CHINO VALLEY, AZ- After 13 years of debate, a longstanding dispute between Cortez Enterprises, Inc. and the Town of Chino Valley is finally coming to an end. The announcement was made following an executive session during the February 25, 2014 Town Council meeting where lawyers for both the Town and Cortez Enterprises were able to come to a settlement agreement.
The dispute began in 2001 with a pre-annexation agreement between the Town and the owners of nearly 500 acres south of Outer Loop Road and east of Highway 89. The agreement would allow the town to extend existing roads and also provide property owners access to the highway, making it easier to develop those properties.
Over the years the town was unable to obtain right of ways from neighboring property, including both privately held and state owned land.
The delay resulted in a lawsuit filed in 2006 by Cortez Enterprises, Inc. claiming that by failing to complete the terms of the annexation agreement, Cortez Enterprises was unable to develop the land.
“Part of the annexation agreement was that we would extend Road 4 South out to their property,” said Mayor Chris Marley. “Unfortunately that agreement was difficult to fulfill. What we have done this evening is sign an agreement to hopefully settle that lawsuit.”
Town Manager Robert Smith said that in recent month’s circumstances have come together allowing the Town and Cortez Enterprises to finally find a solution that works for both parties.
The settlement opens the way for a project that will eventually extend Road 4 South and Center Street to the Peavine right of way, and create a road along the Peavine, connecting Center and 4 South.
Smith said the land is available to complete this project without disturbing the Peavine Trail.
“We’re able to use our Transportation Impact Fees to do this. If we had to come out of the General Fund with this we’d never be able to afford it,” said Smith.
Smith said the road expansion project will make way for development in areas that are currently locked in without access.
Specifics of the settlement, including appraised values, were not made public pending final signatures. Complete details are scheduled to be announced at the next council meeting on March 11, 2014.