PINETOP-LAKESIDE — The vote by mail special election regarding the rezoning of 6.2 acres located east of White Mountain Boulevard and north of Vallery Lane in Lakeside from R-Low, Rural Residential, to RVP, Recreational Vehicle Park Zoning District, will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Voter registration deadline for the special election is Monday, Oct. 4.
This election is strictly a mail in ballot and anyone who is a Pinetop-Lakeside resident living within the town limits who is not registered to vote by Oct. 4 will not be able to participate.
According to the Navajo County Elections Department, the most expedient method to register to vote, especially at this late date, is by using Arizona’s online registration at https://servicearizona.com. Voter registration forms can also be obtained at the public library, the U.S. Post Office and at town hall. Navajo County Elections Department says they do not routinely send out voter registration packets unless they are asked to do so.
This election will allow voters to approve or reject the town council’s decision to amend the Official Zoning Map of the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside for the 6.2 acres east of White Mountain Boulevard and north of Vallery Lane from R-Low to RVP.
This is the second time since 2020 that the Citizens for Quality Development (CQD) have filed a successful petition for a referendum regarding the council’s approval for RVP zoning on Vallery Lane.
The CQD was formed in 2020 following the town council’s June 18, 2020 approval of 25.5 acres on Vallery Lane from Open Space (OS) to RVP. That zoning request was made by property owner BC2 on behalf of GJR Properties, LLC which planned to purchase the property contingent upon a rezone for the RV park.
During the height of the pandemic, CQD collected 325 signatures regarding the 25.5 acres that was approved for rezone and 263 of those signatures were deemed eligible after the vetting process.
A January 2020 mail in ballot vote was to take place so the residents could have their say on the zoning matter. Before that could occur, BC2 asked the town to repeal the zoning decision and on Aug. 20, 2020 council approved the repeal.
Since that time GJR has purchased 40 acres from BC2 and made a request on Jan. 7 for only 6.2 of their acreage to be rezoned to RVP.
Following GJR’s request, an informational meeting for the rezone request was held on Feb. 25 in hopes of answering citizens’ objections and clarifying GJR’s plans for the RV Park. This meeting was set prior to the Planning and Zoning meeting scheduled for March 25 when the rezone request would be heard.
The March 25 meeting heard from only a few citizens who reiterated previous objections. The commissioners voted to recommend council approve the 6.2 acre rezone and on April 15 council did unanimously approved the rezone.
Following the April 15 approval, CQD submitted an application for a Serial Number for another referendum petition. They began collecting signatures on April 23.
With 2,727 registered voters they were again required to get 109 valid signatures. They collected 256 signatures and turned them in to Town Clerk Jill Akins on May 14.
Five of the signatures were disqualified due to duplication, a wrong date and addresses not completed correctly, bringing the signature count of accepted signatures to 251.
In an email to the Independent, Akins stated, “On May 19, 2021 we transmitted to Navajo County 13 signatures randomly selected for verification by Navajo County. On May 25, 2021 the Navajo County Recorder reported that all 13 signers included in the random sample were found to be qualified electors at the time of signing the petition and that no signatures were disqualified.”
The Election was set for Nov. 2 as a ballot by mail only election. A call for arguments was posted and a pamphlet will be mailed out to all registered voters regarding the Proposition.
According to a spokesperson for the CQD, they will also be mailing out a postcard the week of Oct. 4 to all registered voters, one per household, to coincide with the mailing of the ballots by Navajo County.
If you want to weigh in on the rezone issue for the mail in vote, you have until Monday, Oct. 4 to register.