In what Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes described as an “historic turnout” voters in Fountain Hills soundly defeated land use proposals for a 400-unit apartment community near the intersection of Palisades and Shea boulevards.
More than 11,000 ballots were cast resulting in a nearly 64 percent turnout from 17,391 registered voters in the community.
The election, called by referendum of citizens, sought to overturn Town Council votes related to the zoning for the proposed apartment project.
Proposition 427 challenged an amendment the Fountain Hills Zoning District Map for approximately 59.79 acres that would have changed the designation from L-3 P.U.D. and OSR to Daybreak PAD.
Prop 427 received 7,999 “no” votes to 3,031 “yes” votes, or a margin of 72.5 percent to 27.5 percent.
Proposition 428 challenged a council resolution to amend the Fountain Hills General Plan 2010 Land Use Plan Map from a lodging designation to multi-family/medium for the property.
Prop 428 received 7,962 “no” votes to 3,073 “yes” votes, a margin of 72 percent to about 28 percent.
Speaking on behalf of Smart Development Fountain Hills, the group organized to seek the referendum, Michelle Webb said they are very pleased with the outcome.
“Smart Development Fountain Hills, a grassroots group, worked tirelessly and persevered to allow the voters and citizens of Fountain Hills to have a say in their Town,” Webb said. “It is very apparent, with an overwhelming majority of 73 percent ‘No’ on Prop 427 and 72 percent ‘No’ on Prop 428, that the citizens of Fountain Hills won’t accept poor projects from developers or the vote of council members who refused to listen to the people of our town.
“This ballot, according to Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, was the highest turnout to date for any local election in Arizona. We thank all the people who were involved, either with their help or their vote to make this such a successful campaign and make a difference! It is important to have the voices heard through the sound of our vote.”
Jeremy Hall of Hilltop Vista Properties, the developer of the proposed project, said he and his partner, Neil Ginsberg, were obviously disappointed by the vote.
“We were proud of the project and have been excited about adding another well-conceived development to the Town of Fountain Hills to add to our many previous successful projects there,” Hall said. “It would have been far less disruptive to the neighbors, more environmentally sensitive and fiscally beneficial to the town than the conference resort plan.
“I’m surprised the residents of Fountain Hills voted for a giant conference hotel over a modest garden apartment complex on that property.”
A third proposition (429) on the ballot, a proposal to increase the term of the mayor from two to four years also went down to defeat.
This measure was referred to the ballot by the Town Council.
There were 6,052 (55 percent) votes against the change with 4,954 (45 percent) in support. The term of the mayor will remain two years.