Board OKs changes to encourage alternative energy

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors approved three amendments to county planning and zoning ordinances and policies to speed up the application process for alternative energy projects during its meeting Monday.

Most alternative energy projects, such as the solar plant proposed for the Red Lake area, are very large and require a major amendment to the County General Plan, Supervisor Buster Johnson explained at the meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors only hear major amendments to the General Plan once a year in December.

This means that any one wanting to build such massive projects must apply for amendments and zoning changes and gather funding well in advance of the Board hearing the request, he said.

If a company misses the deadline to apply for a major amendment, it must wait nearly a year and a half before its proposal will be heard, Johnson said. Many of these companies are getting funding from federal and state grants. In certain cases the companies must prove that the project is moving forward at a steady pace or risk losing that funding.

The changes approved by the Board Monday will allow alternative energy companies to apply for a minor amendment instead of a major amendment for their projects.

This will cut down on the amount of time a company has to spend waiting for the Board and the commission to hear its proposed project, Johnson said. And it will encourage the growth of more alternative energy projects in Mohave County, he said.

Resident Mark Schaffer asked the Board to consider continuing the items until its next agenda.

U.S. Highway 93 Area Plan Committee is close to finishing its plan and wanted more information about how the changes would effect its plan, he said.

Susan Bayer asked the Board to consider adding something that would require alternative energy projects to be completely green and not use ground water.

County Manager Ron Walker warned the Board that the discussion should be limited to the process of approving the projects not what projects should be approved.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved a zoning use permit for a swap meet at Highway 68 and Marana Road in Golden Valley.

• Approved a commercial dog kennel, limited to eight dogs, at Crystal Drive and Hunt Road in Golden Valley.

• Approved a solar-generating plant east of Interstate 40 and north of Boriana Mine Road in Yucca.

• Approved a professional business plaza east of Interstate 40 and south of Proving Grounds Road near Yucca.

• Awarded a contract for $1.6 million to Summit Builders of Phoenix for the remodeling of the Negus Building for the Probation Department.