Cottonwood to pay citizens group's legal fees
Referendum petition R-2001-02 was controversial because of an incorrect serial number when circulated. The serial number was corrected when Davidson attempted to file the petitions Dec. 31.
Companion referendum petition R-2001-01 was accepted Dec. 31 without incident.
In a ruling issued May 7, Mackey granted a petition for special action by the citizens group.
The judge ordered that the city clerk "shall accept and issue a receipt," effective Dec. 31, 2001, for the petitions filed by Cottonwood Citizens for Public Participation "that now bear the correct serial number for Referendum R-2001-02 and contain signatures gathered by Dec. 31, 2001."
Mackey stated that the court agreed with the position by the defendant, Jiménez, "regarding the reason the correct serial number shall be on the petitions while being circulated."
"However," the judge said, "the registration requirements for political committees cannot be used to 'unreasonably hinder' the constitutional right of Arizona citizens to seek a referendum."
"The court finds that, while the defendant was statutorily authorized to reject the petitions, the Arizona Constitution does not authorize such an action under the facts of this case," Mackey said.
On the Sept. 10 special-election ballot, Cottonwood voters are to decide these three referendums:
R-2001-01 – Resolution 1886, approved Nov. 29 by the Cottonwood City Council, regarding the planned Bashas' Center development, on a 144-acre parcel of Groseta Ranch land, owned by Andy Groseta.
The resolution re-designated the General Plan land use for the parcel from "residential/mixed use" to "commercial, multi-family residential, business park, and open space/trails."
R-2001-02 – Ordinance 408, also approved Nov. 29 by the council, and also regarding the planned Bashas' Center development.
The ordinance amended zoning from R-1 (single-family residential), R-2 (single- or multi-family residential), and C-1 (light commercial) to PUD-C/R (planned unit development, commercial-residential).
REF-02-01A -- Ordinance 411 was approved Jan. 15 by the council, regarding the city's Dead Horse Ranch annexation.
The annexation area comprises approximately 2,900 acres along 89A toward Cornville and Sedona, and north and east of the Verde River.
Much of the area is public land, including national forest, state park, and state trust lands.
However, the Blazin' M Ranch, near the Dead Horse Ranch State Park entrance off 10th Street, and the planned Verde Santa Fe North subdivision, toward Cornville, are among the private lands included in the annexation.