A committee aiming to stop the construction of APEX Motor Club in Maricopa turned in more than twice the number of signatures needed for a referendum.
The Maricopa Citizens Protecting Tax Payers Political Action Committee was granted its request to file its 86 petitions Friday, when City Hall is usually closed. Its workers collected 1,133 signatures. For a referendum, it needed 491.
The Maricopa City Council approved a conditional use permit for APEX in April. At the meeting a couple of residents expressed concerns about the project while others spoke in favor. The referendum is an attempt to force the city’s approval to a public vote.
Robert Rebich, who is listed as chairman of the opposition committee with a Phoenix address, did not return phone calls.
Former attorney general Grant Woods has said he represents local opponents of the private racing complex, primarily complaining about potential noise and traffic. Woods’ clients and anti-APEX social media group Speed Kills Maricopa (which hasn’t posted since April 26) remain anonymous.
But Jason Plotke made no bones about who he thinks is behind the opposition, namely people connected to Attesa Motorsports Complex in Casa Grande.
Plotke is the president of Private Motor Sports, which is developing APEX on a Maricopa parcel on the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road. Though he has no paperwork linking the names with the committee, he said there were previously-overheard threats that caused him to connect the dots.
Rebich, he said, is just the “henchman” for the Snell & Wilmer law firm, lobbyist Joe Villasenor and Attesa officials. Plotke said he had already heard from mutual acquaintances that Attesa was intent on stopping the APEX complex. Attesa also did not respond to inquiries.
Plotke also claimed petition circulators “lied” about the purpose of the anti-APEX referendum to get signatures by telling the public the referendum was in support of APEX.
Plotke said he does not see APEX as competition for Attesa.
“We’re just one small component of what they’re attempting to do,” he said. “And they need to look after their own project. They don’t have zoning yet.”
APEX is staying on its current schedule until the signatures are validated and a special election is possibly called.
Plotke said he is leaning on the “tremendous support” his company has received from residents and City Council and is working to create a facility that will be in Maricopa for a “long, long time.”
Statement by APEX Motor Sports Club Regarding Referendum Filing In Maricopa:
Led by controversial Phoenix lobbyist Joe Villasenor, the outsiders trying to slow our new automobile country club in Maricopa have sunk to a new low. Unable to find a single Maricopa resident to serve as Chairman or Treasurer of their campaign committee, Villasenor, likely on behalf of a similar project in Casa Grande, hired paid petition circulators to misrepresent and in some cases lie about Apex.
They did so in order to try and force a public vote on the project. Apparently, they believe their own project [is] so insufficient that they cannot compete with ours. Whether Villasenor, Dan Erickson, Grant Woods and the law firm of Snell and Wilmer will continue their shameless, selfish ways and go to any lengths to challenge the City Council’s decision remains to be seen.
None of us should be surprised if they again try to waste Maricopa’s time and money seeking only to benefit themselves and deny the new business and tourism Apex will mean for the community.
Finally, we would like to thank the overwhelming support we have received in Maricopa, from Mayor Price to the City Council to our closest neighbors. We were excited about making the decision to invest in Maricopa. We are even more so after the tremendous reception.