Authority not happy with proposed subdivision

KINGMAN - The developer of a subdivision at the end of the Kingman Airport runway hit a snag Monday as it floated a new plan to work with the Kingman Airport Authority.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue a request by STGG Holding Co., LLC for a minor amendment to the county general plan for the Statesboro subdivision. The vote came after members of the airport authority showed documents suggesting the county had agreed not to allow developments that would impact the airport's operations.

Representing the developer, Mark Clark told the supervisors the new minor amendment was an attempt to reach a middle ground with the airport. The amendment would consolidate the park areas proposed for Statesboro, placing them toward the airport's side of the subdivision.

"The only action that they would like from us is not to develop at all, and that's not a practical solution," Clark said. "We've done as much as we could by relocating the parks within the development to a location that would assist them at the end of their runway."

The 320-acre property is currently located 1.5 miles from the end of one of the airport's runways.

According to the airport's master plan, that runway will eventually be extended to within 2,600 feet of the development. Despite this, Statesboro's original minor amendment plan passed the Board by a 2-1 vote last August.

Clark said the development was not unprecedented - other Arizona subdivisions have built even closer to airports. He also noted the Airport Authority had land to the south it could expand upon.

Scott Brackett and Bob Riley spoke for the airport authority. Brackett produced a Miner article about an airplane that crashed just north of the airport in 1999 - exactly where Statesboro would be located.

Brackett also showed supervisors a section of the original 1940s-era grant assurance from when the county first took over the airport from the U.S. government. One section of the agreement forbids the airport's stewards from "decreasing the usefulness of the airport."

"Allowing a subdivision - a residential subdivision - in the flight path of Kingman Airport will not increase the viability of our airport," Brackett said. "This minor amendment would decrease the usefulness of the airport."

Riley displayed a section of the current grant assurances with the Federal Airport Authority that he said echoed the 1940s-era document.

"In essence, this says that ... you will not enact zoning that will impact airport development," Riley said. "It is our belief at the airport authority that your action today will impact any of the proposed grants opportunities that Kingman Airport Authority, Lake Havasu City or Mohave County Airport Authority have in Bullhead (City) as a result of zoning action adjacent to Kingman."

Chairman Pete Byers, the lone dissenter from the August vote, reiterated his opposition to the development. He urged Supervisors Buster Johnson and Tom Sockwell to visit the proposed site and gauge the potential noise complaints for themselves.

"You know, I voted against this last time, I got defeated," Byers said. "But I know that if you fellows would go out there and sit on that property and wait until a plane flies over you, I guarantee you that you'll know that that subdivision doesn't belong there."

Byers made a motion to deny the minor amendment, but could not find support from either colleague. Instead, Sockwell made a motion to delay the amendment until Special Deputy County Attorney Bill Ekstrom could properly review the language of the grant assurances.

No date has yet been set to reconsider the proposal. However, in a phone call Tuesday, Ekstrom said he had already reviewed some of the material and was leaning toward the developer's view.

"It's pretty much a subjective decision by the Board at this point," Ekstrom said. "Based upon what I've seen at this point in time, I don't believe that these documents pose a major impediment to the development, and certainly as the airport exists today."