Charlie Arnold has stepped down from the board presidency of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce in Chino Valley, Ariz., to devote his energies to fighting a referendum drive against a recreational vehicle park project, the Sun Shopper reported.
Arnold said he also announced his resignation Wednesday (Sept. 8) during a chamber luncheon to be “above reproach.” The resignation will go into effect by the end of the month to allow for an orderly succession, and Arnold will remain as a member.
“I want to have the ability, whether politically or legally, to devote my time to this referendum issue,” said Arnold, 25, who has headed the chamber board since July 2009. “I made the choice on my own.”
Arnold said he wants to represent his client, Jack Tuls Jr. of Las Vegas, Nev., as a businessman and not as chamber president.
He announced his resignation eight days after Protect Our Rural Lifestyle submitted petitions to Town Clerk Jami Lewis to seek to overturn a July 22 decision of the town council. The council voted 6-1 that evening to rezone 17 acres on the south side of East Road 3-1/2 North, about 400 feet east of Highway 89, to accommodate plans by Tuls to build a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) RV campground at the location.
Opponents claim heavy-commercial zoning at the location conflicts with nearby homes. Arnold and other supporters believe the KOA, and other commercial development on land Tuls owns, will create jobs and stimulate economic development.
Petition drive organizer Candy Blakeslee, who attended the luncheon as a chamber member, said her opposition is nothing personal.
“This is about a project, not about specific people,” Blakeslee said. “This is about commercial-heavy zoning next to residential. It is not against Mr. Arnold. It is not against Mr. Tuls.”
She referred comments about Arnold’s decision to the person who chairs the committee, who could not be reached for comment.
Tuls, who also attended the luncheon, said Arnold notified him a few days ago about his intention to resign from the chamber presidency.
“He does not want the chamber in the middle of it,” Tuls said. “He definitely is making a good decision.”
Tuls said about 50 people approached Arnold offering their support after he announced his resignation. The chamber has more than 350 members.
Concurring, Chino Valley Mayor Jim Bunker said Arnold did not want to divide the chamber by playing an active role in the referendum, adding some project opponents belong to the chamber.
Meanwhile, Lewis, the town clerk, said Wednesday that she has until Sept. 29 to forward the petitions to the Yavapai County Recorder’s Office.
“That is our deadline,” Lewis said. “My intention is to get them (submitted) a week ahead of time.”
Lewis is reviewing 446 signatures that Blakeslee’s group turned in Aug. 31. The figure is well above the 188 minimum based on the number of voters who participated in the council election in 2009.
Lewis previously said the earliest date a referendum could take place is next March, the same time as the next council primary election.