On October 14, 2013, the Town of Florence filed Complaint No. CV2013-02511 in the Pinal County Superior Court against Florence Copper, Inc., which was formerly known as Curis Resources (Arizona) Inc. The Town’s complaint also joined as a defendant RK Mine Finance Trust 1, an Australian trust which holds a security interest in the property of Florence Copper, Inc.
In Count I, the complaint seeks a declaratory judgment from the court which would hold that the right to legally mine the property was extinguished when the Town of Florence re-zoned the property as a Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) at the request of real estate developer W. Harrison Merrill. The property was re-zoned a second time in 2007, again at the request of Merrill, to amend the PUD to designate the Florence Copper property as exclusively residential. The Town seeks the court’s declaration that in re-zoning the property, Merrill abandoned any right to mine the property or maintain any nonconforming uses and structures related to mining, which is therefore an illegal use.
Since that time, Florence Copper has been unsuccessful in its attempts to change the zoning in a way which would allow mining activity again.
In Count II, the complaint requests that the court enter an order directing Florence Copper to “show cause” why the Town should not be permitted to condemn the property and take possession pursuant to its power of eminent domain, if in fact the court determines that Florence Copper does have the right to mine the property as a legal, nonconforming use of the property. The Arizona legislature has given municipalities such as Florence the right to condemn property to eliminate legal, nonconforming uses.
In such case, the Town would have to pay Florence Copper “just compensation,” as determined by the court or a jury, in order to legally obtain title.
For questions about Town of Florence activities, contact Jess Knudson, Public Information Officer, at (520) 868-7541.