Plat extensions eyed by zoners

Construction slowdown serves as impetus for proposal

KINGMAN - This evening the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission is set to discuss one of the most common sticking points among subdivision developers - the preliminary plat extension.

Specifically, commissioners will consider whether or not to recommend approving a text amendment to the city subdivision code that would extend the length of time for a plat extension to two years. The current code only allows plat extensions to go on for one year at a time, requiring developers to seek multiple extensions for large, multi-phase ongoing developments.

That situation has become more prevalent in recent years, as the current recession has forced many developers to slow the development of their properties and stop submitting new ones. In fact, while plat extensions only accounted for five of the city's 38 subdivision cases in 2006, they comprised the majority of 2008's 14 cases and every single one of 2009's seven cases thus far.

City Planner Kyle Taylor said the jump in plat extensions versus new subdivision submittals is easy to explain - nobody has any money to develop, so all the developers are sitting on what they do have and waiting for the economic situation to turn around so they can start building again. "We're not getting any new subdivisions," Taylor said. "Everybody's extending what they platted during the boom."

Developers have claimed that by increasing the length of time for plat extensions, the city would be doing everyone a favor, saving developers the $300 fee and the trouble of resubmitting an extension every single year, and saving P&Z and the City Council from having to reconsider the same extensions over and over. Councilman Ray Lyons has frequently noted at Council meetings that he cannot recall a single instance of the city failing to approve a preliminary plat extension during his time in office.

The amendment would also eliminate any requirement that the developer "demonstrate that progress toward a final plat is being made," ostensibly relieving them of the fear of having their plat expire solely due to the state of the economy.

As if to illustrate the idea behind the amendment, the Commission will also consider the year's eighth preliminary plat extension at tonight's meeting. The extension is being requested by Dunton and Dunton LLC for the Retreat at Boulder Creek, an 81-acre subdivision consisting of 242 lots located north of Hualapai Mountain Road, south of Whitehead Avenue, east of Yavapai Drive and west of Seneca Street. According to staff's report, no progress toward a final plat has been made on the subdivision since the plat was first approved in November 2006.

Following the above items, the Commission will also consider its recommendation to replace Todd Tarson, who resigned his seat on the commission last month. Commissioners have a list of 16 applicants from the past two years to choose from. They are: Michael Dellar, Bill Delmar, Daniel Del Monaco, Gwen Gillman, Bill Goodale, Amanda Kaufman, Scott Kern, Vance Miller, Lynn Petersen, Harley Pettit, Judith Porter, Alesandra Reynolds, Craig Schritter and Debra Sixta.

Tonight's meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 310 N. Fourth St. For full agenda details, visit www.cityofkingman.gov and look under "Agendas & Minutes."