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2:03 AM Mon, Oct. 15th

Residents still wary of Dorado

GOLDEN VALLEY - Golden Valley residents, while more receptive of the presentation style, still showed trepidation regarding Dorado, the proposed master-planned community.

Many residents attending a public meeting Monday night said they were cautious about what higher density would do to their lifestyle and what problems it could cause to the people in the community.

"We have put 15 years in to identify the density and the type of community we wanted in that area," resident Verna Schwab said.

She said the Golden Valley Area Plan should maintain the feel they spent so long to identify.

Water has lately been an issue of great concern for Mohave County residents as more and more developers attempt to capitalize on the rapid growth.

The residents in the county have grilled many developers as to how their plans will affect the water supply, and Dorado was no different.

Susan Bayer, a Golden Valley resident, asked Project Manager Phil Garthright where the water tank would be located within the development and how their water draw would affect the current residents.

Garthright said a water tank would most likely be placed at the highest point.

Additionally, he said the plan does call for drilling some wells outside the planned areas. These wells would be used to pipe additional water into the Golden Valley Improvement District and allow the district to maintain more allocations. During this process, Garthright said they would take the necessary steps to avoid impacting existing residents.

The proposed plan area is also within the boundaries of the Golden Valley Improvement District, which ceased selling water allocations to newly rezoned parcels in June due to a shortage of allocations. There were a couple citizens who were concerned with how many allocations they had and whether it would be enough for all of the homes.

Garthright said he was aware of the problems going on within the Golden Valley Improvement District. It was his understanding that the district had already embarked on a new water study to try to obtain more water allocations. They would also have to put forward evidence that they had enough water to support their project.

Applications and hydrologic studies would need to be reviewed by the Arizona Department of Water Resources before any final decisions are made. Water would, of course, determine exactly how many homes they can build in the area, Garthright said.

Residents also issued concerns about the solar and wind portions of the plan. One gentleman issued concerns of the failures and expense of such plans in California.

Garthright defended this portion of the plan, saying that the Mohave County General Plan has given quite a bit of guidelines and suggestions to build "green." The state has also started to lean toward renewable energy, he said, however, Mohave County has one of the most aggressive plans to date.

There were many concerns over how the proposed plan would affect the way of life in Golden Valley as a whole.

Luca Zanna, who moved to Golden Valley from California, said he saw how growth affected the California community he lived in. What was once a peaceful little town now has shootings at least once a day.

Higher density will result in more crime, he said. Also, the increased density would greatly impact the rural roads, with almost 10,000 more people driving up and down the roads each day.

Development is OK, he said, but citizens need to have some control and some say in what goes on next door.

The teachers in the audience also expressed concerns that higher density would put an undue burden on the school system. The schools already have a hard enough time keeping teachers in the schools now, how would they manage to have enough faculty in the two new schools being provided for by the developer, they asked

There was also concern that Mohave County had the required economic drivers necessary to employ this many more people.

Garthright said everything is being studied as the plan progresses. While only at the general plan amendment stage, they will work closely with several groups to make sure infrastructure is in place and concerns addressed as they move forward.

The general plan amendment necessary for Dorado to move forward will be considered for approval at the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 10 a.m., Oct. 11.

Dorado is being proposed as a gated subdivision with a mixture of low- to high-density units totaling anywhere from 1,250 to 4,800 units over approximately 1,760 acres.

The project site is located west of Teddy Roosevelt and about two miles north of Agua Fria in Golden Valley.