Another lawsuit has been filed against the city regarding the construction of a private motorsports track in Maricopa.
The suit, filed in Pinal County Superior Court July 19 by former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods on behalf of Maricopa resident Bonita Burks, alleges legal missteps by the Maricopa City Council in granting a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Scottsdale based Private Motorsports Group to construct a private racetrack in Maricopa named Apex Motor Club.
The argument presented in the suit is three-fold.
First, the suit alleges the Maricopa City Council “misinterpreted and misapplied” the city’s zoning codes “resulting in action contrary to law and in excess of their legal authority.”
The suit argues the land in question, a 280-acre plot on the northwest corner of Ralston Road and State Route 238, which is classified under the city’s “old code” as an “Industrial Zone” could not be granted a CUP without first being rezoned for commercial use under the city’s “new code.”
The new code, adopted Dec. 4, 2014, does not contain Industrial Use Permits (IUP), which the suit alleges is necessary to allow for the construction of a racetrack.
The city argues in its analysis that a CUP is “the most compatible zoning application” and is “being reviewed with a level of scrutiny as an IUP.”
Second, the suit alleges an ordinance enacted by city council to speed up the referendum process also violated the law.
City Council enacted the ordinance (17-07) as a result of an Application for Referendum filed by a group called Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, which is seeking to force a public vote on the decision to grant Private Motorsports Group a CUP.
The ordinance, forces proposed referendums to occur during the “next,” or soonest, general election in an attempt to “make the process more timely and for the efficient administration of City services and elections.”
The lawsuit claims the city “declared an ‘emergency,’ and stated the purported purpose for Ordinance Number 17-07 was to ‘preserve the peace, health and safety of the city of Maricopa.’”
The Application for Referendum was ultimately denied on the basis that the granting of the CUP was “an administrative act, rather than a legislative act and, therefore, not subject to referendum.”
Maricopa Citizens Protecting Tax Payers filed suit against the city in June regarding the application denial.
Finally, the suit filed by Burks alleges the proposed racetrack will “result in, among other things, significantly increased noise, odors, dust, gas, and smoke emanating from the property, all of which uniquely and negatively affect Plantiff’s use and enjoyment of her property.”
Burks’ home is roughly five miles from the proposed site.
The suit also asserts the track will result in “significantly increased traffic resulting in longer drive times, increased fuel consumption, and creates an increased safety risk to Plaintiff who travels in the area on a frequent basis.”
In the past, Apex President Jason Plotke has emphasized that the track would be a “private facility,” closed to the general public, which would see a maximum of “a couple hundred people,” during a full day’s time.
Burks is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting “any further action related to the Conditional Use Permit to PMG… until such time as the court has made a decision on Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory judgement.”
The suit asks the court to reverse the CUP, to void Ordinance 17-07 and for reimbursement of legal costs.
Burks has not yet returned a request for comment.