City clerk to hear Brady Trucking petitions dispute

A fight between a trucking company and a conservation group over how the company’s land along the Colorado River should be zoned will move into a municipal courtroom this morning.

Representatives for Brady Trucking and Western Colorado Congress are expected to present oral arguments before the city clerk about whether petitions seeking to change the zoning are sufficient. The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall and could last for several hours.

The Grand Junction City Council in September approved a mixture of industrial-office and light-industrial zoning for 13 acres of land near 27 1/2 and C 1/2 roads. Western Colorado Congress subsequently organized a petition drive asking the City Council to either reverse itself and approve mixed-use zoning for Brady Trucking’s property or let voters decide the issue.

City Clerk Stephanie Tuin determined that organizers collected 1,864 signatures — four more than the minimum required to place a referendum on the ballot. The petitions asked two questions: whether to repeal the zoning instituted by the City Council and whether to substitute mixed-use zoning.

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke filed a protest of the petitions last month on behalf of Brady. She volunteered to do so as a private citizen, not as a chamber representative, because whoever filed the protest had to be a registered voter and resident of the city. Brady Trucking is based in Vernal, Utah.

The protest raised six arguments:

•  The notary public, Candi Clark, should be disqualified because she has an interest in the petitions.

•  None of the petition sections contained the names and address of two people representing the petition proponents, as required by state law.

•  The second question, which seeks to implement mixed-use zoning, should be
disqualified because private citizens don’t have the right to rezone property.

•  The petitions circulated among voters were different than those submitted to the city clerk and contained information that was “inaccurate, prejudicial and misled the voters.”

•  Four petition sections are invalid because they contain voter signatures dated after the petition sections were notarized. Also, 22 people who signed the petitions either are not registered city voters or live somewhere other than where they indicated on the petitions.

•  The petitions are invalid because they were submitted too late to meet the requirements of the city’s charter.

Tuin said Thursday she must determine whether the petitions are sufficient but declined to say what the implications would be of her ruling, either way. She has five days to issue a written ruling.


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