Tusayan lawsuit dropped

Town council moves forward, no further suits planned

<br>Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN<br>
A lawsuit challenging the recent incorporation of Tusayan was dropped recently, according to officials involved in the suit.

<br>Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN<br> A lawsuit challenging the recent incorporation of Tusayan was dropped recently, according to officials involved in the suit.

TUSAYAN, Ariz. - No more lawsuit.

Those were the words on the lips of a number of residents in the Tusayan area after news that a lawsuit, one seeking to halt the recent incorporation of the community, has been dropped. The recent lawsuit was filed by area resident Bess Foster who, citing a lack of support from local and state agencies, has decided to abandon the long running lawsuit. There are currently no plans for a new suit to be filed in the matter.

Tusayan Mayor Pete Shearer said in a July 2 statement that he believes it is a time for the healing process to begin in the community, which has been divided over the incorporation issue for a number of years.

"Our country was once divided by a terrible Civil War that tore through the heart of the fabric that makes us human. My great, great, great grandfather proudly fought in that war. I grew up four miles from the Mason-Dixon Line and only 25 miles from the Gettysburg battlefield. And though there are still rumblings that the South will rise again, we have emerged to become the greatest nation on Earth to protect human freedoms and stand up for human rights," Shearer said. "More recently, Tusayan has seen a battle that has divided us and created a chasm as deep as the Grand Canyon itself. We have been informed that the lawsuit is settled and that we will stay incorporated. And so the battle is over. Now is the time for us to commence the healing process."

As mayor of the community, Shearer said he lives in the area out of a love for the people who live there.

"My family and friends live here for the same reason," he said. "This is truly an incredible little community. We all love it in our own ways, but we all love it here and want to make it an even better place to live. Let us put our political feelings aside and start to work cooperatively on making this the best possible community it can be. The entire State of Arizona is watching and, if we cannot rise to the challenge and come together to work on our common goals, we will not accomplish anything."

Shearer said he and the Tusayan Town Council have been working diligently to form the local government over the last few months.

"Our common goal is to work for the greater good of the community," Shearer said. "I ask that the residents of Tusayan do the same. The battles are over. It is time for us to come together to make affordable housing a reality. It is time for us to join forces to create a model sustainable community. It is long past due for us to have a town park. We cannot continue to dwell on the past. If the town council is to succeed, we need the community to stand beside us to share ideas and visions to make them a reality."

The lawsuit, originally filed in April, sought to overturn the March election that resulted in the incorporation of the Tusayan community. Lifelong resident Bess Foster, who said she didn't believe the area qualified for incorporation for a number of reasons, including population numbers and other issues, filed the suit. Named in the suit were members of the new Tusayan Interim Town Council, which included Foster's sister Clarinda Vail, one of five members appointed to the position by a special advisory committee to the Coconino County Board of Supervisors. Each member of the council was handed a subpoena to appear in court immediately after they signed their Oaths of Office April 6. Tusayan's Interim Town Council held their first public meeting April 7.

Voters in the Tusayan area voted yes on incorporation March 9. A total of 116 votes were tallied on the yes side, with 71 votes cast against incorporation. The election marked the third such attempt for incorporation in recent years. While voters said no to incorporation in 2008, a second attempt was halted due to legal issues.

An official election for members of the Tusayan Town Council will be held in Aug. 24. Nine contenders have thrown their hats in the political ring hoping for seats on the five-members town council.

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