Referendum requests exceed the deadline | Covid-19

PINETOP-LAKESIDE – On April 15, the Pinetop-Lakeside City Council unanimously approved the rededication of 6.2 acres on Vallery Lane from R-Low to Recreational Vehicle Park (RVP). On April 20, the Citizens for Quality Development (CQD) submitted their application for a serial number for a referendum petition. On April 23, CQD began collecting signatures and on May 14, submitted 22 petition sheets with 256 signatures to city clerk Jill Akins.

In order to obtain a referendum on a vote so that the 2,727 active voters within the Pinetop-Lakeside city limits could personally weigh the issue of zoning, the committee had to obtain 109 signatures. These signatures must first be verified by the city and then Navajo County. If at least 109 are considered eligible, a date for a postal vote will be set.

This is the second time the CQD has submitted a referendum petition.

CQD was founded in 2020 after the City Council granted approval of 25.5 acres on Vallery Lane from OS to RVP on June 18, 2020. This zoning application was made by owner BC2 on behalf of GJR Properties, LLC, who were planning to purchase the property on condition that the RV park be repurposed.

CQD collected 325 signatures during the height of the pandemic, 263 of which were found eligible after the review process.

A postal vote should take place in January 2020 so that the residents can have a say in the RVP zone. Before that could happen, BC2, owner of the 25.5-acre property, asked the city to overturn the zoning decision and on August 20 the council approved the overturning.

When GJR Properties, LLC, which has since purchased 40 acres of BC2, filed an application for a zone for the 6.2 acres on the highway on Jan. 7. 260 / White Mountain Boulevard from R-Low to RVP, property owners within 300 feet were notified, as required by law, for a briefing on February 25th. This meeting was set prior to the planning and zone meeting scheduled for March 25th when the Rezone request would be heard.

Planning and Zoning also held a special meeting on March 11, providing a line-by-line preview of the city’s zoning rules regarding RVP zoning. Few recommendations were made.

At the March 25 meeting, the council recommended approval of the 6.2 hectare zone.

When the application for rededication reached the council on April 15, both the council and those present had basically heard the same reasons and objections to the RVP zoning several times.

The city re-responded to all the questions they had heard from the public and some of the public repeated concerns they believed were not heard. Mayor Stephanie Irwin had assured those present that the council had heard their concerns more than once and asked them to only raise new concerns.

Both the 25.5 acres and 6.2 acres are part of the US Forest Service’s Camp Tatiyee Land Exchange, held in 2018.

City administrator Keith Johnson told The Independent on May 17 that they hadn’t checked the number of signatures to 256 but would do so later in the week and said the next step would be to get them to the county.

“With all the things that need to be satisfied,” said Johnson, “it would probably be a November election,” said Johnson.

CQD Chairman Everett Peterson received an email on May 19 from City Clerk Jill Akins stating, “After additional careful scrutiny by Keith (Johnson) and I, four (4) signatures were obtained from a duplicate, one wrong date and two unaddressed addresses disqualified correctly completed. This brings your final valid signature count to 251.

“The next step is to send a random sample of 13 to the County Recorder Office for review. You have 15 days to complete this task. “

According to Suzann Bingham, who kept copies of last year’s referendum motions, the number of petitions was lower this year as many of the signatories have not yet returned to the mountain. She said the signatures were collected in July last year when everyone was here.

Once the county has completed its part of the screening process, a date for the postal vote will be set.

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