RV Park Zoning Request is back | Latest news

PINETOP-LAKESIDE – It was a letter from the Community Development Department dated June 1, 2019 to residents who live within a 300 foot radius of Vallery Lane for a zoning change in the RVP that will make a 14 month upheaval began in the church.

Now it is a letter from the department dated February 9th to the residents, in which they are invited to an information meeting about another zone change to RVP, which causes a sensation among the residents.

In the letter dated June 1, 2019, residents were informed that an application had been made by owner Brett Cote, BC2, for a zoning change from Open Space (OS) of 25.2 acres to RVP.

News of the 2019 letter reached others in the ward, and the October 24 planning and zoning meeting was met with a full council chamber of people anxious to ponder the issue.

This meeting had to be postponed because the developer received information from the county at the last minute that he didn’t have time to review.

Subsequent meetings took place when the public made their comments. When all was said and done, Planning and Zoning recommended that the council approve the zone change.

Resident objections to the original zoning from OS to RVP ranged from non-compliance with the master plan to noise, lighting, adverse changes in the neighborhood community, and other issues that Cody Blake, director of community development, addressed at the council meeting on June 18 tried to answer.

The council accepted Planning and Zoning’s recommendation and, after a public hearing that included many of the same public comments made during the planning and zoning hearings, approved the zoning application on June 18.

Immediately after the council approved, a Citizens Committee on Quality Development was formed and the clock began ticking for them to collect the 109 required signatures for a referendum.

The group met their deadline with more than enough signatures, and after Navajo County validated random signatures, a postal vote was due to be held to residents around January 2021.

After disclosing the referendum information to owner BC2, LLC, Blake said Cote consulted with his attorney and they decided to ask the council to overturn their zoning decision.

That request was submitted to the Council on August 20, 2020 and the zone has been lifted using R-Low.

During the period of hearings in the zone, city investigations revealed that the land in question – part of the 344-acre Camp Tatiyee / Forest Service Land Exchange – was not an operating system, it was actually R-Low.

When the city was incorporated in 1984, Forest Service land was not zoned by the county.

The city code requires that nothing in the city can be zoned and that anything that enters the city limits is automatically given an R-Low zoning.

A map from 1986 showed this had happened, but in 2002 the city zoned the entire Forest Service property as Open Space (OS).

Blake said that both city law and state law state that there must be a request from the owner to do so in order for a property to be classified into an operating system.

When the Forest Service property exchanged hands for the BC2 private property, there was no such request.

At the request of the city attorney about zoning, it was confirmed that R-Low is the correct zoning.

Since the zone was revoked, both Camp Tatiyee and Camp Grace have applied for rezonen for their approved properties.

Both cited the extension as the reason for their requests.

The February 9 letter received by residents within 300 feet of the proposed RV park was immediately posted on the White Mountain Preservation Facebook page.

The page is a private group that was formed the first time a zone change request was made.

Although it was alleged that local residents were contacted about the original application change in 2019, many said no one came and spoke to them about the RV park.

The People’s Voice Committee, which was very vocal during the zone change hearings, said it had originally suggested city officials hold a community meeting to discuss the RV park, but none occurred.

The new zone change application was filed on January 7th by GJR Properties, LLC, which now owns the property.

When the previous rededication application was made, the sale to GJR was contingent on the zoning permit, which the then owner BC2 had applied for.

The February 9 letter from Community Development begins by stating that an application to change the zone from R-Low to RVP for 6.2 acres in Section 16, Township 9 North, Range 22 East, Navajo County (Hwy. 260 ) with access from White Mountain Boulevard, but then invites the resident to an informal meeting.

The letter states: “Since your property is close to the property in question, you are invited to attend a public meeting to discuss a new plan that the applicant is proposing for a RV park.

“This meeting will be an informal discussion about the new plan and will allow the public to raise concerns about the proposed plan.

“No votes will be cast at the meeting. This is purely a discussion session.”

The normal statutory process that occurs when applying for a zoning change is for all registered owners within a 300 foot radius to be identified according to the latest Navajo County’s tax rolls.

A letter will then be sent by registered mail allowing the owner to attend the hearing and express their opinion on the impact of the boundary change.

Although the normal limit on council hearings these days limits attendance to 24 people, Blake said that will not be the case at this meeting. It is also open to all community members. A mask is required by everyone who enters.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, February 25th at 5:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Pinetop-Lakeside. The meeting will not be broadcast live.

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