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5:22 PM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Chino council accepts defeat of annexation

CHINO VALLEY – After hearing only from people who opposed a proposed annexation on the west side of town, the Chino Valley Town Council in a special meeting Thursday night unanimously voted to accept and not appeal a judge's ruling calling the annexation Ordinance No. 585 invalid.

The vote repealed the ordinance, canceling the annexation. The council didn't indicate whether it would restart the annexation process.

On July 29, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Raymond Weaver Jr. ruled that the town did not follow proper procedures when it collected signatures to annex an area between Reed Road and Windmill Way and Road 3 North and Road 2 North.

One woman in the audience, who wished not to give her name, said she was for the annexation but chose not to speak for fear of the audience booing her.

Many of those who did speak at the meeting called the town's approach to collecting the names "underhanded" and "a shoddy way of doing it."

Jim Warner, who currently is building a home on a lot in the proposed annexation area and lives inside town limits now, said he was against the annexation because he didn't see a benefit to the town.

"I don't see what it provides the town," Warner said. "You'll just have people yelling at you" to get town services such as paved roads.

Lottie Bureau has lived in one of the neighborhoods within the proposed annexation area for 11 years and said she likes living in the county.

"I just don't want to be annexed," Bureau said. "Why don't you just leave us alone?"

One woman said current residents of Chino Valley already complain about too many weeds in their neighborhoods that town crews need to get rid of, so why would the town want more complaints with more residents to take care of.

About 35 families in and around the proposed annexation area filed a complaint this past Dec. 21, claiming signatures on the annexation petition came from former land owners and not current land owners. The town spent more than $12,000 defending the case.

In other town business, in the regular council meeting immediately after the special meeting, the council voted to:

Accept a conceptual master plan of the new 1,200-home Meadow Ridge Ranch planned community of 391 acres on the east side of town at the end Road 2 North. The council added eight revisions to the plan.

Developers still must submit a final master plan, preliminary plat and final plat to the town for approval before beginning work. Meadow Ridge Ranch Operations Manager Roger Peacock showed a map of the conceptual master plan and described the nine phases in which the company plans to build the subdivision over the next eight years.

To authorize town staff to begin work to expand the town's current water service area from the current area it serves at the Country West Mobile Home Park east to Road 1 East then north along that road to Territorial Elementary School and the Chino Valley Community Center, just south of Perkinsville Road.

Town Water Consultant Phil Foster said the expansion will "double our water portfolio size." The town can withdraw 250 acre-feet of groundwater annually as a small water provider and not have it count against their to water portfolio.

Approve town crews to make a Sept. 11 memorial, painting a flag on a concrete slab on the corner of Memory Park with the words, "Chino Valley salutes America's heroes," and install flagpoles.

Later, crews will attach letters reading "Chino Valley Town Hall Complex" and paint the town logo on a wall behind the slab. Staff estimated the cost at from $1,200 to $1,500.

Approved hours of operation and a list of rules that the town will post at the skate park it plans to build at the Chino Valley Community Center.

The park will cost the town just less than $46,000. The skate park will open at 7:30 a.m. and close at sunset every day.

Assistant to the Town Manager Mark O'Connor researched seven other skate parks in the state regarding fencing, hours of operation, supervision, signage, phone availability, safety equipment requirements, and equipment allowable in the park.

Like many of the other skate parks, Chino Valley's will have no supervision, allow only skateboards (no bicycles or in-line skates), recommend but not require safety equipment and have a telephone available.

Town Manager Carl Tenney gave the town's farewell and a retirement gift (a clock) to Town Clerk Delores Sliger, who said she had "pride in ownership" while working for the town.

"This is my town," she said. She and her husband, Richard, plan to travel the country in an RV after her retirement on Aug. 30.

At the meeting, Sliger also swore in the new town clerk, Jami Lewis, who has worked as an administrative assistant for the town clerk, town manager and council.

Tenney also announced new positions for Linda Crow, who is now the finance director and Judi Schafman, who is now the personnel director.