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Latest News in Vail, AZ

Pima County supervisors vote to put Vail, Ariz., incorporation on the ballot for November election

Vail residents will vote — for the third time — in the November General Election to decide whether the unincorporated Pima County community south of Tucson should be allowed to incorporate.The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to put the incorporation of Vail on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election. This will be the third time community members have tried to incorporate, with the most recent effort in 2013.Incorporate Vail Arizona, a group of Vail business owners and residents who ...

Vail residents will vote — for the third time — in the November General Election to decide whether the unincorporated Pima County community south of Tucson should be allowed to incorporate.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to put the incorporation of Vail on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election. This will be the third time community members have tried to incorporate, with the most recent effort in 2013.

Incorporate Vail Arizona, a group of Vail business owners and residents who want to incorporate their community, collected enough signatures to put incorporation on the ballot. They had to collect at least 1,537 signatures of qualified electors within the proposed boundaries. The petitioners collected 2,542 signatures, and 2,058 were considered valid.

Reasons for disqualification of signatures ranged from missing addresses, signature on file did not match the signature on the petition, some signatures had missing dates, or multiples of the same signatures were found, among others.

For subscribers:These are some of the best public schools in Ariz.; Vail Unified District schools among them

Residents against the incorporation addressed the board during a public comment portion of the meeting, asking the board to not approve the petition to proceed to an election. However, county staff said the board was required to add the petition because petitioners collected the required number of signatures.

“The role of the board is essentially ministerial to call the election after a review is conducted of signature, the role of the Recorder and Election Department is to conduct that review,” said Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Samuel Brown. “Once the review is conducted, it is the board’s duty to call the election.

Supervisor Rex Scott said the board heard numerous complaints about Vail residents who thought their area should not have been included in the boundary.

County staff explained the issue would be for the courts to decide and was not in the purview of the board.

According to the county, if the election is successful and Vail is incorporated, that will result in additional revenue to the county.

Vail resident captures rarity:Trail cam confirms ocelot 'Lil' Jefe' still roams mountains of southeast Arizona

About 20,000 residents live in Vail which is just 23 miles southeast of Tucson. Those in support of incorporation said it would allow residents to have more control over the growth and development of their town and have access to state funds.

Reach the reporter at sarah.lapidus@gannett.com. The Republic’s coverage of southern Arizona is funded, in part, with a grant from Report for America. Support Arizona news coverage with a tax-deductible donation at supportjournalism.azcentral.com.

Vail voters reject becoming town; group won't rule out trying again

For the third time in the area’s history, Vail voters rejected incorporating the area southeast of Tucson into an official town.Tuesday’s election showed a 60-40 split against the incorporation effort.“Well, obviously we’re disappointed,” said Incorporate Vail Arizona President David Hook. “But we understand that that’s what the community wants.”Previous attempts in 1995 and 2013 returned the same results.When asked Wednesday about the possibility of future attempts,...

For the third time in the area’s history, Vail voters rejected incorporating the area southeast of Tucson into an official town.

Tuesday’s election showed a 60-40 split against the incorporation effort.

“Well, obviously we’re disappointed,” said Incorporate Vail Arizona President David Hook. “But we understand that that’s what the community wants.”

Previous attempts in 1995 and 2013 returned the same results.

When asked Wednesday about the possibility of future attempts, Hook suggested the group might consider it. “We haven’t met to decide what the next steps are, so I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said.

While the group hailed incorporation as a way for the historically rural area to gain local control, many dissenters aired concerns about higher taxes and uncontrolled growth.

If Vail incorporated it would be responsible for its own municipal services such as law enforcement, transportation and public works that Pima County government now provides.

Dissenters said incorporation would put residents on the hook for millions in new expenses, providing what they saw as many redundant services already provided by the county.

But the Incorporate Vail Arizona group told voters incorporation gives residents local control of the area instead of relying on the county to provide adequate services and divvy out its portion of state-shared funding to benefit the community.

As its own town, Vail would instead receive millions in state-shared funding for its own use.

Despite the failed vote, Hook said there were silver linings to be found.

The incorporation debate galvanized the community, fostering passionate engagement and strengthening relationships, both in favor of incorporation and just as neighbors, he said.

“There were a lot of new friends made and there were a lot of relationships that were solidified,” he said. “I think whenever you have people in a community come together for any reason, I think it’s good for your community.”

He reiterated that the incorporation effort was about giving the town the power to determine its own future, rather than making specific promises. “All it does is give them a voice, but you can’t tell them what that voice is going to say,” he said.

“The opposition was very, very forceful,” he added.

Eddie Celaya is a breaking news reporter and host of the “Here Weed Go!” podcast. He graduated from Pima Community College and the University of Arizona and has been with the Arizona Daily Star since May 2019.

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Tucson moves forward to annex, rezone land near Vail for industrial use

The Tucson City Council voted to annex 300 acres of land to be rezoned for industrial use south of the city. These parcels of land, at the entrance of Vail, caused consternation for residents and parents of a nearby school.The annexation passed on a 5 to 1 vote with Councilmember Steve Kozachik voting against the annexation of three separate parcels at the July 18 City Council meeting.In an email, Kozachik said he was concerned that the nearby residents whose neighborhoods are included in the ...

The Tucson City Council voted to annex 300 acres of land to be rezoned for industrial use south of the city. These parcels of land, at the entrance of Vail, caused consternation for residents and parents of a nearby school.

The annexation passed on a 5 to 1 vote with Councilmember Steve Kozachik voting against the annexation of three separate parcels at the July 18 City Council meeting.

In an email, Kozachik said he was concerned that the nearby residents whose neighborhoods are included in the Vail Incorporation vote were explicitly left out from the annexation, as requested by the state, and would have no say on the issue.

This is especially concerning with industrial zoning adjacent to their neighborhoods, he said. He also had concerns about the impact on water with heavy industrial uses. Kozachik said he wants the people who will be impacted to have a seat at the table.

Councilmember Nikki Lee, whose ward is closest to the annexed parcels, said she supports allowing the public outreach process to commence.

“Knowing that there is going to be a lot of opportunity to bring these concerns in and be very active part of this process … I do feel comfortable moving forward with a public process,” said Lee, whose ward borders the areas under discussion.

The three parcels are adjacent to a 2,000-acre planned development for large-scale industrial users in Ward 4 and are planned to be included in that development.

Community members worried about how future development will impact their lifestyle and children

One of the parcels, a 137-acre plot adjacent to Acacia Elementary School, drove concerned parents and school district staff, as well as community members, to speak up against annexation efforts. The annexation includes the land surrounding Acacia Elementary but excludes the school from annexation.

They voiced concerns at what annexing an area to house a large industrial complex would mean to the health and safety of the students at Acacia Elementary School.

One concerned father, David Lara, said he moved to Vail for his daughter. He wanted her to grow up having fun in nature.

“I don’t want her surrounded by a bunch of heavy industry. I don’t know what that is going to mean ... it is going to surround her school, she is going to be around it every single day,” he said.

Other people worried it would impact wildlife in the area and add traffic in a place known for its wide-open spaces and rural landscape.

Councilmember Kevin Dahl had similar concerns to Kozachik about water. He said that with these lands slated for development, the city would be better stewards of the land than if it stayed part of the county.

Dahl proposed looking at requiring industries to participate in the principle of net zero water, which he said would result in no additional use of water from the basin.

What does this annexation mean for Vail residents?

While last week's vote did not address zoning in the area, annexation had to first be established before considering zoning issues.

The law firm representing the state said members and nearby residents will be included in a neighborhood meeting during its public outreach period about future development of those parcels. There will also be a zoning examiner public hearing, where residents will be able to voice their concerns.

Nearby residents who will be notified will include Hansen Ridge residents, said Attorney Keri Silvyn with Lazarus & Silvyn, P.C., a land and zoning firm based in Phoenix and Tucson. The firm is also in discussion with the Vail School District superintendent about the district's concerns.

Mayor Regina Romero also supported the annexation process, reiterating how it would benefit Tucson with high-wage and long-term job opportunities. Romero also noted this is the beginning of the process, and there will be opportunity for feedback and input from Vail residents.

A small change?Tucson looks at easing regulations on tiny homes in city limits

Reach the reporter at sarah.lapidus@gannett.com.

The Republic’s coverage of southern Arizona is funded, in part, with a grant from Report for America. Support Arizona news coverage with a tax deductible donation at supportjournalism.azcentral.com.

List of Southern Arizona high school graduations

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Here is the schedule for the graduation ceremonies at high schools across Southern Arizona:Tucson Unified School DistrictWednesday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m.Innovation Tech High SchoolPalo Verde high school...

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Here is the schedule for the graduation ceremonies at high schools across Southern Arizona:

Tucson Unified School District

Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Innovation Tech High School

Palo Verde high school

Tucson High School

Sabino High School

University High School (Kino Stadium)

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Catalina High School/COLE

Cholla High School

Pueblo High School

Rincon High School

Sahuaro High School

Santa Rita High School

Vail Unified School District

Andrada High School

Friday, May 19 | 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

Pantano Christian Church, 1755 S Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ 85748

Cienega High School

Saturday, May 20 | 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Kino Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, 2500 E Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85713

Pantano High School

Monday, May 22 | 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Vail Theatre of the Arts, 10701 E Mary Ann Cleveland Way, Tucson, AZ 85747

Vail Academy and High School

Tuesday, May 23 | 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Vail Theatre of the Arts, 10701 E Mary Ann Cleveland Way, Tucson, AZ 85747

Vail Innovation Center

Wednesday, May 24 | 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Vail Theatre of the Arts, 10701 E Mary Ann Cleveland Way, Tucson, AZ 85747

Mica Mountain High School

Thursday, May 25, from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Mica Mountain High School, 10800 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85747

Marana Unified School District

Mountain View High School

Tuesday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Mountain View High School Wayne Jones Field Livestream Link

Total number of graduates: 393

Valedictorian: Rachel Pixley

Marana High School

Wednesday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m.

Marana High School Football Field Livestream Link

Total number of graduates: 468

Valedictorian: Katherine North-Morris

MCAT High School

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Marana Middle School Auditorium Livestream Link

Total number of graduates: 98

Sunnyside Unified School District

Desert View High School

Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Star Academic High School

Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 pm

Sunnyside High School

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Amphitheater Public School District

Iron Ridge High School

Wednesday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m.

Amphi High School

Thursday, May 18, at 7:00 p.m.

Sahuarita Unified School District

Sahuarita High School

Thursday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Walden Grove High School

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Flowing Wells Unified School District

Flowing Wells High School

Wednesday, May 24,

Sentinel Peak High School

Monday, May 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Catalina Foothills School District

Catalina Foothills High School

Thursday, May 25, from 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Sierra Vista Unified School District

Buena High School

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Tanque Verde Unified School District

Tanque Verde High School

Tuesday, May 23, from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Bisbee Unified School District

Bisbee High School

Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.

Tombstone Unified School District

Tombstone High School

Thursday, May 18, at 7:00 p.m.

Benson Unified School District

Benson High School

Friday, May 19 at 7:15 p.m.

Douglas Unified School District

Douglas High School

Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Willcox Unified School District

Wilcox High School

Thursday, May 25, at 7:00 p.m.

Be sure to subscribe to the 13 News YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/@13newskold

Copyright 2023 13 News. All rights reserved.

Front Page Fiasco in Vail: Incorporation article sparks controversy

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — UPDATED (12/12) — A push to incorporate the community of Vail into a town or city is moving forward, but now also being held back by controversy.The "Incorporate Vail, AZ?" committee plans to put the incorporation question on the ballot next fall. Committee members announce...

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — UPDATED (12/12) — A push to incorporate the community of Vail into a town or city is moving forward, but now also being held back by controversy.

The "Incorporate Vail, AZ?" committee plans to put the incorporation question on the ballot next fall. Committee members announced that news at a community meeting at Cienega High School on Thursday, Dec. 1.

The Vail Voice—a monthly newspaper serving Vail and Southeast Tucson—featured an article on the front page of its December issue that recapped the meeting.

However, that issue was published and mailed to homes in Vail as early as Wednesday, Nov. 30, before the meeting actually took place.

The article featured quotes, details and observations from a meeting still days away.

"Incorporate Vail, AZ?" president David Hook says there was no intent to deceive anyone.

The Vail Voice said they would be able to hold off mailing The Vail Voice until December 3rd,” he said. “[The committee] wrote it as though there was a reporter there in the room… We agreed that it would be OK for her to have that information in The Vail Voice, as long as it wasn’t delivered to people until after the meeting.”

However, when the paper went out before the meeting, confusion and concern broke out on social media sites like Nextdoor and Facebook.

“It became more obvious that we weren’t supposed to know this was pre-written,” said Vail resident Chuck Decker. “I was upset. I still am. [Incorporation] is an important question.”

Decker and others believe the article being written before the event took place damages the committee’s and the newspaper’s integrities.

“If they did this once, what did they do that I don’t know?” said Decker. “And what are they doing next?”

“Are they credible? Are they actually telling us what the truth is?” asked Jessica Ogiba, another Vail resident.

Last week, Hook told KGUN “everything in the article came true,” explaining that the committee knew the meeting schedule and who would be speaking ahead of time.

But some readers also took issue with certain excerpts from the article, which seemed to anticipate that the community’s response to the incorporation meeting would be positive:

• “Promptly at 5:30 p.m. the doors were open and long line [sic] of awaiting residents rushed to occupy the best seats in Cienega High School’s student union.”

• “The news was greeted with claps and cheers. And history was made.”

Vail residents also criticized the committee and newspaper for not having a quicker or stronger response to the controversy.

“I was just more disappointed to see that they didn’t try and handle it immediately,” said Ogiba.

After an apology was posted on the committee website on Wednesday, Dec. 7, The Vail Voice held a town hall on Zoom to hear concerns from the community on Thursday, Dec. 8., where Hook apologized to listeners.

“It’s completely our fault and we completely own this,” he said. “And it may end up in major changes moving forward… We cannot let an organization that’s trying to represent the people of Vail have any hint of impropriety.”

The Vail Voice owner and editor Lucretia Free clarified at the beginning of the meeting that the newspaper "does not take a position on issues and has no paid reporters," using volunteer writers for content.

Anne Gibson writes for the paper and wrote the controversial article. She also served as "Incorporate Vail, AZ?"'s Director at Large.

“I’m truly, truly sorry,” she said during the virtual town hall. “It has been the most humiliating and embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me."

She later added, "I truly, truly believe that incorporation is the best thing for Vail, but I don’t expect you to believe anything I say.”

Gibson did not say why she wrote the article as if the meeting had already happened.

Now when it comes to the incorporation debate, people in Vail say they just want clarity.

“I would hope it would resolve itself in some way,” Decker said of the situation. “So that the community would get honest, straightforward, trustworthy information, that people could make a decision.”

When asked for an interview, Free instead directed KGUN to the virtual town hall meeting and provided a link to the audio recording.

Allison DeRoque Platt confirmed to KGUN she resigned on her own as an "Incorporate Vail, AZ?" committee member on Monday, Dec. 5 because of The Vail Voice article incident.

Nancy Campman-Crofts told KGUN she also resigned from the committee, but says it was because her work responsibilities increased.

In a new apology posted Sunday night, the "Incorporate Vail, AZ?" committee said Gibson has resigned as her role as Director at Large.

The post described Gibson as "just an overly enthusiastic 83-year-old woman, that has been serving this community for decades, projecting her excitement for our community to become a real town."

On Monday, Hook described to KGUN the committee’s approval process used for the original article. Hook said that while Gibson emailed the article to committee members before publication, he is unsure how many, if any, read it.

Hook said only Gibson, the committee’s communications director, and himself, the director, were required to officially sign off on the article before sending it to The Vail Voice. Hook says he was out of town and never formally approved the article before it was sent to the newspaper for publication.

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