Referendum petitions vetted

The Planning and Zoning Commission held an informational meeting on Feb. 25 at the PTLS council chambers to answer questions regarding the 6.2-acre proposed RV Park on Vallery Lane.

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.”

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.

(5) comments

libertyminded

OK, this is the Second Referendum of and for this Development/Developer. PTLS Citizens first signed petitions saying they wanted to exercise their rights as Citizens to vote on the zoning ordinance applicable to this development. These rights were unilaterally taken away when the Developer was allowed to withdraw his first zoning request and then now is allowed to just turn around and submit this second request in short order! Citizens have Petitioned PTLS once again to exercise their right to vote on this, the Second Referendum. I think we should now vote on the proposed zoning and that the Developer should Not be allowed to withdraw the matter before the Citizens have their vote. Further, the land should not be allowed to have that density of zoning again unless and until the PTLS Citizens say so through another vote! Any new proposed Rezoning should be Referred by the PTLS Council to the Citizens for their vote, consent and final approval. The Third Referendum (Yes Council can voluntarily “refer" to the Citizens and they should here) After all, wasn’t this land former National Forest owned by all of we Citizens?

Brett cote

It is all private land out there. The five property owners have a right to develop and build up their properties. Camp Grace and Camp Tatiyee are both now zoned comercial and acting as comercial entities. Camp grace is advertising a 200+ camp and a special event/wedding facility for up to to 300 people. That's 500 plus, a pretty high density. And no, the only reason the zoning was pulled previously is that he referendum petition had the language wrong. There was never any open space out there

libertyminded

No one has a right to a rezoning and surely not a rezoning to allow. super density and a trashy RV Park. The developer already has low density development. He is not entitled to more unless the voters say so.

Brett cote

So all RV parks and RV'ers are trashy? I think you might have some prejudice there. I think it is a beautiful design, its 500 yards off hwy 260 behind a comercial retail parcel and next to a furniture store. No one driving in town will be able to see it.

fkermes@gmail.com

I asked at a recent meeting if the neighborhood on Vallery Lane who have their homes there would be able to see RV park. The answer from the owner was yes. Very disappointing that the town cares that th

is not be visible to visitors but ok if visible no concern for the families who live on Vallery Lane.

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