I am getting really irritated at the continual name calling going on in our little town by the “pro-growth” contingent. I started to post on a topix forum that was merrily posting their “nimby, nimby,nimby” chant, but decided my own personal AOL troll stalker would have a field day with my opinion.
So I decided to post on this blog that I’ve pretty much ignored for that last year. Trying to have a conversation about anything is hopeless in this town. If you have an opinion that doesn’t fit in with the pro-growth opinion, all they know how to do is attack and call names. So without further ado….
The “pro-growth of any kind” advocates in Kingman would have more of a leg to stand on if all the industrial development they are so gung ho for was actually in the Kingman city limits instead of the rural areas they are telling people to move to if they don’t want rampant growth just for the sake of growth.
Maybe they could get together and build a biodiesel plant on Hualapai or maybe on the vacant 160 acres or on the vacant land by the new hospital or the vacant land by granite bluffs. Put a solar plant in the middle of Lazy-Y-U, lots of vacant acreage there. (I know it’s not in the city limits, but it’s close.)
Does everyone realize by now that buying anything in this county, and the Kingman/Golden Valley area in particular, is not safe if it backs up to or is close to vacant land? It doesn’t matter where it is. If not, you must have lived under a rock for the last few years. Unless of course you are a speculator and then you live for these random zoning changes. But buying a “home” is gambling at best.
Rancho Santa Fe has a pending freeway off ramp and commercial, one on each end. Vista Bella has a pending freeway off ramp and commercial. Houses that will back up to this are sitting on the market a long time and if they sell, they sell at a steep discount to houses further into the subdivision. Golden Valley has a pending mega subdivision with 2500 square foot lots shoehorned into the middle of their rural lifestyle. Clacks Canyon has a proposed freeway. And of course Valle Vista has the proposed biodiesel plant and two other rural communities have proposed solar plants.
I’m sure there are more examples but the point is that no one is safe, no matter what the current zoning or master plan says you are zoned for. Due diligence doesn’t work because zoning has become a moving target. Today Valle Vista residents are called “selfish nimby’s”, tomorrow it could be you. Just don’t expect any sympathy from the current “selfish nimby” groups.
The proposed prison that was denied (which by the way would have provided 10 times the permanent jobs all the current proposals would), was in Dolan Springs. The realtors and developers were against it right along with Dolan Springs. But only because they thought it would devalue their “investments”. They couldn’t care less about the jobs. No one chanted “nimby,nimby,nimby” every time they objected, but now that same group is doing that to the people that are objecting to the current proposals.
Try being honest here. Most of the people chanting pro-growth are either realtors, developers and/or speculators. They are for the thousands of TEMPORARY construction jobs, not the handful of permanent jobs that may or may not come to pass. They will benefit from this and of course so will some of the currently unemployed construction workers in this town. But it’s a temporary solution for those workers at best.
Since we don’t have enough local unemployed construction workers, the companies will no doubt bring in workers from out of the area, if not from out of the country. (They’ll probably do that any way, but we’ll ignore that for now.) The temporary construction workers will have to either stay in motels or rent houses or apartments. That will help the speculators who are stuck with empty houses (and the townhouses of the biggest proponent of growth) that they currently can’t sell or rent. When those rentals run short, they can build more and sell them to more investors to rent to the transient workers. Maybe some of those pesky voting seniors can sell their homes to the investors and get the heck out of Dodge. Workers who are working a temporary job are probably not going to buy houses.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Isn’t that how we got where we are right now? Building hundreds of houses for new residents who forgot to come. Many of the ones who did buy never had any intention of moving here, just flipping and making money or if that failed walking away. We have 3 and 4 year old houses that have never even had renters, let alone been occupied by the buyer.
Yes people need jobs, and temporary jobs are better than nothing. But most people want to live in a town occupied by a larger percentage of permanent residents, not transient residents. When the projects are completed and all the temporary jobs end, we’ll be in worse shape than now. Not only will the transient residents leave and probably leave more empty rental houses than before, (because we will no doubt build more to sell to investors to rent to them) but we will have lost permanent residents. Then what? Another wave of foreclosures when the new “investors” walk away?
Of course those who spout “nimby” and anti-senior, anti-retiree rhetoric all around the internet, will probably be delighted. You will get what you wished for, less retirees, less seniors. You want to turn a town that people moved to, like it or not, because they wanted a small, rural, inexpensive, friendly town into a place just like they are trying to get away from.
But guess what, go in any store or restaurant, who do you see spending money? I’ll bet the majority are seniors, the group that you cannot seem to control your hatred of, calling them selfish old nimby’s every chance you get. If every retiree in Kingman left today, how many businesses do you think would close? How many new businesses do you think would open? Even with the retirees we have (many who’s income has plunged due to the stock market and horrid interest rates), the local population cannot support the existing businesses. Many businesses are obviously holding on by a thread. We don’t need new stores and restaurants right now, we need to fight like heck to keep the ones we have.
Your temporary jobs may also help here, temporarily. The new shopping centers you want will only come if the demographics work. And retirees with expendable income rank higher than transient workers who are only temporary residents. But you don’t need to believe me, drive the retirees out or convince them not to move in and see what happens to the businesses. Look at other towns the size of Kingman, many would be thrilled to death to get even a portion of the businesses that Kingman has.
But instead of appreciating and supporting the businesses we do have, the pro-rampant growth people complain about what we already have and wish for bigger and better businesses to replace them. Instead of accepting that Kingman has been steadily, slowly growing for over a hundred years, they want to leap into living in a megatropolis, common sense be damned.
I might ask them, why don’t they move? Wouldn’t that be easier and less stressful on everyone? They want the people they feel are standing in the way of their wants to move so they can have their big city filled with big box stores, major restaurants, expensive houses filled with hundreds of thousands of people and of course the accompanying big city crime and traffic. Even if the pro-rampant growth people got rid of all the slow-growth people, changing Kingman to Vegas isn’t happening in any of our lifetimes. Wouldn’t it be easier to move to a place that has all that great stuff you feel is mandatory for the good life and leave the nimby’s happily living in their small town, or on their little piece of the desert, hauling water and watching the stars.
You might keep in mind…locally owned businesses will stay open far longer when times are bad than the big boys. National chains may open, but they will close underperforming stores without a second thought. Exactly like Office Depot and Albertson’s did. We have several other recently opened national chains that aren’t exactly busy. We’re only a line on their corporate income statement, they have no roots in the community, they could pull the plug whenever they want if that line has a minus in front instead of a plus.
I remember a local and the newbie’s who thought his business should be driven off of Hualapai. He said he was there first, was zoned for his business and if they didn’t like it they shouldn’t have built next to him. They bought knowing the zoning on adjacent acreage. I agree with him 100%, why shouldn’t others have the same rights. The residents of Valle Vista, Red Lake, etc, bought their property when the surrounding properties were zoned the same as their property.
Do you think any one of them would have bought homes located next to property zoned heavy industrial? Do you think selling their property to an owner occupied buyer now is going to be easy? Would you retire to a house across from a biodiesel plant? Would you retire to a house where the person who owned your water company, that apparently already had problems, was probably going to put in an algae field? Would you retire to a house where all the property between your neighborhood and Rt66 was owned by the same person who owned your water company and the biodiesel plant and needed algae fields somewhere? I wouldn’t, I doubt many people would. I’m sure speculator buying will increase but what does that do the the VV community and it’s future.
Does anyone remember the Rt66 subdivision that was approved between Valle Vista and Long Mountain? With expensive houses and of course the necessary golf course? A local realtor said they were breaking ground last year, or was it the year before? Of course it will never be built, in fact the owners have joined a growing group of speculators that are in foreclosure. But do you think the bank has a chance in h*ll of selling the approved subdivision to another developer? Even if someone thought a new subdivision with thousands of potential houses was a good investment, I doubt the location would pass their due diligence test for location,location,location. Kingman and Mohave County have proved again and again that they believe that anyone should be able to rezone anything, anywhere. There is not a lot of demand for expensive subdivisions, and none for subdivisions next to heavy industrial.
The current rezones are only the newest in 4 years worth of pro-growth approvals. Will they even ever be built, or will the properties just be flipped as soon as the zoning is complete? Why don’t the pro-rampant growth people mention all the projects they insisted were a sign that Kingman had been discovered by the world and we were just a few years from a population increase of hundreds of thousands if not millions.
Take a trip down memory lane, look back at all the approvals….all the subdivisions with golf courses, all the subdivisions with tiny identical houses, all the subdivisions with super expensive houses, the subdivision with million dollar homes on top of the hill above Western, the subdivision at the end of the airport runway, the condos across from the college, the subdivisions off of Hualapai, Jagerson, Bank, Grace Neal, Stockton Hill, Rt66, Southern, Karen, Gordon, Peacock Mountain, Red Lake, White Hills, Golden Valley, even one south of the tracks in old town. The list goes on and on. The list of started subdivisions is very small, the list of started ones successfully selling even a few houses even smaller. There are hundreds of thousands total approved houses in the Kingman/Golden Valley area. Heck one builder alone was approved for about 130,000. Even if we forget the builder with the 130,000 pie in the sky dreams, without the pocketbook to match, that still leaves one heck of a lot of unneeded houses.
Then we have the rv “resorts”, the convention center, the outlet mall, etc., etc. Has anyone seen any of these mega commercial projects even started? Have you noticed all the “build it and they will come” commercial buildings around town, still hoping for tenants? Some were built as long ago as 2005 and have never had full occupancy. Do you realize most of the projects that were approved were then put back on the market for sale? Do you know how many have been foreclosed on when no one wanted to buy them? Do you know how many developers and/or speculators have either been foreclosed on and/or are in bankruptcy because they bought into the great real estate mania of the 2000′s?
Valle Vista may become Kingman’s Waterloo. The internal fighting, the name calling, the anti-retiree rhetoric, the multiple rezoning and building approvals despite residents speaking out against them, has not gotten a lot of press. Kingman is not out there in the main stream media, although it does get mentioned sometimes as a pit stop on the way to Vegas. We recently watched a reality show on NBC, called the Rt66-Great American Road Show. When they got to Arizona, they of course went to the Grand Canyon. Then they went to Seligman, took a side trip to Las Vegas and ended up in Oatman. Nothing else in Mohave County was even mentioned or shown on the show. So up to now, not many people know who we are and our antics don’t draw any attention.
Now, google “biodiesel Valle Vista”. How about that, we’re famous. There are even articles in the Guardian, a UK paper. In fact, I discovered this because I read some of the foreign papers online and came across the Valle Vista piece. So then I googled to see what else was out there.
Mohave County might find out that you can trample on a few people here and there in the name of “growth”, but when you step on the toes of a thousand or more, it’s not quite as easy to sweep those people under the carpet. They are angry, they are vocal and they are going to fight for their property rights and way of life anyway they can. And just because they’ve lost the current battle, doesn’t mean they are giving up on the war. Even if the plant goes the way of all the other big commercial ventures, the harm has been done, the trust has been lost.
Even Las Vegas has figured out that an economy based on construction doesn’t work. An economy dependent on growth doesn’t work. A city that expected the boom to last forever, is losing residents and expects the loss to increase. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/sep/06/day-honoring-workers-nears-few-here-have-much-cele/ The majority of the job losses in Vegas, as here, are construction workers. The massive over building of the last decade, not only here but country wide, will no doubt cause the construction industry to continue to lose jobs for years to come. Until all the excess housing and commercial real estate is absorbed, there is little need to build more. We need to train people for other occupations and promote other industries to diversify our economy, not just here but in the whole United States.