City ponders ideas for Old Bullhead future

December 5, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Members of the Bullhead City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday to discuss options for the future of Old Bullhead.

The special meeting focused on discussing and prioritizing ideas to improve the part of the city from First to Seventh streets so it becomes more attractive and vital.

Linked to that area is a wider swath beginning at Community Park — including Section 12 — that ends at the Laughlin Bridge. The park is expected to play a significant role in the future of Old Bullhead.

Among complications discussed: current zoning, the size of some lots, and the need for public parking so exemptions could be made for some businesses.

One of the things that has happened in Old Bullhead is an interest in creating several boat storage units there, said City Manager Toby Cotter.

“I don’t think that’s anybody’s vision in this room,” Cotter said. “What we hoped would’ve happened in Old Bullhead didn’t happen.”

Interest among officials at the meeting is to be more flexible with zoning so developers could construct multi-family housing while people wanting to build single-family homes could choose to create that type of structure in residential areas of Old Bullhead. Or that mixed commercial-residential developments could work in that part of the city.

Cotter suggested that more housing in Old Bullhead would be a good idea. So did one of the other officials.

“Residential supports commercial,” said Planning Commissioner Ann Pettit, who would like to see higher density housing there as well as a move away from manufactured homes.

Planning Commissioner Mary Schramm said she has no problem with good manufactured housing, or small homes on small lots. What she most wants to happen is establishment of an overall theme, she said.

“How many of us go down the 95 and stop at one of those businesses?” she asked.

Noise concerns and incorporation or abandonment of alleys were among other topics discussed.

There was consensus in creating a theme of “American Pride” with the colors of red, white and blue for accents and to help business owners incorporate it into their overall aesthetic design in a way that isn’t too costly. Tri-State Military Moms, Inc., already has started the theme with its banners along the highway.

Palm trees along the highway also would add a nice touch though they would have to be truly nice trees, said Mayor Tom Brady. That’s something the city might have to take up because of the cost, which could reach several hundred thousand dollars, however.

The city needs to clean up the area because a significant number of buildings don’t appear to meet city code: “Inertia will be there if the city steps up to the plate,” Schramm added.

Planning Commission Chairman Mel Stein said a run-down Phoenix neighborhood started a renaissance with only one cafe. He said he thinks Bullhead City can do the same.

“That one cafe created synergy around that whole neighborhood,” he said. “We have to create re-gentrification.”

No action was taken at the meeting, though it was suggested that staff come up with some examples of themed decorations that business owners might want to try.

A regular City Council meeting followed the special joint meeting. Highlights of that meeting:

Awarding the construction contract for Bullhead City’s portion of the planned second bridge over the Colorado River linking the city to Laughlin was postponed. City Manager Toby Cotter said there were some additional matters related to the project to tie up. Cotter didn’t say whether the postponement was to allow for further discussion with Laughlin officials, who expressed interest in discussing the project when the Laughlin Town Advisory Board meets next Tuesday. Laughlin Town Manager Brian Paulson confirmed the matter would be on the LTAB’s agenda next week.Keegan Littrell, the city’s public works director since May and an engineer with the city since 2011, is leaving. He’ll be taking a job in Boulder City, Nevada. Moving into the job will be Angie Johnson, an associate civil engineer for the city. Littrell started off as interim public works director after long-time department director Pawan Agrawal was terminated after revelations that other employees in the department misused city assets. Council approved the mutual aid contract between the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Bullhead City Police Department for law enforcement. Cotter told council members that the EPCOR Water rate case hearing isn’t likely to happen until January or February.

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