Mohave County: More oversight of agricultural land needed?

KINGMAN - Mohave County supervisors will look at policies and ordinances that provide exemptions to regulating agricultural land use at today's regular board meeting.

The board meets at 9:30 a.m. at the County Administrative Building, 700 W. Beale St. The board normally meets on the first and third Monday of the month, but this Monday was Martin Luther King Day.

The item, brought forth by Supervisor Hildy Angius, was continued from the board's Nov. 16 meeting.

Supervisors directed Development Services to research policies used by other Arizona counties for regulating agricultural land use.

Arizona law states that nothing in county ordinances "shall prevent, restrict or otherwise regulate" land use or improvements for agricultural purposes if the land is 5 or more contiguous acres.

Mohave County has a policy to recognize agricultural exemptions in which the property owner fills out an affidavit, and if the land is deemed agricultural, it becomes exempt from county regulations.

The exemption has been interpreted to include land use and building codes.

"I swear I have chickens and goats," Angius said at the Nov. 16 meeting. "Okay, we'll take your word for it. What happens when you have ag-exempt land is you can build on the property without permits. I think there should be another level of oversight, the assessor or whatever."

Supervisors are considering bringing Mohave County's agricultural exemptions in line with other counties by requiring an agricultural classification from the Assessor's Office as a prerequisite for the exemption.

Other items on the board's agenda:

• A resolution establishing a 2.4-mile section of Calle Lucero from Stockton Hill Road to Avenida Obregon to be accepted into the the county's road maintenance system only to the degree of improvement as a gravel road in the north Kingman area.

• Authorize the Economic Development Department to actively market vacant county properties, and in case of specific interest, bring prospective offers back to the board for consideration.

• Ratification of new Oatman Fire District board members James Tobin and John Schnetter, and accept the resignation of Bonnie Nowak as temporary administrator for the board.

• Status report, including billing, on the written opinion from Jeffrey Bernick of Jackson Lewis law firm to review legal parameters of the board's authority to make changes to employee leave policies.

• Direct staff to prepare and bring back a resolution calling for the BLM to reduce the burro population to less than 817 in the next year, or the county will seek legislation authorizing state agencies to issue hunting permits to bring the burro population within acceptable and safe limits, or pursue litigation to compel the BLM to comply with the burro management plan.