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Lake Havasu Unified School District moves forward with land swap

December 22, 2018

The Lake Havasu Unified School District took another step forward on a land swap proposal.

But it’s still not a done deal.

The district’s governing board unanimously agreed with a recommendation to approve the exchange at its Tuesday meeting. However, there are several details pertaining to a memorandum of understanding that must be ironed out before signing on the dotted line.

It was presented to the board by the district’s Business Services Director Michael Murray.

The district owns a slender lot that sits in the midst of a proposed housing project. Developer Mayer Akntarzad owns neighboring lots and needs the district’s property for his housing project. Akntarzad wants to swap a like-sized lot he owns nearby for the district’s property.

At five stories tall, the proposed complex would have 18 units per floor, for a total of 90. The building would be carved into studios, one- and two-bedroom units. School officials would like to create a bonus arrangement with developer Akntarzad that would provide housing options for district teachers.

By attaching a memorandum of understanding to the land swap, a portion of the proposed housing units would be reserved for new teachers moving to Havasu to be employed by the school district.

Specifically, the district is asking for a 15 percent discount on rents for its teacher tenants.

“Mr. Mayer would set aside a certain number of units. The cap would be $150,000 and then if units are not available, it would then be 15 percent of the then-current annual rent for a two-bedroom (unit) that would come back to the district to offset that loss of available property,” said John Masden, president of the school board. “I think we’ve got a meeting of the minds here.”

The property in question is a skinny swath of vacant land on upper Swanson Avenue. The lot was a gift to the district in 2016 from Robert and Judith Bennett. It is 35-feet wide and 241-feet deep. By itself, the land would be a great place for a 10-lane wide bowling alley, but little else. It sits almost directly across the street from the Hidden Palms housing complex.

The district’s legal counsel has been helping the board refine the terms of the memorandum and other details. For example, the exchange would occur after an appraisal, for which Akntarzad will be responsible.

The board expects a response about the memorandum from Akntarzad within four weeks. It was not clear if the item would be placed on the board’s agenda for its Jan. 15 meeting.

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