2022-06-15 13:18:10 By : Mr. wei wang

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A request to rezone property south of The Shops at Lake Havasu for a proposed manufactured housing development kicked off an in depth discussion among City Councilmembers about options the council has to ensure the neighborhood ends up being occupied by full time residents.

During its meeting Tuesday, the council held a public hearing to discuss a request by property owner Yenomom Havasu to rezone 17.91 acres located at 40 Retail Centre Blvd. – immediately south of The Shops and west of Home Depot – from general commercial to a manufactured home district. The California-based company plans to build a gated community with about 150 two and three bedroom manufactured homes with large garages on the property. Ultimately, a split City Council voted 4-2 to approve the rezone request and allow Yenomom Havasu to move forward with the development.

Councilmembers David Lane and Cameron Moses cast the dissenting votes, citing concerns that the development would turn into a neighborhood of second homes and vacation rental properties.

Chris Stark, with Yenomom Havasu, told the council that the price range is expected to be in the high $200,000s to low $300,000s to purchase the home and garage. Stark said the buyer would then rent the land that the home sits upon from Yenomom. With the property rezoned, Yenomom can now start applying for permits and going through design review with the city. Stark said if everything goes according to plan the first homes will start to show up in the neighborhood early next year.

“We are hoping to start setting the first units in January of 2023, so we could potentially have our first sales in February or March,” Stark said. “They are prefab, so it goes pretty fast. It isn’t a stick build that takes three to six months.”

Stark said he has been promised by the manufactured home vendor that it will be able to provide up to 10 homes each month.

Lane said these types of developments are a good way for people to get into their first home, but said he has concerns about approving the rezone request without further assurances that the homes will actually be occupied for the majority of the year.

When the proposed development at 40 Retail Centre Blvd. first came to council in February with a request to change the future land use designation from “employment” to “high density residential,” Lane had suggested the owners look into including occupancy requirements in the future homeowners association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions – commonly referred to as CC&Rs. Lane asked Stark if his request from February has been included in the plans.

“We haven’t explored that any further than our last conversation,” Stark said. “Once it’s approved, that would be something I would have to discuss with my attorney on how we are going to proceed forward with that. Obviously we want this to be attainable to the City of Lake Havasu.”

But Lane said he wanted to see the CC&Rs put in place before it came back to council for a rezone.

“If we approve it tonight and you don’t put the CC&Rs in place we lose this piece of property in our opportunity zone where somebody could come in and build workforce housing for our people here in Lake Havasu,” Lane said.

Councilmember Jim Dolan said the development looks like a good idea, and it seems to be a good location for the development. But he says he has doubts about whether or not the manufactured housing development would help to solve Havasu’s housing problems.

“The concern I have is affordable housing. I’ve said it before, I think it is kind of a myth,” Dolan said. “Anything put on the market that can be purchased, people from out of town are going to buy it. There is nothing we can put on the books that says you can’t buy a second home in Lake Havasu and we also can’t discriminate on who can rent or who can buy. My opinion is if it is a rental, someone is not going to want to buy a one-year lease for a vacation rental – it is going to go to people in the community that need to live. So for me, the big thing I’m looking for is rental properties.”

Councilmember Nancy Campbell said she felt any attempts to dictate what the developers include in their CC&Rs would be government overreach, and would be nearly impossible for the city to actually enforce.

“I understand where you are coming from, but it is more about property rights,” Campbell said to Lane. “I believe it is either zoned this way or it’s not zoned this way, then it is up to the property owner to make it work.”

Dolan agreed that having the city dive into the CC&Rs of a development would be a “big step” that he wouldn’t necessarily support.

“The local government does not regulate CC&Rs,” he said. “That is a private issue. If they want to do a CC&R we don’t enforce it and we have no jurisdiction over that.”

Moses said he shared Lane’s disappointment that the council hasn’t been able to see more of a business plan with CC&Rs worked out. He said the project does have some promise if done right, but it could also turn easily turn into a headache for the city.

“In my mind, this could end up one of two ways,” Moses said. “It could become like Los Lagos which provides a great long term rental properties, or it could end up like the Islander. If it doesn’t have a guard shack and it doesn’t have its own security it could turn into a giant Vrbo community that the city is now responsible for… I just feel like this is going to be a giant Vrbo community that is going to tax our police and fire departments without actually giving benefit to our community.”

Stark said the development will be gated with security cameras, and residents will have a code to enter the community via a keypad, but there are not currently plans to hire private security for the neighborhood.

“We don’t have a problem with doing a 6-month CC&R on this project if that is what is going to push this through,” Stark said. “It is about making this city better, it’s not just about the developer. Obviously I’m here to make money, but I’m also here to better the city as well. My option initially was to do 300 storage units, but I looked at the business plan and it just made more sense to me to go the residential route with bigger garages.”

When asked what options the city has in terms of requirements for a CC&R with this rezone request, City Attorney Kelly Garry said such agreements generally fall outside of the city’s purview.

“They are private CC&Rs and they can be amended at any time by whatever mechanisms they are created – we really don’t have any control over them,” Garry said. “If we want to put conditions on this property in some way, shape or fashion – and I don’t know that we could as far as restricting lease times – we would have to go through a planned development.”

Garry went on to say that even if such a requirement were placed into a planned development, it would likely be difficult to enforce.

“I don’t know what mechanism we could put in that would be enforceable under law that requires somebody to rent property for six month or six months and a day, unless we own the property and we control it in that way,” she said. “I don’t know by what mechanism we can require another owner to do that by. We can absolutely encourage them to do CC&Rs. We can tell them what we are looking for and those that are interested in doing that in our community will do that and follow through.”

Mayor Cal Sheehy said he felt the residential development would benefit the city for the simple fact that housing is getting harder to come by, and more expensive, throughout town.

“From my perspective, increasing inventory and the diversity of housing is going to help with the supply and demand of our housing need – and we do have a housing need,” Sheehy said. “I look at it from that perspective. I certainly agree with some of my colleagues on the council that we would have the ability to ensure it is going to go to folks that are here, but fair housing laws and the like don’t allow that.”

Campbell agreed that housing is one of Havasu’s biggest challenges and said based on her recent conversations with State Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City) and officials from Mohave County the answer to finding housing for Havasu’s workforce may lay outside of the city limits. But increasing inventory within the city will help in the meantime.

“We may have to be looking at a situation of, ‘travel until it’s affordable’ from 15 or 20 minutes outside of town,“ Campbell said. “I’ve heard there are some great developments in Topock that aren’t very far. … Right now we have a housing issue in Lake Havasu City. So these developers that have their hands in the permit process, I would like to see them move along.”

Prior to making a motion to approve the rezone request, Dolan said its nearly impossible to say how the development will turn out. But he said the property on Retail Boulevard appears to be as good of a place as any in town to give it a try.

“We don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know how this is going to play out,” Dolan said. “We keep using the word affordable, but maybe the word here is attainable. This is in a lower price range from what is out there and it might be attainable for some people to get into some housing… I like the idea on paper, but I don’t know how it is going to work out. It is in an area where this is kind of where it should go, in my opinion.”

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With no railroad, interstate, and airport runways long enough for the big jets, light industrial will never work here.

Why not rezone for a townhome complex with, some community facilities, playgrounds, maybe a pool, actual property rights? That's something workforce can achieve, participate in the appreciation of, and leverage to a future home.

Affordable housing my A$$,California homes!

When the developer is called MOMONEY, does anyone think they care about what's best for the community?

Probably not, but you'd think the City Council would. Got my voting pen all ready for this election!

I could not be more disappointed in our City Council. My thanks to Lane and Moses for putting up a fight, on this issue, you were right. In the Councils zeal to create housing, they seemed to have overlooked the long-term concerns. Housing "right now", is not always housing that lasts. Nancy Campbell ran on "affordable" housing, but fell into a Mobile home park, where the houses will sell between "the high 200's and 300's", the question is who in their right mind would pay that price for a home on rented land? A mobile home will never hold its value, never has. One only needs to ask those that live in a Las Vegas mobile home park that are having to move, because after decades, the land has been rezoned. They can also look to Phoenix, where hundreds of families are being forced to move because the owner sold the land out from under them. There is a 100% guarantee that these will be weekenders, this is the type of housing that will suit them perfect. Like I said, could not be more disappointed in the City councils shortsightedness, and narrow vision. Just remember if you don't own the land, you really don't own anything.

Middle: 👏👏 There will be no affordable housing here because the city caters to snowbirds and seasonal visitors over year round citizens.

MOTR. [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] All the rhetoric regarding "affordable" housing now becomes "attainable" housing! The only thing that appreciates here is the land which is rented/leased to the homeowner. Some say this is not considered real estate or real property. This prefab industry comes with building errors, improper installations, unreasonable expectations and poor after sale service.

It has become nothing more than a weekend bedroom community. It's really sad. If any of you remember 2008, hundreds of houses went into foreclosure. Well, all the indicators are there, we could be hit again, since it is the only industry, we cater to. If you took away seasonal and weekend travel, wonder how many businesses would fold? Just a question.

Hi Middle of The Road:

You are totally correct. I have been promoting light manufacturing and industrial development for about 15 years and WE DON'T. Well there are lots of reasons but for the "Good Old Boy Community" the message seems to be just leave it alone everything is fine.

But it is not and like you I believe we are headed for another adjustment of home valuations like we had during the 2007/2008 recession which is a perfect example and history has a way of repeat itself. With the solar boom happening in America and Arizona having the best solar resources in the entire United States it seems strange to me that more light industrial businesses haven't at least shown interest in our community. It might be we just aren't selling what we have to offer or the powers in charge don't want the labor market competition. In any case your remarks are right on target.

Rick, what there won't be is neighborhood families, and neighborhoods to raise families. The last thing you want is 5 party houses on your street while you're trying to raise your kids. Lots and lots of people are leaving, and leaving the hotel scene behind.

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