Zoners to hold matrix workshops

KINGMAN ­ After receiving an overwhelming amount of objections to the proposed lot split matrix, the Board of Supervisors sent it back for the Planning and Zoning Commission to gather more public input.

As a result of this decision, the Commission, in conjunction with the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Department, will hold two public workshops regarding regulations on minor land division within the next couple of months.

According to Planning and Zoning Department Director Christine Ballard, these meetings must be held and changes decided upon before the Board's Oct. 2 meeting. The department is currently working to schedule these public workshops and will release more information when it is available, Ballard said.

The proposed matrix, if approved in its current state, would set policy regarding standards of the evaluation of minor land division proposals and would allow the Commission and staff to set guidelines to formulate consistent recommendations.

"Over the past 10 years, Mohave County, through official Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors actions, has created thousands of parcels via the minor land division (between January 1995 and September 2001, 12,326 acres were divided into 1,823 parcels)," reads Resolution No. 2006-317. "It is the intent," they determined, "of the County to promote the creation of a quality real estate product, reduce the public infrastructure and service demands placed upon the county, and maintain a rural landscape under the guidance of Growing Smarter legislation rather than promote sprawl."

The Commission as well as the department determined that regulations were needed to ensure that infrastructure was in place determined by the size of lot requested.

At their meeting on July 10, the Board heard from several Realtors and citizens who were concerned about the effect the matrix would have on property rights and property values.

"I appreciate all the effort that has been put into the development of this matrix by Planning and Zoning, as well as the Board of Supervisors," said Realtor Kent Luken. "The proposed matrix, if adopted and enforced, will reduce the value of land and some rural homes as well as greatly diminish private property rights in the county."

At the public meetings, however, the Realtors will have to fight with the proponents of the matrix, who believe it should go forward as is.

"I see this matrix as a constitutional, moral imperative," said Earl Engelhardt, an active proponent of water issues within the county. "Government must take a long-term approach to planning our growth. What greater good could a government perform than that of forward-looking, public-protective measures in its planning, just as the Board resolution of 'water in perpetuity' does for our water in long-term protection. The government's responsibility is first to the public interest."