Rhodes: 8 months on Pravada construction

KINGMAN - After years of preparation, months of review and weeks of postponement, Las Vegas developer Jim Rhodes' master-planned community finally gained the approval of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors last week.

Now, Rhodes Homes is waiting on the Arizona Corporation Commission's ruling on whether or not Illinois-based Utilities Inc. is fit to run the water and utility companies that will service Pravada.

Rhodes also awaits the nod from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on aquiver protection permits for the wastewater treatment facilities.

It still could be several months before all the necessarily cogs are in place, but with the Board's approval, the wheels are finally starting to turn in Mohave County for the developer.

"We're pretty confident that we'll have those done within the next eight months, and that would allow us to start processing plats and begin the construction process," Rhodes consultant John Gall said.

Eight months from now is February, but Gall added that if everything goes smoothly, "we could conceivably be (building) by the end of this year - more likely the beginning of next year."

The company has 10 different floor plans and home styles for preview on its Web site, RhodesHomesAZ.com. Before anything is official, Gall and the company's vice president, Chris Stephens, will meet with Jim Rhodes and staff "to decide what product lines and plats we'll develop first," Gall said.

Easy pass at BoS

During the June 2 meeting, county supervisors brushed aside concerns raised by Golden Valley residents that Rhodes had not yet secured the water company for Pravada. Several residents urged for a delay of the approval, as the ACC has not yet issued Utilities Inc. a certificate of convenience and necessity, which is required to build or operate a water or utility company in the state of Arizona.

Chairman Pete Byers acknowledged that the region has been in a drought situation, but he said that doesn't mean the county should shun new water use at the expense of economic growth.

"We can't stop using it completely and stop building completely," the chairman said. "I don't think we can build 400,000 new homes, but we have to build some, and we have to grow some."

Gall told the Board the developer Rhodes had received assurances for water. Supervisor Tom Sockwell added that Rhodes would not begin construction if the company didn't have an agreement.

Longtime Golden Valley resident Verna Schwab countered Byers' opinion that Mohave County needs additional homes to bolster the economy, pointing to the large number of foreclosures in the area.

"Have you not seen the homes that are sitting vacant, not occupied at this time?" she said.

Despite the housing market slump, Byers said Rhodes likely would not have interest in building homes in the area if the developer didn't believe the homes would sell.

All three of the Rhodes requests were approved. Two were for minor amendments to the Mohave County General Plan and Golden Valley South Area Plan. The third adopted a specific zoning plan, a development agreement and land division regulations.

The property is north of Shinarump Drive between Adobe Road and Amado Road and south of Shinarump and north of Aquarius Drive between Yuma Road and Tombstone Trail. Residential densities will vary, and the community will include neighborhood, general and recreation-oriented commercial use. Pravada also will feature its own parks, and possibly a town center at full build-out.

ACC Spokeswoman Rebecca Wilder said last week the commission's administrative law judge has yet to make a recommendation on Utilities Inc. That recommendation will then go before the full commission for consideration.