The Arizona Court of Appeals has overruled a judgment against Maricopa regarding its actions on a proposed private racetrack.
The court, presided over by Judge Christopher P. Staring, stated the trial court erred when it ordered the city clerk to forward petitions to the county recorder. The trial court “is directed to enter judgment in favor of appellants by 5 p.m. Sept. 7.”
The full decision has not yet been released.
The ruling gives new life to Apex Motor Club, which seeks to develop land on the northwest corner of town.
“Obviously, I think, the city is elated,” Mayor Christian Price said.
The case stems from the city’s approval of a conditional use permit for the project, which is owned by Private Motorsports Group. A political action committee called Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers circulated a petition to force the decision to a public vote.
Though the group gathered enough signatures, City Clerk Vanessa Bueras declined to forward random samples to the Pinal County Recorder’s Office for verification. Bueras explained the approval of the permit was administrative rather than legislative and therefore not subject to referendum.
MCPT then filed suit against the city and Apex. Judge Robert Olson sided with MCPT, and the city appealed his ruling.
Price said the Appeals Court ruling upheld the mandate of local control. The mayor said that means the Nov. 7 election date is quashed.
But this is just one battle in a war over the Apex project. Next week, a hearing is set on a suit filed against the city regarding the zoning of the property, which could affect the MCPT case if the PAC chooses to appeal.
“I don’t mean to celebrate too early, Price said.
The Appeals Court ruling today, however, adds weight to the city’s case.
Apex Motor Club is hosting a previously planned public event tonight at 5:30 at Elements Event Center to explain the project to Maricopans.