The process is advancing for qualifying a measure for a future townwide ballot to let voters in Chino Valley, Ariz., decide the fate of a proposed Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground in their city.

Town Clerk Jami Lewis said she submitted a random sample of 22 signatures — 5% of 424 eligible signatures altogether — to the Yavapai County Voter Registration Thursday morning (Sept. 23). She said she completed her review of the petition drive from Protect Our Rural Lifestyle Wednesday, the Prescott Daily Courier reported.

“Basically, we had to determine how many signatures were eligible for a random sample verification,” Lewis said. She added Voter Registration has 10 working days — until Oct. 7 — to certify the signatures for verification.

Registrar of Voters Karen McCracken corroborated Lewis’s account and explained, “Our process is looking at the ones that are selected for the random sampling. And we verify through our voter registration database that they (the signers) are registered voters within the town of Chino Valley, and we verify their signatures.”

McCracken said she hopes her staff completes the task by the end of next week.

She and Lewis said the right exists to challenge the signatures with the goal of disqualifying the referendum from appearing on the ballot. Lewis has said March is the earliest that the election would take place.

KOA proponent Charlie Arnold, who is representing property owner Jack Tuls Jr. of Las Vegas, Nev., said he has not decided whether to challenge the signatures.

“I don’t know one way or the other until the county does its review” and finishes the certification, he said.

Opponent Charlie Marriott of Protect Our Rural Lifestyle was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Candy Blakeslee of Protect submitted petitions for the referendum drive Aug. 31 to Lewis. She said that morning the group collected 446 signatures, well above the 188 minimum to qualify the referendum for an upcoming ballot.

Referendum backers hope to go to the polls to reverse a July 22 decision of the Town Council, which voted 6-1 to rezone 17 acres to allow Tuls to open an RV park with 32 cabins and 119 campsites. The ordinance rezoned property on the south side of East Road 3-1/2 North, about 400 feet east of Highway 89, from commercial light/agricultural residential with a minimum of 5 acres to commercial heavy.

Opponents said the proposed KOA is incompatible with nearby homes. Arnold and other supporters said the project and other future commercial development on the Tuls property would create jobs and enhance tourism.