Opponents of riverfront industrial zoning for Brady Trucking take fight to City Hall
Standing before stacks of petitions and a sign that read “Protect our Riverfront,” a group of citizens declared Friday they have enough signatures to potentially reverse a Grand Junction City Council decision that would allow industrial zoning along the Colorado River in south downtown.
About 20 people gathered at an afternoon news conference, where Western Colorado Congress members and other residents announced they collected more than 2,500 signatures on petitions that would ask voters to repeal the council’s decision and instead approve mixed-use zoning for nearly 13 acres along the north bank of the river.
The group later turned in the petitions to the City Clerk’s Office, which could take a week to verify the signatures. A minimum of 1,860 signatures — 10 percent of registered city residents who voted in the 2006 election — are needed for a potential ballot measure to proceed.
Petitioners have been working to drum up opposition since Sept. 17, the night that council members approved light industrial and industrial-office park zoning for Utah-based Brady Trucking’s property near 27 1/2 and C 1/2 roads.
Friday was the deadline petitioners had to meet in order to prevent the ordinance allowing industrial zoning from taking effect.
Should the city clerk verify that the group has collected at least 1,860 valid signatures, the council could either repeal its own ordinance and approve mixed-use zoning or place the issue before voters.
In the latter instance, council members would decide whether to put the questions on the ballot during the April municipal election or call a special election before then.
Western Colorado Congress member and Orchard Mesa resident Janet Magoon said volunteers circulated petitions in their neighborhoods, workplaces and at businesses and retail shops that gave them permission. They also gathered signatures during an Oct. 18 event at Hawthorne Park.
“We never let down for a minute,” she said.
Bennett Boeschenstein, a former planning director for Mesa County, Grand Junction and Fruita, said industrial zoning isn’t compatible with the city’s plans to develop Las Colonias Park and years worth of efforts to restore the riverfront. The area once was home to a uranium mill tailings pile and hundreds of junked cars.
“Putting industrial zoning on the river makes no sense planning-wise,” Boeschenstein said.
Officials with Brady Trucking, a heavy equipment and oil field services company that hauls sand used in drilling, claim their business has been mischaracterized.
They contend there are no hazardous materials involved in their operation and note they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to tear down a rendering plant that used to operate on the property and to clean up the area.