The Lake Havasu City Council approved a revised request to rezone property along State Route 95 at the northernmost city limits. The revised rezone specifically bars storage units from all of the highly-visible lots that immediately border the highway — which was the main sticking point when the initial request was considered back in April.
A total of six lots located immediately east of SR-95, between London Bridge Road and The Shops at Lake Havasu, were officially rezoned in two separate public hearings during the City Council meeting Tuesday. Both rezone requests were approved unanimously by the council.
Previously, all six lots were included in a single rezone request that was considered by the council in April, but failed without a formal vote after none of the council members made a motion. At that time, multiple council members expressed concern that the largest two lots requesting a rezone would be allowed to build storage units on them, and both those properties bordered the highway.
Developer Desert Land Group worked with the property owners to revise the request, making it more palatable to the council before bringing it back for approval on Tuesday. The newly approved zoning splits the large lot owned by Lakeside Development, and a portion of the neighboring large lot owned by Jason and Christine Anderson into two pieces. The new configuration includes a one acre lot along the highway that is zoned for general commercial use, with a planned development that specifically bars storage units on the property. That property is meant to provide a buffer between the highway and the rest of the 4.21 acre lot farther away from SR-95. That lot was rezoned as a General Commercial – Planned Development, which allows for Lakeside Development’s plan to build a storage unit facility on it. The majority of the lot owned by the Andersons will retain its original zoning.
As part of the rezone, Desert Land Group CEO Mychal Gorden told the council that the owners have agreed to add a stipulation within the zoning that will require the buffer lot along the highway be developed with landscaping, parking, and the two commercial buildings included in the development plan prior to, or at the same time as, the storage unit facility behind it.
Mayor Cal Sheehy thanked Desert Land Group and the owners for their efforts in reworking the request to match the wishes of the council expressed at the April meeting. He said the buffer lot, and the requirement that it be developed in a timely manner, adequately address the concerns brought up by council in the spring.
Council member David Lane said that he was originally against the project, but that this proposal has allayed his fears concerning the storage units.
Although the original rezone request in April was not approved by the council, multiple council members noted that they had no objection to the part of the proposal that would have rezoned four smaller lots that line SR-95 immediately south of London Bridge Road. Those properties were split off into their own separate request for a rezone this time around, but otherwise the request was unchanged from the original proposal. Those lots were rezoned into a new General Commercial – Planned Development that allows all general commercial uses on the lots except for storage units.
Council members unanimously approved the rezone request for those four lots as well.
Gorden said that by removing the current planned development, potential buyers are no longer required to follow the footprint outlined in the previous development plan. He said that will provide more flexibility for how buildings and parking can be arraigned on the lots, which should help attract more interest from businesses.
All of the lots along Showplace Avenue between London Bridge Road and The Shops at Lake Havasu were included in a planned development in 2007 known as the Havasu Auto Mall. At the time, the plan was to have multiple car dealerships and several related businesses located at Havasu’s north entrance.
The two properties closest to The Shops were filled with the Anderson Toyota dealership, a Chevron gas station, and McDonalds. But the rest of the complex remained vacant for a decade.
In 2017 the City Council approved a request to rezone the three lots on the far northwest portion of the planned auto-mall. Since then, all of the lots that were rezoned in 2017 have either built, or are in the process of building storage units on them.
Lane, who was on the council that approved the 2017 rezone, noted that at the time the applicant had promised that the storage facilities would be visually interesting, and look more like a series of “man caves” than typical storage. But the plans have since changed and the storage units that ended up going on those lots look more or less like any other storage facility in town. He said the additional requirements within the planned developments approved on Tuesday should keep that from happening again.