Special election date set on Wal-Mart land issue

Registered voters will decide on Sept. 13 whether 7.61 acres of land north of Mike’s Pike can be rezoned to allow for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Winslow.

Proposition 300 asks voters to approve or reject the City Council’s decision to allow for the rezoning from Multi-Family/Manufactured Housing to Commercial.

Arguments for or against the rezoning can be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 15, which will be included in the election pamphlet. There is a $100 charge that must accompany the filing of arguments. The cost of the publicity pamphlet to the city depends on the amount of arguments received.

In a special meeting on May 18, City Council approved an all-mail ballot, which will be handled by the Navajo County Election Services Department. An intergovernmental agreement will be approved at a later City Council regular meeting.

The county informed the city that the approximate cost to run the election costs $1.50 per registered voter. Winslow has 4,274 registered voters as of the meeting bringing the total cost to $6,411. However, the cost will increase as more people are registered.

City Clerk Suzy Wetzel told Council that the city would also advertise the elections through the City Breeze and water bills.

Lawsuits still outstanding

The referendum to bring the issue to the public was the work of Maria “Bunny” Gamez who represents the political action committee Let the People Speak. Gamez filed three petitions against the rezoning on March 25. Wetzel and City Attorney Dale Patton denied the first of three petitions on the basis that the petition was invalid because it was filed against a first reading of the ordinance and not the enactment of it.

The city also denied the third petition — against amending the city’s General Plan to allow for the rezoning — because it lacked two exhibits that the city said needed to be attached to the circulating petition.

Gamez’s attorney John Moshier filed lawsuits to force the two denied petitions to go through. He previously said the suits would be dropped it the city and Wal-Mart acknowledged that the second petition was the correct one. That’s the one voters will approve or deny in September. As of last Thursday, Wal-Mart had not yet agreed.

A meeting on May 18 between the three parties was postponed. It was the second such postponement.

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