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Tue, Aug. 20

BMX proponents' zoning plea OK'd

KINGMAN - While water and wastewater rate hikes topped the City Council's agenda Tuesday, there were a number of other agenda items worthy of note.

Proponents of a BMX bike track at the Mohave County Fairgrounds were handed a victory when the Council voted to allow such tracks to be constructed in any recreational open space zone under a conditional use permit. Prior to the vote, BMX tracks were only allowed under permit in the C-3, I-1 and I-2 zoning districts.

Jim Kloepfer of High Desert BMX explained his intent to build such a track at the fairgrounds to hold weekly races 10 months out of the year, with additional practice nights during the week. He added that a BMX track would bring in competitors from neighboring cities and even other states, providing local youth with one more activity and providing the city with a new source of income from the influx of visitors.

Speaking as a neighbor of the fairgrounds, Vice Mayor Robin Gordon said she was excited at the possibilities such a track could offer Kingman.

"One of the biggest things I hear is that there's nothing for kids to do, and this certainly does address that," she said.

She added that, by putting in a conditional use permit requirement, both Council and nearby neighbors would have some say in the future should other BMX tracks be sought in some of the city's other open space areas. Councilwoman Erin Cochran made the motion for approval, with Janet Watson seconding. The motion passed 6-0, with Carole Young absent from Tuesday's meeting.

Council also voted to approve the establishment of a new youth advisory commission, an initiative that had been one of the cornerstones of Cochran's election campaign.

The Youth Commission ordinance, co-authored by Cochran and Watson, draws heavily on a similar ordinance adopted by Bullhead City, with several additions and adjustments. The ordinance calls for a commission of seven members, each currently enrolled in either public, private, charter or home schools between grades 9 and 12, with a maximum age limit of 18. As with other commissions, interested parties would be expected to fill out an application through the City Clerk's office, which would then be reviewed by the mayor, who will make individual recommendations to the full Council for consideration.

Terms would be limited to one year apiece, except for the initial seven commission members, who will serve 18-month terms. Seats will also be reserved on the commission for the elected student body presidents of each area high school.

As with other commissions, the Youth Advisory Commission would be able to make recommendations to Council regarding youth issues, and commissioners will be expected to name a chair and vice chair, with accompanying staff liaisons and a recording secretary. Because this particular commission is meant to encourage youth participation in local government, the ordinance also has a stipulation requiring commission members to attend at least five City Council or other commission meetings each year.

Cochran's colleagues on Council commended her for her hard work in shaping the ordinance and getting it before Council in fairly short order. Mayor John Salem did offer one caveat, however, requesting that Council include another stipulation requiring any Youth Advisory Commission member to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average to remain on the commission.

Cochran agreed to include the GPA requirement and made a motion to pass the ordinance, with Keith Walker seconding. The vote passed 6-0.

Cochran noted that while only seven youths will actually make it onto the commission, she urged all Kingman's young people to attend the commission's meetings and to get involved in any way that they can.

"I really hope every single one of the people who apply, who are thinking about coming, show up and come to the meetings, interact, talk at their Call to the Public," she said. "I think it's really important that, even though we only have seven people on the commission, that everyone's involved, because the more voices we have from our youth, the more this is going to be a better commission."

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