P&Z Approves CUP for Hitching Post

On March 27, the Hitching Post establishment received approval from the Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission for a conditional use permit (CUP) to hold various outdoor attractions by a vote of 6-1, with commissioner Michael Frank casting the dissenting vote.

The CUP request was made by Mehmood Mohiuddin, represented by Ralph Pew of Pew and Lake, PLC, and approval allows the Hitching Post to hold events and concerts, feature sand volleyball, cornhole games, fire pits, bull riding, a putting green and other activities for patrons and guests of the restaurant.

City staff recommended 27 conditions be completed within a 6-month to one year period after the CUP is approved, including:

a minimum 12’ high solid wood screen fence be constructed to the south of the restaurant; an 8’ block wall and landscaping be constructed along E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. and N. Cortez Rd. on the frontages of the east parking lot of the Hitching Post; prepare a traffic impact analysis; construct additional permanent restroom facilities; bring all exterior lighting into compliance; limit outdoor amplified concerts to six per year with end time no later than 7 p.m. and that off-duty AJPD officers be hired for security and traffic control.

Additional conditions were recommended concerning the bull riding events on Thursday and Saturday nights: the new hours will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with lights out by 10 p.m.; other events may be presented in the bull riding arena under the same conditions. The outdoor activities approved for the new east expansion area shall end by 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The CUP will be reviewed prior to its one-year anniversary and will be subject to revocation.

In 2014, Mr. Mohiuddin purchased properties surrounding his restaurants, which currently have a CUP allowing bull riding two nights a week. In 2017, Mr. Mohiuddin combined his 5 adjoining parcels into one parcel and then split it into three parcels. They are each zoned differently, and the CUP request applies only to the B-1 (General Commercial) zoned property at 2341 N. Apache Trail. The CUP application includes a request for up to 15 outdoor events throughout the year, which may include music concerts, car shows, weddings, charity or fundraising events, corporate parties and craft shows. The events would be in addition to the bull riding nights that are currently permitted.

On March 27, as in the past, neighbors of the establishment objected to the CUP application citing noise, parking and traffic safety issues. Mr. Mohiuddin withdrew his last application after aggrieved parties challenged its approval.

The approved permit may be appealed within 20 days by a “person aggrieved.” According to city officials, they would be required to supply a letter stating their reason for appeal, pay a $400 fee (half of the permit’s application fee) and pay advertising costs (approx. $150) related to publicizing an additional hearing.

Planning & Zoning Commission meetings are open to the public and held in chambers at 300 E. Superstition Blvd. in Apache Junction. The meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. Complete agendas, supporting materials and videos of past meetings are available at https://apachejunction.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

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