Parking lots may make connection

Wal-Mart and Smith's may hook up to ease traffic congestion

KINGMAN - It's been suggested by several on the City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission and by Kingman residents for years - that traffic congestion on Stockton Hill Road could be reduced, at least slightly, if Smith's and Wal-Mart were to create a connection between the two stores' parking lots.

Following a rezone hearing before the P&Z Commission this week, that possibility is looking more and more likely. Wal-Mart agreed Tuesday night to work "in good faith" toward making such a connection possible.

The mega-retailer appeared before the commission to request a change of zoning on three-quarters of an acre behind Smith's from recreational open to C-3, service business. But before approving the request, the commission added a stipulation that would commit the two businesses to discuss creating the much-discussed cross section.

The language of the stipulation, however, was non-binding.

It read, "The property owner will work in good faith with Smith's to evaluate a potential cross access easement between the properties, including engineering, design, construction, maintenance, storm water retention area, liability costs and location."

After hearing from a Wal-Mart representative on the issue, the commission rejected the staff's more stringent recommendation to put the cross section as a condition to the rezone. Reese Anderson of Pew & Lake PLC, a real estate and land-use firm out of Mesa, said Wal-Mart only recently had heard of the staff's recommendation and hadn't yet met with Smith's to work out any details.

Development Services Director Gary Jeppson spoke with Smith's officials on Wednesday, and they support the idea.

According to Jeppson, Smith's is working with its engineers on how best to design the cross section.

City officials have long said a connection between the two properties would positively impact the traffic situation on Stockton Hill Road, one of Kingman's main thoroughfares. Although the good faith measure is non-binding, P&Z commissioners were enthusiastic about the prospects of alleviating some of the Stockton Hill congestion, and it's possible that negotiations will progress in advance of the public hearing before City Council on June 2.

Other than a generic "future commercial development" use, Wal-Mart did not say what specifically it plans to do with the property once it's rezoned.

The commission's recommendation for approval will be forwarded to the City Council, which has final authority over the case.

Other agenda items Tuesday:

• Applicant and owner Joe Ott received a recommendation for approval from the commission on a request for a conditional use permit to allow an indoor/outdoor swat meet on 2.37 acres at 3060 Airway Ave. between Evans and Townsend streets. The land currently is zoned C-3, commercial, service business zoning districts.

• Applicant and owner Mark W. Rice, pastor at Journey Church, received a recommendation for approval from the commission on a request for a conditional use permit to allow services on Sundays at Manzanita Elementary School on property zoned for single-family homes with 6,000-square-foot minimum lots. The 33.5-acre property is located at 2901 Detroit Ave.

• Applicant and owner Christopher Henshaw received a recommendation for approval from the commission on a rezone for nearly an acre of rural residential property to C-3, commercial service business, to allow for the development of office and warehouse rental space. The property is located on the east side of Bank Street and north of Coronado Avenue, between Kino Avenue and Gordon Drive.

• Applicants and owners Kenneth L. and Joan McKee received a recommendation for approval from the commission on a request for a rezone of 2.28 acres from recreational open space to C-3, commercial service business, possibly to allow for the development of an automotive repair shop or another business, according to city documents. The property is located on Calumet Avenue, east of Rutherford Street and west of N. Swing Street.