AP NEWS

Auction could put trust land in Havasu on development path

December 28, 2019 GMT

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (AP) — A vacant parcel of state trust land across the street from the entrance to Lake Havasu State Park is set to be put up for sale during a Feb. 12 auction, a move that could put it on a path for development in a planned resort area of the western Arizona community along the Colorado River.

The 12-acre (5-hectare) property is now zoned in an agriculture/preservation district that would allow for uses such as a cemetery, day care or a park or agricultural uses such as community gardens, a plant nursery, or a medical marijuana cultivation facility, the Today’s News-Herald reported.

However, a new owner could ask the city to rezone the property to allow development.

The property is within an area identified as “Resort Related” in the city’s general plan and it is currently the only property within that area zoned for agricultural/preservation uses.

“I would assume that whoever the successful bidder is would ask for a rezoning based on what their use would be,” Mayor Cal Sheehy said. “That zoning doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for private ownership, but you never know what somebody’s intention might be.”

The parcel is surrounded by other property already zoned for commercial uses for a wider range of businesses, including resorts.

Profits from the Arizona State Land Department’s sales of state trust land go to support the department’s beneficiaries, which is primarily public schools and higher education.

The Feb. 12 auction is scheduled to take place on the front steps of the Mohave County Courthouse with the bidding starting at the appraised value of $2,470,000.

Jim Perry, Deputy Commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department, said it is common for trust land to be put up for sale. He estimated the department sold about $200 million worth of land last year.

Perry said the department decided to sell the Lake Havasu City parcel after Lakeland Enterprises, also known as Lakeland Marine, inquired about purchasing the land.

Although Lakeland Enterprises got the process started, Perry said state trust land is only sold through auction.

“If someone else is interested in the property we would love to have them look at due diligence materials and come to the auction if they are interested,” Perry said.

Sheehy said Lake Havasu City is not considering purchasing the property, but he said he welcomes the potential for further development. The city would benefit by adding the property, once it becomes privately owned, to property tax rolls.

“Any time that we have vacant land that transition into improved parcels it gives our residents opportunities for access to services or retail uses that seem to be beneficial,” Sheehy said. “It is helpful for our citizens to have improved choice. We support and encourage anyone who is willing to invest in Lake Havasu City. Whatever is there will follow the intent of the general plan and the zoning regulations.”