He said the five-bay truck wash would use 12,000 to 14,000 gallons per day, adding the water would be recycled.

The truck wash would use water from an aquifer that is being depleted, said Engelhardt, who serves on the board of the Northwest Arizona Watershed Council.

Engelhardt also mentioned traffic at the nearby Love's Travel Stops & Country Stories, a development that he also opposed.

He said Wire plans on building a berm instead of a fence around the property, and expressed concern about the lighting being too bright at night.

Referring to another heavy water user, Engelhardt said, "It is just a smaller Griffith Energy Project."

Wire said truck washes are not "bad-looking buildings" and he would place oleander bushes around the property.

Responding to another comment from Engelhardt about creating low-wage jobs, he said he would start employees at 50 cents an hour above the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

Byers said he opposes the project.

"I have to say it is a congested areas, and then the issue is water," he said.

He motioned to deny the project, and Sockwell seconded the motion.

Bob Bula, whose family owns the property, and Tim McMilon, who represents the seller, spoke in favor of the rezone.

McMilon said the truck wash would amount to "the highest and best use of the property."

Sockwell cited a report stating that Arizona is drawing 39 million gallons a year more than is being recharged into its aquifers.

"We really should look at conserving water in this state," he said.

Johnson questioned Planning and Zoning Director Chris Ballard regarding the water supply in the area.

"We really do not have good information," Ballard said.

"We are data-poor."