P-L town sign

PINETOP-LAKESIDE — In spite of a room full of area residents ready to claim the three minutes for public comment, the Oct. 24 Planning & Zoning meeting has been rescheduled.

A Zoning Map Amendment for 26 acres on Vallery Lane from OS, Open Space/Park to RVP, Recreational Vehicle Park Zoning District has emerged as a controversial issue and was tabled until Dec. 12.

Prior to Commissioner Adam Staley opening up the meeting for the public hearing, Community Development Director Cody Blake offered a statement.

“As of yesterday, we received information from the county (Navajo) as to what is required for the widening and lengthening of Vallery Lane from Lockwood (Street) for this project. It was received Tuesday and forwarded to the developer. He only got that yesterday and asked it be tabled to the Dec. 12 meeting to review and come up with an alternative.”

It was the possibility of the expansion of Vallery Lane and an RV Park being in their residential area that brought residents out on a Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. Armed with the paperwork they had been sent for review, some traveled from other parts of the state and one, at least, came all the way from California, to have their say.

Long time resident Fredda Kermes, who was out of the country at the time of the hearing, responded to the Independent in a message regarding she and her husband’s concern. “Our main concern is the zoning change to allow an RV park adjacent to a residential area. It does not seem like thoughtful planning to me. Rezoning of open space adjacent to a neighborhood with homes should be residential. There will be increased noise and traffic and it is a shame to destroy so many trees. We of course are concerned about property values.”

Some of the attendees who were there did not receive notice of the proposed change because they are not within the 300 feet of the subject area. They showed up because they believe it affects their neighborhood. Former Navajo County Supervisor Jerry Brownlow is one of those. He and his family have lived in the neighborhood for 35 years.

“Most of the neighborhood would rather see residential zoning along Vallery Lane,” said Brownlow. “I also recognize that the owner of the property has a right to develop his property. The two main concerns for the proposed development are: one — use of Hwy 260 for ingress/egress, not Vallery Lane. Number two, asking for a buffer or screening along Vallery Lane.”

Staley categorically stated that he believed everyone in attendance was present for this agenda item. Most people either raised their hands, nodded or audibly stated that was correct.

Apologetically Staley said, “At this point it is probably necessary to table and give the applicant a chance to get information to provide to us so we can all make a decision, and not have a public hearing tonight and set for a future date.”

Blake replied that a specific date needed to be set so the people would know when to return so they could come and express their concerns. He also reminded everyone that “things could change based on the new information on the proposal from the county.”

A motion was made to table the agenda item and reset it for Dec. 12. Commissioner Alison Stewart recused herself and Commissioner John Salskov was a no vote. With five affirmative votes, the public hearing and discussion passed and was set for Dec. 12.

Even though the short meeting adjourned, residents remained for a half hour or longer in the council chambers conversing.

Since the 300 acres previously owned by the US Forest Service is now privately owned and is being sold off in parcels, there will likely be more public hearings in the future which deal with zoning issues.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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