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Judge rules vote on proposed Flagstaff hospital will proceed

A rendering of the proposed Flagstaff Medical Center campus at Fort Tuthill.
Northern Arizona Healthcare
A rendering of the proposed Flagstaff Medical Center campus at Fort Tuthill.

A Coconino County judge has rejected Northern Arizona Healthcare’s request to throw out a ballot referendum on a proposed Flagstaff hospital. The ruling clears the path for voters to decide whether plans for the new healthcare facility will move forward.

The Flagstaff City Council approved the first phase of the $800 million hospital and ambulatory care center earlier this year. The decision was met with pushback due to a lack of information about the project or its potential community impact. The group Flagstaff Community First submitted thousands of signatures to get the issue on the city’s November special election ballot.

They argued the case alongside Northern Arizona Healthcare in a court hearing Thursday.

An attorney for NAH maintained that Proposition 480 should be removed from the ballot because the language in the petition was misleading. They pointed to the fact that the description claimed the site would be used for retail and commercial space with no mention of healthcare facilities.

But Coconino Superior Court Judge Brent Harris wrote in his decision Friday that it wasn’t misleading for the petition writers to not list every possible example of permitted uses.

NAH says they plan to appeal the decision.

Bree Burkitt is the host of Morning Edition and a reporter for KNAU. Contact her at