Cave Creek receives final approval for annexation

By Linda Bentley | October 22, 2008

SUP applicants fair no better before council
CAVE CREEK – Following an earlier meeting downtown to get the state’s final approval on the town’s annexation plan, Mayor Vincent Francia arrived at Monday night’s council meeting bearing good news.

Francia announced the final sign-off on the annexation by Governor Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard and Treasurer Dean Martin was approved by a 2-1 vote, with Martin dissenting.

The mayor thanked Planning Director Ian Cordwell and Town Manager Usama Abujbarah for their last five years of dedication to the project.

Apparently Carefree resident Jim Peirce also showed up at their meeting with state officials for the purpose of thwarting the annexation, although to no avail.

During Call to the Public, a clearly frustrated Jake Dominy, owner of Cactus Asphalt, pleaded to have his problem agendized.

Jake DominyCactus Asphalt was a subcontractor working on Stagecoach Pass Estates for developer Legends Venture, LLC, which has since gone bankrupt, leaving Dominy and others unpaid for work already performed.

Council voted to approve $70,000 in attorney fees and costs to be paid to the ACLU and MALDEF after Town Attorney Gary Birnbaum explained he was able to negotiate a reduced amount from their original application for $137,000.

Matt Agee came before council for a special use permit (SUP) for the Branded Bullfrog, an all-terrain vehicle sales, rental and tour company to operate from the retail building at the Horny Toad.

However, he arrived with a unanimous recommendation of denial from the planning commission.

Thinking he had ironed out all the issues the commission found problematic, he ran into new ones with council.

Matt AgeeAgee told council he planned to have oil changes performed at Tobias, although when Francia asked if he had set that up with Tobias, Agee said he had not but planned to.

When questions came up about where the vehicles would be ridden, he said they would all be trailered out to various locations. And, although street legal, apparently none would be driven in Cave Creek.

That led to another question about why he wanted to locate his business in Cave Creek.
Agee said it was a good location because of its tourist base.

The Branded Bullfrog also planned to sell higher powered vehicles than it planned to use as rentals.

However, since Agee agreed no vehicles would be driven off the lot to prevent people from driving them on trails and in washes where they are prohibited, Councilwoman Kim Brennan asked how they planned to sell vehicles when test-driving them is an integral part of vehicle sales.

Francia said since he had not even contacted Tobias yet to address the maintenance issue, it was putting the cart before the horse.

Council voted 6-1 to deny the SUP with Councilman Ernie Bunch voting in favor of the application.

Parkway Bank was also coming before council with a 4-1 recommendation for denial from the planning commission for its SUP application for drive-through service.

This time around, Branch Manager Katherine Bosco had Attorney Jon Paladini represent Parkway’s case.

Paladini said, “We’re bound to follow the law,” as he went through a PowerPoint presen-tation using the town’s zoning code that included the six criteria he stated council was required to follow for reviewing SUPs.

“We’re asking you to follow your own law,” said Paldini.

After Paladini claimed SUPs and zoning laws were not legally precedent setting, Town Attorney Cliff Mattice said if council applied certain standards, they could become applicable to another case.

During public comment Todd Newman stated he wanted to put a drive-through in and said, “I’ll take it to Phoenix. This is not a business friendly town.”

Anna Marsolo said, “The court ruled in the Peloquin case against Carefree, towns are free to reject SUPs if they conflict with the residents’ values and concerns.”
Paladini told council, “You need to analyze your own town code, saying ‘none’ violates your own town code.”

Francia looked up and asked, “Are you threatening us?”

Backing off, Paldini said, “We contend it is not precedent,” and stated SUPs in Carefree are different than in Cave Creek, claiming they are administrative acts in Carefree (The court ruled otherwise).

Councilwoman Grace Meeth said, “I’m not going to approve this because we’re being threatened by an attorney. I’d like to get a second legal opinion.”

Councilwoman Brennan recused herself due to a conflict, leaving the SUP decision deadlocked 3-3 with Vice Mayor Lopez, Francia, and Meeth dissenting.

Top Photo: Jake Dominy, owner of Cactus Asphalt and victim of Legends Venture, LLC, the developer of Stagecoach Pass Estates, which has gone bankrupt, spoke during Call to the Public on Monday to express his complete frustration as a subcontractor who has not been paid. Dominy’s frustration was only compounded after he misinterpreted a court document.

Lower Photo: Matt Aggee of the Branded Bullfrog arrived at Monday’s council meeting with a unanimous recommendation for denial for his special use permit. Council also denied his application by a 6-1 vote.
Photos by Linda Bentley