A history of more than a decade of failed state land reform measures continued last month due to a shortage of signatures needed to get an initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative would have given the Arizona State Land Department more control over its finances, allowing them to hire personnel to investigate and plot land use before developers bought it piece by piece. The measure was also an attempt to conserve more than half a million acres of state trust land.

Approximately one third of Pinal County is state trust land. According to Supervisor Sandie Smith, had the measure passed, local governments would have been able to coordinate and plan with the state to develop infrastructure and land use.

If Pinal County, as some planning experts believe, is the site of Arizona’s next growth movement from Phoenix to Tucson, lack of planning could have disastrous effects on that development.

Patrick Graham headed the coalition attempting to get the land reform issue on the ballot. The coalition unsuccessfully challenged the Arizona Secretary of State’s ruling that they were 20,000 signatures short of becoming a citizens’ initiative. As a result, the land reform measure will not appear on the November ballot again this year.

Map courtesy of Arizona State Land Department

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