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Arizona Court of Appeals Rules on Proposition 480

The Arizona Court of Appeals Division One in Phoenix heard arguments last Thursday regarding the accuracy of the local referendum Prop 480 and issued a ruling yesterday (Monday, August 21, 2023) that keeps Prop 480 on the fall 2023 city ballot.  Counsel for Northern Arizona Healthcare contended the referendum’s description failed to include the construction of our new hospital, and focused on aspects of future development which cannot be built on the site including retail and commercial.   In a statement, Northern Arizona Healthcare said the following:

“NAH had appealed an earlier court decision about the rezoning referendum because the language of the petition asks voters whether they want the land rezoned for retail and commercial development, and makes no mention of a hospital, which is the primary permitted use of the site.

NAH supports the public’s right to refer the Flagstaff City Council’s June 2023 zoning approval to the November city ballot. It was the misleading language of the referendum petition that prompted the court challenge. Voters who signed the petition did so on the misrepresentation that NAH will be constructing retail and commercial buildings, rather than what it is actually permitted to build: a hospital and ambulatory care center. In fact, NAH is strictly prohibited from opening retail and commercial businesses on the land in question, and can only construct a hospital, ambulatory care center, open space and parking on the rezoned site.

In light of the decision, NAH is prepared to inform Flagstaff city voters that the referendum listed on the ballot as Proposition 480 is about building a hospital, not about building retail and commercial development.

The concerns of the community are important to NAH, which is why it spent years developing this proposal, holding community meetings and adapting the plan to respond to community concerns. The organization recognizes that members of the Flagstaff community desire more information about the project, and NAH is committed to continuing to engage with residents, including about future plans for the reuse of the current hospital site.”

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