The Town of Camp Verde is expected to cite the Yavapai-Apache Nation for what the town claims is an illegal mining operation sometime this week. Those are the official words from both the town attorney and the town manager.
"We’re expected to cite them under a civil violation of the zoning code," Town Manager John Roberts said Monday.
The matter will be placed in the hands of the new hearing officer within two weeks to one month if the tribe does not comply, Roberts explained.
"If they comply anytime before, we’ll drop the case," he said.
The Nation has operated a sand-and-gravel mining operation without a use permit on fee land it owns zoned residential located within town limits.
The Nation has repeatedly said it is not subject to the zoning ordinance under the guidelines of the old mining ordinance, because they are reclaiming the land for future development. The town maintains otherwise. In a dispute that started almost two years ago, the town and Nation entered negotiations to resolve their differences by developing an intergovernmental agreement that would spell out conditions for a use permit and time limits, among other things.
Although the town council approved a version of the IGA on Aug. 23, the Nation refused to sign it indicating it wasn’t what they had negotiated.
"This is not people being mad at each other. They have different interpretations. They believe the law says something; we believe something else. I don’t believe there’s any sense of anger or animosity," Roberts explained.
Roberts went on to say that the town will go through the zoning citation process professionally. He said that if the Nation doesn’t comply with the civil citation, it could be fined up to $250 per day for each day it fails to comply. It could then be sent on to the magistrate or Superior Court to force compliance, he said.
Roberts indicted that he’s been in touch with the Nation’s officials and is keeping them informed as to the process.
He said that whatever the outcome, the town is prepared "to live with the results."