Broad interpretation allowed

Design Review Manual for Hualapai Mountain Road not as strict as some might think

The Macrae Glass office building under construction along Hualapai Mountain Road on Wednesday evening. Photo: JC AMBERLYN/Miner

The Macrae Glass office building under construction along Hualapai Mountain Road on Wednesday evening. Photo: JC AMBERLYN/Miner

KINGMAN - New construction on Hualapai Mountain Road must meet certain Southwestern-themed style requirements to earn the approval of the city Planning Department, but the manual outlining requirements is not as strict as many Kingman residents might think.

The Kingman Planning & Zoning Department fields inquiries from residents concerned about whether or not this or that building meets the requirements, and some residents have contacted the Miner curious about particular construction projects.

For clarification, the "requirements" documented in the Design Review Manual are more broadly interpreted than most people seem to understand, according to P&Z Administrator Tom Duranceau.

Approved in December of 2004, the ordinance creating the requirements for a Southwestern theme for Hualapai Mountain Road construction aims to keep the area diverse in style and aesthetically appealing to passers-by.

But the requirements are more like recommendations, and the manual, which contains dozens of ways a builder can meet the theme, "is really very broadly interpreted," according to Planner Cindy Hill.

This doesn't necessarily mean the P&Z Department is skipping over certain developments and allowing construction styles that don't fit the theme, it just means there are various building types, styles, colors and landscaping that can be used together to gain the approval of the P&Z Department.

"We want to encourage good design, but not dictate," Duranceau said.

One new building of interest is Macrae Glass between Jackson and Monroe Streets. The building, estimated to be complete by early 2007, eventually will have an identical one next to it on the same block. Several people have asked whether or not the plans, particularly the roof, meet the Southwestern-style theme.

Duranceau said he's walked the glass project designers and owner through the manual and suggested small alterations to the proposed building that will make it align with the theme. Such alterations included breaking up large windows that would have looked like a grocery storefront, collapsing parts of the front of the building to add character with depth, and crafting small, aesthetic details in between the windows.

"People have this erroneous idea that everything has to look like an adobe building, and that's not what it says" in the manual, Duranceau said. A major misconception people have about the theme is the strict roof style. Parapet-style roofs aren't the only style, however. The Macrae Glass project roof isn't adobe, but just because it's a pitched roof rather than an adobe-style one doesn't mean it's violating the requirements, Duranceau said. It does fit the theme.

The manual calls for a "broad Southwestern theme," but this theme "is not intended to limit architectural innovation within the general styles," which include Southwestern traditions, Arizona territorial, pueblo and Spanish colonial.

The P&Z Department has had some intense negotiations with architects over their design plans for several businesses already established on Hualapai Mountain Road. One battle was over the pre-designed Family Dollar building just up the road from the glass project.

After going back and forth with suggestions and counter arguments about what would fit the manual recommendations, the Kingman City Council finally intervened and made a decision in favor of the P&Z Department's recommendations.

"We had to have a continuous discussion on every element of the design," Duranceau said, still laughing in disbelief.

To see the 10-page manual, visit the Planning & Zoning Department headquarters downtown on Fourth Street and Beale Street, or call 753-8130.