UNS fuel tank on agenda

Discussion on annexation also planned

KINGMAN - The discussion could get explosive Monday evening when the Kingman City Council considers whether or not to allow a large above-ground fuel tank just a few hundred feet away from a local school.

UNS Electric is requesting Council amend the city zoning ordinance to allow it to build a 12,000-gallon above-ground storage tank at its operations center on the corner of Airway Avenue and Harrison Street. The tank would be used to store fuel for UNS's vehicle fleet, with access limited only to trained personnel. No individual vehicles would be fueled by the tank; it would instead be used to fill mobile fueling trucks, which would in turn fuel the UNS fleet.

The UNS building is located in a C-3:

Commercial, Service Business zone. Currently, above-ground fuel storage tanks can only be built in industrial zones, and only with a conditional use permit for light industrial. UNS is requesting Council amend the ordinance to allow such above-ground storage tanks in the C-3 zoning district with a conditional use permit.

At issue is the fact that the tank site is just a few hundred feet away from the several Kingman Academy of Learning buildings, however, KAOL District Administrator Susan Chan has told the city she has no objection to the project.

"We feel assured UniSource Energy Services will exercise all safety precautions during the construction and use of this storage facility," Chan wrote in a letter dated March 2.

Concern voiced

But the project has concerned at least one city resident. In an e-mail dated Feb. 9, Kingman resident Steve Peats claimed that, as an ex-state weights and measures employee, he believed the explosive potential of a tank such as the one UNS wants could be equivalent to "960,000 sticks of dynamite." Peats also claimed that the Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended approval of the amendment by a 5-2 vote, had "no idea what they're talking about."

However, another letter from Kingman Fire Chief Chuck Ostermann maintains that UNS's proposed tank meets all the compliance standards of the city fire code, and city staff have recommended approval of the ordinance.

Elsewhere on the agenda, Council is expected to enter into an executive session to discuss the purchase of land around the Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant in order to secure a 1,000-foot "buffer zone" around the facility that is required to secure various permits for it. According to staff reports, the city has been in negotiations with a landowner to acquire the property it needs.

Council is also expected to hold a special session prior to the regular meeting to discuss possible future annexation opportunities for the city. Aggressive annexation has been one of the main focuses of Councilman Ray Lyons, who is currently running for re-election, though Councilman Keith Walker and others have also expressed an interest in expanding the city's borders, especially in advance of the Rancho Santa Fe traffic interchange project slated for the city's east side.

The special session on annexation will begin at 5 p.m., with the regular meeting to follow at 6. Both meetings will take place in the Council Chambers at 310 N. Fourth St. For full agenda details, visit www.cityofkingman.gov and click on "Agendas, Minutes and Video."