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2:28 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Walnut Creek residents feel deceived by Scot Industries

Lia Mitchell points to construction of Scot Industries’ new plant in Golden Valley from her backyard on Rancho Road. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

Lia Mitchell points to construction of Scot Industries’ new plant in Golden Valley from her backyard on Rancho Road. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

GOLDEN VALLEY – Lia Mitchell’s view of the mountains and desert landscape from her home on Rancho Road is now impeded by a 60-foot steel structure being built by Scot Industries, an industrial encroachment that’s got her nose a little bent.

During a “tailgate” meeting with Scot Industries last year, residents of Walnut Creek Estates were told the building would be located in a dip that would reveal no more than about 18 feet of its height, Mitchell said.

She and her significant other rode to the construction site about a month ago and spoke to a supervisor who told them the building would be 60 feet on the side near their home, and 30 feet for the rest of the plant.

So much for her prized views to the south.

“Before they had a meeting to approve this building, we got signatures from people who didn’t want this in our backyard,” Mitchell said in a phone interview Tuesday. “There’s a lot of industrial space all around us. We moved out here to get away from this industrial crap.”

Plant expansion

Scot Industries, manufacturer of specialty bars and tube products, is relocating from its 50,000-square-foot plant at Kingman Airport and Industrial Park to an area of Golden Valley off Interstate 40 at Shinarump Drive, building a new 80,000-square-foot plant on 10 of the 267 acres purchased from local businessman Scott Dunton.

Steven Wilmeth, president of Lone Star, Texas-based Scot Industries, said there’s no room for expansion at the airport plant. Golden Valley is closer to I-40 and California, which is the primary market for Scot’s products. He’s investing $10 million to $12 million in the plant.

Scot Industries typically builds in the middle of a large industrial site that’s environmentally sound with room to expand in the future, he said.

“The biggest reason for our move from the airport park was my desire to have our plant on a large tract of land,” Wilmeth said in an email to the Daily Miner. “The properties our plants are on range from 500 acres on down. Once again, we have never sold any of the land around our plants. This came up at the original hearing.”

The building is progressing exactly as planned, he added. The automatic storage retrieval section of the building is 65 feet tall, and no design changes have been made.

“The building elevation has not changed,” Wilmeth said. “The property for the building is not perfectly level. It is pretty good, but not perfect. One corner was high, another low. As a result, one part was lowered and another filled.”

Wilmeth has been told that the building’s finished floor elevation will be about 50 feet lower than the elevation at Rancho Road and Oatman Highway. Depending on the direction of the view, the building is only 16 feet above level from that corner, he said.

The actual distance to the nearest house from the building is 1,377 feet, as surveyed from a map of the property, Wilmeth added.

“So when I look at it, I think we have done things just right for Scot, for the future and for the community,” he said.

Broken promise

Mitchell is not the only resident complaining about Scot’s new plant.

Jim Consolato, who lives on Malibu Road near the development, said Scot Industries has not kept its word from the meeting with residents, although that would be hearsay since the meeting was never recorded.

“The damage to the living desert and the natural views is already a done deal,” Consolato said. “The building now looks bigger than originally reported. They kept the neighborhood awake for days with cement trucks rumbling down Rancho, contrary to the promise of using an Oatman (Highway) entrance.”

Residents bought into Walnut Creek Estates based on the area’s serenity and broad expanses, but are now waiting in “anxious trepidation and in disappointment as we watch the continued rape of the natural landscape,” Consolato said.

“There is absolutely nothing good or positive in this project for the people of Walnut Creek Estates and it is highly unlikely there ever will be. In general, people do not trust Scot Industries and fail to have faith in anything they have said or promised, especially about being a good neighbor.”

Walk away

Mitchell is hearing rumblings from a lot of residents who plan to clear out of Walnut Creek Estates once the plant construction is finished, and as soon as their daughter leaves home, they’re selling too.

“Why did they not build on the far end where there’s nobody living?” she asked.

Adding to her disappointment, Mitchell has been notified by Mohave County Assessor’s Office that her assessed limited property value is $13,500, an increase of $677. That would raise her taxes by about $70. Other Walnut Creek Estates owners are seeing only slight changes in their taxes, with some staying the same, she said.

Mitchell could appeal the assessed value, but there are no sales of stick-built homes for comparison as required by the assessor.

“I have a feeling … we will simply have to walk away, as I really doubt our home will go up in value with all the surrounding heavy industrial going in and land being rezoned to heavy industrial,” she said.

Editor's Note: This story was changed to reflect the increase of assessed property value and taxes.