Proposed rezone for office building nixed by P&Z

KINGMAN - The City Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday heard the first of three presentations, to be held at different times and locations, on requests to make major amendments to the city's zoning map. A major amendment is the first and largest obstacle in rezoning land to allow alternative uses. They are only allowed during a one-month period each year because of the significance of the changes.

A handful of property owners between Calumet and Airway avenues submitted a proposal to amend the map for office buildings on 29 acres currently zoned high density residential.

Planning staff is recommending this proposal be denied because the request does not fit the major amendment requirements, planner Kyle Taylor said.

The general requirement for major amendments is that it furthers the health, welfare and safety of the community. In particular, applicants must prove a need for the amendment to the zoning designation map, and they must show that it will be a better use of the space than its current designation.

In this case, the land is currently a central location for employment, education and shopping, and an amendment could lead to the potential loss of more than 800 homes, Taylor said.

It is ideal for high density, he added, because it reduces dependency on cars, and it will allow the city to meet future housing needs as the city grows in population.

"The General Plan is only supposed to be amended when clear evidence of change in assumptions, conditions or dynamics exist, and the client has not provided any information that this standard for review has been met," Taylor's report said.

Applicant Joy Brotherton, a real estate agent with Century 21, spoke on behalf of the owners.

An attempt was made in July of last year as a minor amendment, but the P&Z Commission and City Council recommended Brotherton gather all the property owners in the area and come back for another request. She did, but staff still is recommending denial, Taylor said, because it would reduce the total amount of high density housing available in the city from 121 acres to 92 acres. If approved, Taylor said staff would need direction on where to designate other land for high density housing, as it will be needed as the city continues to grow.

Brotherton said she's been a resident of Kingman for more than 45 years and has been in the real estate industry for 25. She refuted comments made by Taylor that the land was perfect for high density, claiming that other than Rutherford Village, nobody wants to build and no one wants to live in that area.

Construction on Rutherford Village started in 1993, she said, and it still isn't complete. All the homeowners in the area, including some of the property owners whom she represents, are trying to sell their homes.

"I can't see anywhere where this conflicts with the General Plan," she told the Commission.

In addition, surrounding areas are predominantly zoned commercial, making this 29 acres fit in well, she said.

Marvin Robertson, a member of the city watchdog group Residents Against Irresponsible Development, spoke in favor of the amendment. He said he was "amazed" to find himself in opposition to the planning staff's recommendation, but nonetheless, he said there is no better place in town for commercial zoning.

The land is surrounded by a Coca-Cola warehouse and All-Starz Gym to the north and all other land is vacant.

"Do you want an apartment next to the Coke factory?" Robertson asked.

Because another P&Z hearing is required by state law, the Commission will not make its recommendation to Council for approval or denial until the April 24 meeting.

Another request

The second request came from Wade Stephens, owner of 640 acres located outside of the current General Plan Study Area.

The undeveloped land is currently outside of city limits. Stephens has requested that the land be included in the study area for consideration in the future to designate 540 acres as various densities of residential. The remaining 100 acres would be zoned as open space.

Peter Proffit of Mohave Engineering Associations, the firm representing Stephens, said that if the city doesn't grant this addition to the study area, they would work with the county to achieve the eventual zoning.

Henry Varva, the owner of the firm planning to develop the land, argued that because of the expansion of the city to the north, it's in the city's best interest to grab hold of the land, annex it and prepare for future growth.

He said the dynamics of the area have changed, meeting one of the requirements for a major amendment, and that as industrial development on Grace Neal and at the airport continues, business will migrate north.

This requests will be presented again at the Mohave County Administration Building, 700 Beale St. on April 24. Residents are welcomed to attend and voice their support, opposition or concerns with any and all of the amendment requests.