County resident's persistence pays off in naming of "Darlin' Drive"

Down-home, country-style, or Scottsdale Southwestern chic?

Country won out.

"Darlin Drive" is now the official name of the road leading to Rick and Josephine Patton's home.

Rick Patton originally named the 700-foot stretch of road at Sunward Ho Esmeralda Acres north of Kingman in honor of his wife.

"That's what I call her: 'Darlin'," Patton told the Mohave County Board of Supervisors last week during a meeting when they approved the name change.

"Darlin'" didn't sound so sweet to a Scottsdale woman with 18 lots in the area, who preferred something with more a Spanish Southwestern theme.

Despite her opposition, the supervisors voted to keep the name that the Pattons unofficially bestowed on the road years ago, and Rick Patton said the fight to keep the name has been an education in local government.

"It has been a hassle, but if I had to do it all over again I would," Patton said.

The "hassle" began four years ago when the Pattons moved to Kingman from Whittier, Calif.

After grading the road that went from nearby Cherum Drive to the their own property, the Pattons put up a makeshift wooden street sign with the name "Darlin' Drive".

Even though the couple's official address was listed as Cherum Drive, the unofficial sign for the unnamed road stayed until December, when Phyllis Wilson, the Scottsdale property owner, had a survey done.

"One of the stakes landed in the middle of our road," he said.

"I went down to the county and checked to see if there was a road easement there.

Sure enough there was."

Because Patton already was in the county building he decided to apply to the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Department to officially name the street "Darlin' Drive.

"Anyone can name a street if they notify everyone on that street," he said.

"I contacted the owners of all the parcels.

Wilson was one."

Patton sent a form letter with a map to every property owner along the road.

The owners were asked to put a checkmark next to "approve", "disapprove" or "don't care."

Patton said the planning and zoning department received only two responses: one for and one against "Darlin' Drive." When the commissioners met in early January, they told Patton they needed more information about how others in the development felt about the name.

Patton said he collected about 25 signatures from people who wanted to keep "Darlin' Drive".

Meanwhile, Wilson had come up with her own name for the street and applied to the planning and zoning department for a name change.

"I was very much against the name "Darlin' Drive" because I think it is a redneck name," Wilson explained.

"The streets out there have Spanish names.

We picked Calle Felicita, which means 'Happy Road.' "

Wilson said she, too, went through the required process of sending letters to property owners, with mixed responses.

At the February planning and zoning meeting the commission approved the Pattons' request and denied Wilson's.

Patton said he negotiated with Wilson in the meantime.

"I offered two names: 'Calle Josefina,' or 'Calle Querida,' which mean "Darlin' Drive" in Spanish," he said.

"I was looking for a win-win situation, but they did not want either name."

Patton's and Wilson's requests, along with recommendations from the planning and zoning commission, went before the supervisors April 7.

After hearing both sides, the supervisors voted to keep "Darlin' Drive" and denied Wilson's request for "Calle Felicita."

After the vote, a tongue-in-cheek supervisor Buster Johnson asked that someone from the Mohave County Attorney's office comment about the political correctness of the moniker, "Darlin'."

Wilson said she is not happy with the decision.

"Now I am going to have to sell those 18 lots on "Darlin' Drive," she said.

"They should have some responsibility when naming a street.

One street out there is named 'Spinner Bait.' "

Wilson said she was also told by someone in the Mohave County Public Works Department, where street signs are made, that streets are not to be named after a living person.

Patton - who works in the telecommunications department at the Kingman campus of Mohave Community College and is a member of the Route 66 Riders, a family motorcycle club - said he is "ecstatic" with the decision and hopes to get an official street sign put up in the near future.

Melinda Lee, who has worked at the planning and Zoning Department for seven years, said squabbles over street names are not uncommon.

"One situation that started with two people became a neighborhood battle that went on for six months," she said.

"In order to settle it the Mohave County Supervisors chose an entirely different name.

No one got the name they wanted."