Council Overturns Land Split


"The town's obligation is to carry out its code, it has nothing to do with CC and Rs," Community Development Director Bob Gould told the council as it opened a hearing to appeal a land split approved by its Planning and Zoning Commission.

CC and Rs are covenants, conditions and restrictions -- set of rules established either by the developer or home owners association to limit activities and changes in subdivisions.

The commission approved a lot split for 1100 West Remuda Way in October at the request of its owners, Molly and Gene Valdini. The split created two lots of one acre and 2.27 acres, meeting the requirements of the town's code, according to Gould.

The appeal was brought to the Jan. 16 council meeting by Jeanne and Andrew Bowles, who, in their appeal application, claimed, "... the commission ... had no jurisdiction to approve any subdivision of the land. Such a subdivision is in direct violation of the declaration of restrictions which run with the subject property."

The Bowleses own the property to the west side of the Valdinis.

Andrew Bowles said he was surprised by the council decision, but pleased.

As for Valdini, he said, "I think it was crazy. They opened a can of worms for themselves. They seem to think they're attorneys. They're not supposed to do anything with CC and Rs. I lost a sale on the property because of it. I don't know what recourse I have, but I will be seeking one."

Speaking against the commission's action, Councilor Judy Buettner said, "I'm really uncomfortable with this. A lot doesn't seem right. I know we don't have to support CC and Rs, but it seems this person (Valdini) knew these (were in place) when he bought the property."

Councilor Robert Henley said he agreed with Buettner.

"Deed restrictions were in place and now we have people wanting to amend them," he said.

Doreen "Dee" Sams, another property owner in Rodeo Ranches, and a former Realtor, said, "Our deed restrictions were in place before the town incorporated. They have been in place for 33 years. (Ignoring them) will devalue five homes. The Valdinis knew this was a single lot. The town accepted us the way we were and it should stay that way, not change it so someone can make money."

Councilor Dick Reese also said he was uncomfortable, but not for the same reasons voiced by Buettner and Henley.

"I'm uncomfortable taking someone else's word that (the Valdinis) knew the restrictions," Reese said.

Valdini said when he and his wife bought their property, the person who sold it to them said they could split it.

"I should have read the documents, I know, but I didn't," Valdini said. "We legally amended the deed restrictions with 51 percent of the property owners signing and filed it in Globe. We did everything we were told to do, even before we applied for the split."

Among the documents filed with the appeal is a statement from the Bowles' attorney, Denny Dobbins of Mesa, saying the way in which Valdini obtained approval for amending the deed restrictions was not in accordance with the requirements of the deed restrictions.

Valdini had individual statements signed by 51 percent of the property owners. The deed restrictions require a meeting, a discussion and a vote.

Jon Barber, another property owner in the subdivision, said he had received no notice that the CC and Rs had changed or any request to change them.

Town attorney Sam Streichman cautioned the council.

"Postpone this and let them go to court and let a judge decide," he said. "It would be a mistake (for the council) to get into something it is not equipped to do."

Ignoring their attorney's advice, the council voted 6-1 to overturn the decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The only vote in opposition was that of Bryan Siverson -- local Realtor -- who said, "It's apples and oranges. Our job is to look after the apples -- the town code."

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