VOL. 19  ISSUE NO. 2   |   JANUARY 9 – 15, 2013


Clearing up confusion over referendums

So, voting ‘yes’ will uphold the change in zoning, while voting ‘no’ will revert the zoning back to DR-89
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jim peirceCAVE CREEK – On Dec. 18, 2012, Carefree resident Jim Peirce (r) formed a political action committee (PAC) to refer Cave Creek Ordinance No. 02012-08, changing the underlying zoning of two Cave Creek parcels located northwest of the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway from Desert Rural (DR-89) to General Commercial, to voters in May.

He named the PAC: Preserve Cave Creek’s Spirit of the Desert in Support of REF2012-01.

On Dec. 31, needing 109 valid signatures to qualify the referendum for the May ballot, Peirce turned in 167 petition signatures to Cave Creek Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek, including signatures collected by former councilwoman Grace Meeth and current council candidate Mike Durkin.

Since Peirce spoke in opposition to the ordinance during the public hearing, it was unclear why his PAC name indicates support, until reading his “Proposed Ballot Measure Text” submitted to Dyrek along with his signature petitions.

His proposed language states, “A ‘yes’ vote shall have the effect of returning the zoning designation on two parcels … to Desert Rural Residential (DR-89). A ‘no’ vote shall have the effect of retaining the new General Commercial (GC) zoning designation.”

carrie dyrekThe problem is that’s not how a referendum works, as Dyrek (l) pointed out.

A referendum places the ordinance on the ballot whereas voters will decide, as did council, whether they are in favor or opposed to the ordinance.

The ordinance changes the underlying zoning of the two parcels from DR-89 to GC.

So, voting “yes” will uphold the change in zoning, while voting “no” will revert the zoning back to DR-89, the complete opposite of Peirce’s proposed language.

Excluding weekends and holidays, Dyrek has 20 days from the time Peirce turned in the petitions to submit the random sampling of signatures to Maricopa County for verification.

The random sampling of 5 percent of the signatures is decided by a program through the secretary of state’s office and then those signatures are verified by the county.

The county has 15 days, excluding weekends and holidays to verify the sampling. If it passes the threshold for valid signatures the referendum will be placed on the ballot.

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