Temple Bar plans not dead

Supervisors at odds with zoners' recommendation

KINGMAN ­ While the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed Monday with most of the decisions made by the Board of Supervisors, they disagreed that the Retreat at Temple Bar development should be denied.

At a special meeting Monday night, the commission was given the chance to issue another recommendation to the board on General Plan items in which the board disagreed with their original recommendation.

The commission heard the stipulation added by the board, requiring developers to pay for infrastructure. It stated, "Prior to further approvals being granted, the developer must establish to the Board's satisfaction that adequate infrastructure is in place or programmed and assured to be completed at each stage of the development without cost to the county and to the fullest extent permitted by law." The commission voted unanimously on the four Rhodes developments to accept the addition from the board.

The Board of Supervisors went against the initial recommendation to approve the Retreat at Temple Bar development at their Dec. 5 meeting. The board voted unanimously to deny the development because of a lack of access and infrastructure in the area. Concern was also raised about potentially granting a bargaining chip to Rhodes in the ongoing land trade negotiations.

There has been an ongoing objection to this project from the National Park Service given that the project site is a checkerboard within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The site is surrounded by national park land.

"It is the National Park Service intent to acquire these lands either through acquisition or exchange and manage them consistent with the park mission. Development of the lands for residential purposes is not consistent with the General Management Plan for Lake Mead NRA," said Gary Warshefski, a representative for the National Park Service.

"In addition to the incompatibility of this proposal with park management, there are some legal and environmental objections to the development of these lands. The lands are not in a contiguous block but are isolated and connected only by Section corners. The conceptual development map provided by Rhodes Homes shows these isolated sections of land being connected by roads which cross federal lands. The National Park Service does not support the development of these lands and would have the authority to condition a right of way for access across federal land," he said.

NPS also said they had some worries about water availability and tremendous extractions planned for the development. It is their stated opinion that this would damage the ecological habitats in the area.

Since the board's meeting on Dec. 5, both the NPS and Rhodes had a meeting with the Bureau of Land Management to discuss a possible land trade. Jim Holland, a park planner for the Lake Mead NRA, said NPS and Rhodes came up with what was, in his opinion, a very good proposal for a land trade. He said he believed that it was a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. However, Holland reported that the BLM state director said the price of land was currently too volatile and that they felt they could not get a good enough value to benefit the government. Holland said there were still other avenues for a land trade and their goal is still to acquire the land to include it as part of the park.

North Kingman resident Steve Goodman said the area is relatively pristine and a high-density residential development would damage the national heritage of the area. He also said it would affect the NPS bargaining power when attempting a land trade.

Goodman was also concerned about inadequate infrastructure and access to the property.