City staff and the Kingman Planning and Zoning commission take opposite positions on Mohave County’s request to ease parking requirements for expansion of the courthouse footprint in downtown Kingman. The matter moves forward for Kingman City Council consideration on February 7.

Staff opposes a county requested change in a zoning requirement that any judicial center provide one parking spot for every 350 square feet of project building size.

Development Services Director Gary Jeppson noted that a previous county request increased the space per square foot requirement from 250 to 350 in December, 2014. Jeppson said staff believes another bump to 500 square feet could lead to courthouse area parking problems.

“Our research indicates that 500 or 600 square feet per space is more appropriate,” Judge Gurtler said. He thinks it unfair to link parking space requirements to building square footage as he said a great deal of courthouse space is not people intensive and has no bearing on parking.

“Parking demand does not have a linear relationship to building size,” County PublicWorks Director Steve Latoski said during the January 10 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Latoski also noted conversion to a new system that will allow citizens and attorneys file court documents online rather than in person will help keep parking manageable in the future when expansion roughly triples the courthouse footprint to 96,000 square feet.

Judge Gurtler told commissioners that failure to liberalize the current parking requirement could force the project to move toward the Interstate 40 area where the county administration building is located.

Commissioner Dustin Lewis is among those who want to keep the courthouse at its current location. “I think we’re going to be at a great loss if we don’t find a way to work with Mohave County,” Lewis said.

Commission member Vicki Kress agreed.

“As someone who moved to Kingman when I was three, I would really hate for anything to happen to that courthouse or for us to decide something that could potentially put it in jeopardy,” Kress said.

The commission voted 6-0, with one abstention, to recommend city council approval of the county request to ease the parking requirement.