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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:17 AM Mon, Nov. 12th

Lawsuit stops work on airstrip

CHINO VALLEY – Attorneys for the town government filed a petition Wednesday in Superior Court in Prescott to stop construction of an airstrip at Perkins Ranch because the ranch owners have not obtained permits from Town Hall.

Mark Drutz of the Prescott law firm of Musgrove, Drutz and Kack filed the petition with Judge David Mackey to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction against the ranch’s owners and the contractor, Vastco Inc. of Chino Valley.

Drutz deferred comment on the petition because he wanted to wait for Mackey to review the matter. A member of the judge’s staff said on Thursday that Mackey may take until next week to review the 20-page petition and accompanying documents, which include copies of town ordinances, maps and photos of the ranch site.

The petition came six days after the Town Council authorized Drutz’s firm to take legal action against the owners of the ranch, which is about eight miles east of Highway 89 on Perkinsville Road.

Drutz seeks to enjoin Perkins and Vastco from “grading, construction, development, operation, use or maintenance of a runway, airstrip or airport” without prior consent and approval from the town. Town officials have contended that the ranch owners need to comply with town ordinances, codes, rules and regulations.

The petition states that members of the public notified Mayor Karen Fann around Aug. 25 about grading and blading activity at the airstrip site.

Town officials sent a cease-and-desist notice to the Perkins family’s attorneys through overnight mail Sept. 1. Five days later, Public Works Director Ken Winckler issued a stop-work order to Vastco.

Vastco Chief Executive Officer Tom Devereaux said, “We already stopped work on it Thursday a week ago,” adding “We are just waiting for the town of Chino and the Perkins family to resolve this situation.”

The Courier was unable to reach representatives of the law firm Norling, Kulsrud, Sifferman and Davis PLC in Scottsdale for comment.

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com