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ASU Havasu campus will grow with downtown

January 29, 2018 GMT

Robert McCulloch had a grand plan for Lake Havasu City, but those designs don’t always square with the cohesiveness of modern planning and zoning standards. The town has always been a mishmash of neighborhood businesses and homes.

The Daytona school site was a quiet campus, isolated from the bustling business district not so far away.

As it shifted to an Arizona State University campus in 2012, the campus’s relationship to the downtown corridor also changed.

“The site is tucked away on Swanson Avenue and other than the teachers and parents it wasn’t designed to have a lot of vehicle traffic other than buses,” said Stuart Schmeling, Lake Havasu City’s zoning administrator. “When ASU was interested in leasing the property there was a lot of discussion on how the site would be utilized differently from a land use perspective.”

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Havasu officials knew that college students were going to have different travel patterns, different means of transportation and a vast difference in how it visited downtown. When it was a middle school, district officials didn’t encourage students to leave campus, visit the downtown or blend into the retail mix.

“Oddly enough when it was a LHUSD property, Lake Havasu wasn’t a city so there wasn’t a government in place. What McCulloch did was a lot of deed restrictions,” Schmeling said. “Although Daytona was designated as a school site, along with all the other schools here, it carried with it … a residential zoning code, because they were in the middle of residential neighborhoods.”

To this day, 75 percent of Havasu’s neighborhoods are zoned R1, single family homes.

City officials hope that in 10-20 years, the downtown corridor between Mesquite Avenue, McCulloch Boulevard and Swanson Avenue from Acoma Boulevard to the Island — along with the ASU campus — experiences growth.

They would like to see a vibrant downtown with buildings reaching 60 feet into the sky, high-density family living adjacent and suburbs farther out, Schmeling said. At one end of the downtown corridor’s eastern-most point is the campus of Arizona State University and a crucial role it can play in economic development.

“In 20 years, downtown will look different, only because I can’t imagine that ASU’s student population isn’t going to grow,” Schmeling said. “Even if it only grows by another 100 students or ends up being a small satellite campus there is the feeling that they are going to need new buildings someday.”