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Mon, Nov. 18

Wal-Mart pays for county land

A showdown between Wal-Mart and the Mohave County Board of Supervisors netted the county $582,500 Tuesday.

The supervisors refused Wal-Mart's request for additional time to pay for property to build a superstore that has encountered zoning problems in the city of Kingman.

Pay for the property today, or loose it, a real estate representative for the company was told.

Wal-Mart paid the money into an escrow account by 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Deputy County Attorney John White said.

"We will be putting the deed together tomorrow," White said at 4:55 p.m.

Wal-Mart successfully bid $652,500 for the 11.5 acres during a county auction May 5 and paid a $70,000 non-refundable earnest deposit.

The company needed the land to go with three commercially zoned adjacent parcels it has an option to buy for a 25-acre store site.

But rezoning the 11.5 acres from open space to commercial was denied by Kingman last month.

"The issues are zoning, but they are not county issues," County Manager Ron Walker said as he led a discussion before the vote.

Walker also said that because of the delay the county would incur an additional $11,100 in taxes.

Wal-Mart representative Doug Baker, of B.D.

Baker Co., a commercial real estate company, responded by saying that Wal-Mart would pay the additional taxes whether or not the extension was granted, and would pay an additional 10 percent to "express appreciation" for an extension.

"We are prepared to pay the purchase price at the end of September.

...

If you can give me until Oct.

5 my life would be perfect," Baker said.

The property was sold with no contingencies, but the county granted two extensions to allow Wal-Mart time to get rezoning approval from the city.

The property was to have closed escrow Aug.

4.

After the due date expired, Wal-Mart asked District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers to place the item - a request for another extension - on the supervisors' agenda.

During the meeting Tuesday, District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said Wal-Mart has had more than enough time to pay up.

"August 4 came and went," Johnson said.

"I am not in favor of giving them any kind of extension."

Speakers at the meeting also objected to another extension.

"This board has been very demanding in the past," speaker John Collins said.

After the meeting, County Attorney Bill Ekstrom said Wal-Mart has already spent a month "moving dirt" and developing the property, which is between Stockton Hill Road and Mohave Wash and Airway Avenue and Beverly Avenue north of the current Wal-Mart.

Byers said the company has done extensive planning and engineering work in preparation for building a superstore at that location.

Smith's Food and Drug protested the Wal-Mart rezoning after the matter was considered by the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission.

Smith's is the only private landowner that could have filed a protest over a common boundary to the 11.5 acres.

Three other adjoining private parcels are those Wal-Mart has an option to buy.

Wal-Mart failed to obtain rezoning for the 11.5 acres when two Kingman City Council members voted against the request, citing concerns for traffic and lost jobs in competing grocery stores.

The council vote was 5-2 in favor of Wal-Mart, but approval by at least a 6-1 vote was needed because a protest had been filed.

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