On Friday, opponents of the Canyon Forest Village proposal carted more than 7,000 registered voters’ signatures they collected to the Coconino County Courthouse in Flagstaff.
These petitions contain more than 2 1/2 times the number of signatures required to put the CFV’s recent rezoning on the ballot in November for voter approval.
Michael F. Vasquez, a local business owner who gathered signatures in Williams, was part of a group of 12 who turned in the petitions.
“Williams has a tremendous amount at stake if CFV goes through,” Vasquez said. “Research has shown, and there’s no debate, Williams will be the community devastated most by this development.
“Because of what’s at risk, I feel the community should have a final say at the polls.”
Last month the Coconino County Board of Supervisors approved CFV’s application to rezone property just south of the Grand Canyon from open space to a master-planned community.
Opponents, who formed a political action committee called It’s Just Too Much!, have stated their intention to bring the matter to a public vote. Their petition drive led to the collection of thousands more signatures than was required.
Rick Lopez, Flagstaff City Councilmember and petition committee chairman, said he’s confident the November ballot will show voters think the proposal is both inappropriate for the Grand Canyon and detrimental to northern Arizona as a whole.
“I’m, sure CFV will use their lawyers and find something that would prevent this from going to a public vote,” Lopez said. “That would be cowardly. If they believe public opinion is on their side, as they’ve claimed, Let’s take the lawyers out of this and let the people decide — which is as it should be.”
It’s just Too Much! will be establishing a campaign, office in Flagstaff in the next couple of months in anticipation of the November vote.
Lopez pointed the CFV proposal has been opposed by several Northern Arizona communities, dozens of area businesses and organizations such as the Sierra Club.
However, the Coalition for the Canyon’s Future, which supports CFV, says putting the issue on the ballot will is no threat to the development.
Karen English, coalition co-chair, stressed CFV will serve as a “benchmark for environmental sustainability.”
“As a lifelong conservationist and past elected official, I know how hard it is to balance the needs of people with the preservation of our special places,” English said. “CFV presents a tremendous opportunity to create that balance and to raise the bar for future developments elsewhere.
“When Coconino voters have all the information about this project, I believe they will see its great benefit and vote in favor of it.”