PINETOP-LAKESIDE — For the second time since 2020, the Citizens for Quality Development filed a petition for a referendum regarding the Town Council’s approval for Recreational Vehicle Park zoning on Vallery Lane — two separate requests by two different owners. For the second time, the signatures collected for a referendum were vetted by the town and Navajo County, and the rezone issue will now go to voters by mail-in ballot on Nov. 2.
The CQD was formed in 2020 following the Council’s June 18, 2020, approval of 25½ 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. Since that time, GJR has purchased 40 acres from BC2 and requested only 6.2 of the acreage for a rezone to RVP.
During the height of the pandemic, CQD collected 325 signatures regarding the 25½ acres that were approved for rezone, and 263 were deemed eligible after the vetting process.
A January 2020 mail ballot was to take place so the residents could have their say on the zoning matter. Before that could occur, BC2, owner of the property, asked the town to repeal the zoning decision, and on Aug. 20 the Council approved the repeal.
GJR submitted an application on Jan. 7 for a rezone for the 6.2 acres on Highway 260/White Mountain Boulevard from R-Low to RVP. Property owners within 300 feet were notified, as required by law, and an informational meeting for the rezone request on Feb. 25 was held in council chambers in hopes of answering citizens’ objections and clarifying the 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 Planning and Zoning Commission also held a meeting on March 11 when it entertained a line-by-line preview of the town’s zoning rules regarding RVP zoning. Only a few recommendations were made.
At that March 25 meeting, only a few citizens who reiterated previous objections were heard from. The commissioners voted to recommend that Council approve the 6.2-acre rezone.
When the rezone request reached Council on April 15, both Council and those in attendance had basically heard the same reasons for, and objections to, the RVP zoning a number of times. The Council voted unanimously for the rezone.
Following the April 15 approval, CQD submitted an application for a serial number for a referendum petition on April 20 and began collecting signatures on April 23.
Based on 2,727 active voters in the town limits of Pinetop-Lakeside, CQD was required to get a total of 109 valid signatures. CQD collected a total of 256 signatures on 22 petition sheets and turned them in to Town Clerk Jill Akins on May 14.
The town vetted the signatures and disqualified five of them due to duplication, a wrong date and addresses not completed correctly, reducing the 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 will be held on November 2, 2021 and will be a ballot by mail only election. Over the next few months election notice and call for arguments will be posted. Before the election a pamphlet will be mailed out to registered voters regarding the Proposition.”