Cahava Springs disagreement leads to lawsuit

By Curtis Riggs | October 1, 2008

springsCAVE CREEK – Disagreements between investors and the principal developer of the Cahava Springs project, an environmentally friendly project planned for 952 acres in the west part of town, have led to a halt of the development.

Cahava Investors filed a lawsuit in Superior Court recently to halt the building of the road, a water system and prep work for the 230 home sites.

The project is important to the Town of Cave Creek because of the environmental concessions and agreements that were made to allow the development to happen.

Pyramid Community Developers and its principal Mark Stapp have already given 80 acres of the property to Cave Creek to create a land bridge between Cave Creek Regional Park and the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. Other environmental concessions made by Stapp and Cahava Springs are the gifting of 130 acres around Apache Springs that is already being managed and studied by the Cahava Springs Conservancy.

Despite the disagreements between Stapp and Cahava Investors both entities maintain the project will be one that strives to protect the upper Sonoran Desert environment and that only 230 homes will be built on the near 1,000 acres.

To ensure agreements made in the past will be honored and to determine the best way to proceed a meeting between the developers, both parties, and Town officials will be held soon.

Stapp points out the Cahava Springs Corporation has owned the Cahava Springs property for 15 years and the Apache Springs and Pyramid entities have been working there for seven years. “We have half-built bridges, how can you stop work?” he asks. “There is a half built water system and they want to walk away.”

Stapp adds, “The project is too important to the town to have a bunch of people from Wisconsin (investors with Virchow Krause) come in and screw it up.”

Jim Kluge, manager of Cahava Investors, also said the project will maintain its focus on preservation despite the recent lawsuit.

“Financial and legal issues related to the Cahava Springs project are currently being addressed,” he said in a prepared statement. “All of the parties involved are actively engaged in discussions and are hopeful that an expeditious resolution can be reached that will allow the project to proceed without significant delays. We are confident that Cahava Springs will ultimately provide quality, eco-friendly building sites that will greatly enhance the community of Cave Creek.”

In a letter Stapp recently sent to Cave Creek Town Manager Usama Abujbarah asking for the meeting, he reiterated the project is too important to Cave Creek to let it fall by the wayside.

Both Abujbarah and Mayor Vincent Francia indicated the Town intends to require Stapp, and Cahava Investors, to honor previous development agreements made concerning the property.

“We want to hold them to the agreements, which are so favorable to us,” Francia said.