Petition fight is only part of battle

It will be several days before we know the results of last Friday’s legal confrontation over petitions involving Brady Trucking and its industrial zoning along the riverfront.

City Clerk Stephanie Tuin must determine whether Grand Junction voters will have the chance to overturn zoning for Brady’s land during April’s city election, or whether challenges raised by Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke are sufficient to disqualify the petitions and keep the issue off the ballot.

But, regardless of how Tuin rules, members of the Grand Junction City Council and those who hope to become council members in the April election need to be formulating plans for how they think the riverfront should develop.

We have made no secret of the fact that we don’t believe industrial zoning is appropriate for the riverfront as it passes through the heart of Grand Junction. But we certainly don’t believe Brady Trucking is at fault in this.

As a letter on this page today notes, and as many others in the community have made clear, Brady took a piece of property that was in deplorable condition, that was an eyesore, with dilapidated buildings and smelly remnants from the rendering plant that once stood there, and spent thousands of dollars cleaning it up.

Moreover, Brady did everything it was required to do in going through the city zoning process and winning approval from the City Council for its rezoning.

But citizens who objected to that rezoning have acted within city rules, as well. They obtained signatures on a petition to place measures on the ballot, asking voters to overturn the zoning approved by the council and replace it with mixed-use zoning.

Tuin ruled last month they only had four more than the minimum number of valid signatures required to get a measure on the ballot, and Schwenke has challenged the validity of several of the signatures Tuin approved. Schwenke has also raised a number of questions about whether the petitions were technically correct when they were being circulated, whether city deadlines were met and whether citizens can rezone property through the ballot.

We don’t envy Tuin. No matter how she rules in this case, she will anger a good many people.

And no matter how she rules, questions will remain about how the remainder of the riverfront should be developed through the central part of the city and how that goal can best be achieved.

Grand Junction citizens will be waiting to hear those answers from their current and prospective City Council members.


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