Maranans who hoped to vote next month on whether Red Point Development can build a subdivision near a wildlife corridor will have to wait.
The Arizona Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 reversed a decision by a Pima County Superior Court judge that would have put the question to voters in March.
But the legal wrestling may not be over yet.
“There’s a good chance that we will appeal that decision to the Arizona Supreme Court,” said Carolyn Campbell, a Marana resident and executive director for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, which opposes building near the wildlife corridor. “It won’t be on the March ballot, but it could be on the May ballot.”
However, the Appeals Court decision came too late for county election officials to remove the measure from printed Marana ballots. Officials will include a notice with all ballots saying votes for that question won’t be tallied.
The case revolves around the DeAnza Specific Plan, which the Marana Town Council approved in October 2007.
The plan calls for a 311-lot subdivision east of Interstate 10 and just north of Cortaro Road. Town officials said it would balance suburban living and natural open spaces.
Environmentalists said the plan ignores the consequences of building on sensitive lands. The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection started a petition and collected about 600 signatures needed for a referendum that would give Marana voters a chance to decide whether to keep the DeAnza plan.
The town accepted the signatures, which prompted attorneys representing Red Point Development to sue on April 25, 2008. The attorneys said the referendum was untimely because the petitioners turned in their signatures two days past their Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007 deadline. (Marana officials gave the petitioners until Dec. 10 because the town office had closed for the weekend.)
A Pima County Superior Court judge ruled in early December 2008 that signatures were valid. The attorneys representing Red Point Development appealed and won.
The town as of last Friday, Feb. 6, had yet to receive a detailed explanation of why the Appeals Court overturned the lower court decision.