RAID targets growth

Group starts referendum effort to prevent new strip mall

KINGMAN - A small but growing group of Kingman residents are tired of having their concerns about the future development of Kingman ignored by developers and city officials.

The group has banded together to form Residents Against Irresponsible Development. Two members of the group, Mike Bihuniak and Harley Pettit, spoke out against a proposed shopping mall at Monday night's Council meeting.

The group took out a petition for a referendum to place approval of the shopping mall on the May ballot Tuesday morning.

Bihuniak called RAID a watchdog group designed to keep an eye on City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission and developers in the area. The group is on the lookout for development, both commercial and residential, that interferes with the quality of life for all current Kingman residents. Especially for developments that would increase the amount of traffic, noise, pollution, light and create other nuisance for residents.

The members of the group said they are willing to fight against any unwanted development no matter where it is located in Kingman.

"We're here for everyone in the city. We want anyone with a problem to call on us. We're here for all citizens of Kingman. We're trying to maintain the integrity of the General Plan," Bihuniak said.

"This is something that concerns the whole of Kingman," member Billie Dickmeyer said.

"We're trying to protect current homeowners," member Gwen Gillman said.

"We're not against all development. We're not anti-business. We just don't want explosive growth," Bihuniak said.

The group would support a minor amendment to the General Plan or a rezoning if it thought the change would benefit the community, he said.

Many group members said they were tired of being intimidated or ignored by Council, developers and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

"We could talk (to Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission) until we're blue in the face as individuals. They always seem to come up with a reason why it's good for business," Bihuniak explained.

The Council and Planning and Zoning Commission don't seem to be concerned with the impact some development has on the area, Gillman said. She pointed to the proposed shopping mall for the intersection of Castle Rock Road and Airway Avenue. Council approved the mall without a traffic study of the area. She pointed to the Retreat at Boulder Creek subdevelopment that will go up soon near her home. If she and other residents hadn't fought the subdevelopment and persisted, Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission would have simply rubber-stamped the project, she believes.

The city doesn't invest the time and effort to look at the impact these developments might have on a community or solicit public comment about new developments, she said.

And when the city does investigate, they are inconsistent with their decisions, Pettit said.

He pointed to a request from Celebrate Homes for an off-site billboard that appeared before Planning and Zoning Commission last month. Celebrate Homes met all the requirements for a billboard, yet the Commission denied their request because they were afraid it might set a precedent. No resident stood up to oppose the billboard, Pettit said.

However, earlier in the year, the Commission approved both the Boulder Creek development and the Castle Rock Road shopping mall despite multiple protests from residents.

Bihuniak accused the city of trying to hide or slide developments under the noses of residents. He pointed to a meeting held Wednesday night for residents living near the proposed Kingman Crossing I-40 Interchange. The proposed interchange affects all the residents of Kingman, he said. Everyone should have been invited to the meeting, not just the people who own property within 1,000 feet of the interchange.

"We're trying to get them to be more transparent. The residents are the ones who elect the people on Council. They're supposed to protect the residents, but they seem to be more pro-business than pro-residents," he said. "We're tired of being run roughshod over."

"We're not a one trick pony," Bihuniak warned.

For more information on the group, send e-mail to kingmanraid@yahoo.com.