Beaver Dam, curb your road rage

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About two dozen residents of Beaver Dam/Jones Flats set to work on Thursday, Feb. 8 to repair the holes along Virgin Acres Boulevard so residents have smooth access to the subdivision. Residents are hoping the Mohave County will eventually take over maintenance of this road along with Front Street Residents have been working on the project for over three years. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

For several years, Jones Flat subdivision residents in Beaver Dam have been trying to get Mohave County to maintain Virgin Acres Boulevard and Front Street, the only ingress/egress point for them. While the residents have done a great job building and maintaining Virgin Acres Boulevard, it’s becoming costly and they’d like to get the county to take over the repair and maintenance of both roads.

Neither of them fall under Mohave County road maintenance jurisdiction at this point. The streets don’t meet with Mohave County codes for many reasons, two being that they aren’t wide enough and don’t contain the required easements.

Many residents new to the area ask the question, “What are my property taxes for? Why don’t they pay to build our roads and further go to road maintenance?”

In Arizona, property taxes go for a variety of services but not one penny goes toward roads in Mohave County. Road maintenance funds come from 19 cents out of every gallon of gas sold in Arizona. Notice the term “road maintenance;” Mohave County does not build roads they just maintain them.

While Mohave County may not build roads, they have paved the way for residents to be able to build their own roads, at their own expense, and then apply to Mohave County for maintenance of the roadway. If the roadway meets Mohave County standards, the application will be considered but it may take a lot of work and even more time.

Both roads have similar issues in that the property adjacent to each road is owned by someone else.

Once the holes are blown out, filled with asphalt and covered in sand, the roller comes along to really push the materials into the holes and pack it down so traffic doesn’t immediately pull the material out of the patched areas. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The issue with Front Street is that it is very narrow, only 20 feet wide in some spots, giving the school bus drivers quite a challenge getting around the subdivision without additional traffic and a real problem when there is. Parents are extremely concerned for the safety of their children entering and exiting the school bus. Residents would like to move the cattle fence along Front Street so they can widen the road but it is the property of the BLM.

Virgin Acres Boulevard, built and presently maintained by private citizens, doesn’t meet Mohave County requirements for a roadway. The road needs to be at least 25 feet wide but the property on either side is privately owned.

Both road projects, each with its own sets of easement issues, have been spearheaded by resident David Abplanalp, who has been working on the documentation for several years. He has gathered volunteers for road building and maintenance. He has also paid to the BLM some of the back right of way fees that had been in arrears for several years out of his own pocket. He even applied to the BLM and the Cattlemen’s Association for the permission to move the fence on Front Street.

In December 2013 everything was sent to Mohave County for the Front Street project. Paperwork was in place, correspondence was taking place between the BLM and the county and follow-up documents were sent. Then Abplanalp and residents waited and waited.

In March 2016, the Mohave County Department of Public Works was working with the landowner on either side of Virgin Acres Boulevard. The landowner agreed to give up 2.2 acres of land to help develop the road in exchange for changing the name of the road to Beaver Dam Ranches and removing a white cross on the property. Public Works then stopped the project because the name “Beaver Dam Ranches” was too long to put on a street sign, although “Beaver Dam Estates” road off of Highway 91 in a separate subdivision contains the same amount of letters. Abplanalp still had not received any further information on the Front Street project.

In January 2016, Abplanalp sent a letter to Gary Watson, Mohave County Supervisor’s Office, District 1, requesting his assistance with Virgin Acres and the Front Street roads. He received correspondence from the supervisor’s office stating that they weren’t interested in the Front Street project.

Because of that, in February 2016 Abplanalp arranged with the BLM and the Cattlemen’s Association to begin moving the fence. Material had been purchased and a construction schedule was set. The day before the fence was to be moved Abplanalp received word from the BLM that a resident had illegally buried some pets beyond the fence and didn’t want the fence removed. Since that time, BLM claims the property belongs to Mohave County and vice versa.

A Feb. 2 meeting with Watson and Mohave County Public Works Director Steven Latoski had a firehouse full of residents with some of them voicing their concerns over the roadways. There seemed to be some confusion with paperwork and correspondence and whether it reached the Division of Public Works, but was soon found out that it had. Some questions were answered and some issues seemingly resolved.

Abplanalp received an email from Latoski ensuring that the projects are being considered but may not be handled in a timely manner.

Abplanalp noted that several residents acknowledge the fact that no road repairs will be made by the County for several months. Abplanalp says, “We must take action to stop the rapid deterioration of Virgin Acres Boulevard, Front Street, Ironwood and Sierra Vista.”

About two dozen volunteers set to work on Wednesday, Feb. 8, for the first road repair of the year. They began at the corner of Virgin Acres Boulevard and Front Street and worked their way down the entire length of Virgin Acres Boulevard patching and filling both large and small holes. Abplanalp is asking all residents to donate just $20 for the project. Abplanalp and other residents believe that Front Street, Ironwood, and Sierra Vista are also in badly need of repair. Abplanalp would like to extend his deepest thanks to the all the individuals who helped repair Virgin Acres Boulevard. The potholes are finally patched; all the help is greatly appreciated.

Abplanalp and others are still collecting money for the repair of the internal roads-Front Street, Ironwood, and Sierra Vista. For more information on the Virgin Acres Boulevard and Front Street projects please contact Abplanalp at abpla27@msn.com.

Until the roads are ready for Mohave County to take over, please slow your roll to help preserve the roadways.

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