Representatives of the Smart Development for Fountain Hills Committee turned in petitions Thursday, Oct. 31, from citizens asking that the Daybreak zoning decisions of the Town Council be referred to the citizens for a public vote.
The petitioners are in need of a minimum of 857 valid signatures on each petition. The committee reports turning in approximately 1,800 signatures on each of the items.
Town Clerk Liz Burke said she has 20 days, excluding weekends and holidays, to go through the petitions to review the signatures. That deadline would be around the end of the month.
When she completes her review, Burke will send a random sample of the signatures to Maricopa County Elections for verification. The county has 15 days to complete its review.
The committee was collecting signatures to refer decisions made by the council regarding a General Plan amendment for the development site, as well as Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning standards for the project, which is proposed for 400 apartment units in two distinct communities. The project location is on Palisades Blvd., just north of Shea Blvd.
On Oct. 1, the Town Council voted 5-2 to approve both the General Plan amendment and the PAD. Mayor Ginny Dickey and Councilman David Spelich voted against the plan. Vice Mayor Sherry Leckrone and Councilmen Dennis Brown, Alan Magazine, Mike Scharnow and Art Tolis supported the plan.
Referendum organizer Michelle Webb said, “This is a testament to the volunteer enthusiasm and citizen activism behind this effort that resulted in close to 1,800 signatures being gathered in less than three weeks.”
According to Webb, during the signature gathering, volunteers constantly heard from citizens signing the petitions that the actions taken by the council were a violation of public trust and were now saying “enough” to politicians not listening or being responsive to those who elected them.
Dr. Pete Brock, chairman of Smart Development for Fountain Hills, said they are pleased with citizen response, but the struggle is not over.
“The petitions have been turned in and are currently being counted and verified,” Brock said. “If there is the requisite number of validated signatures, a date for the referendum vote will be announced, which is anticipated to occur in the March to May 2020 timeframe.
“Smart Development will continue its outreach and education as the process continues, and will field a large ‘get out to vote’ campaign once the election date is determined.”