Planning commission compromises on Lewis request

By Linda Bentley | October 22, 2008

‘If houses are in a state of disrepair, shame on you’
CAVE CREEK – David Lewis was back in front of the planning commission with yet another request to reclassify residential land to commercial.

This time he combined those efforts with adjacent property owner Zenonas Misius, trustee of the Petersville property.

Although Lewis’ initial intent was to rezone all the parcels to commercial, after holding a neighborhood meeting, he said people weren’t receptive to the idea of changing parcels to commercial use so he amended his application to change the designation of a small parcel south of wash along Cave Creek Road just east of Stagecoach Village from Desert Rural to Commercial Core and change everything north of the wash to Multi-family Residential with eight units per acre, the maximum allowed.

David LewisLewis claims the property at Petersville was improperly zoned all along with two houses on one acre and one house on a half acre, surrounded on two sides by commercial.

He said, “I just want to be able to survive. I bought the property to support my son who has a head injury.”

Lewis says, “It just doesn’t work for Desert Rural-89 (one home per 2.5 acres) for one house and a barn.

“A lot of people like those houses and the windmill. If I built condos around them, I’d probably keep them as open space.”

While reiterating how some people like those houses, Lewis said, “They’re falling apart, they’d need maintenance.”

At the neighborhood meeting, because some people said they wanted to see residential on residentially zoned land, Lewis said, “So, I compromised and made everything no of the wash MR-8 (Multi-family Residential),” adding, “Some people want nothing.”

Chairman Ted Bryda said the town of Carefree previously prevented Lewis from having access on Scopa Trail, Lewis said he didn’t think it would be a problem for residential.
Anna Marsolo spoke during public comment and said Lewis bought the residential property next to his own commercial property in 2004.

While Lewis decided to add Multi-family Residential to the mix, Marsolo named off all the condo projects in town that have gone bankrupt and/or had zero sales and asked why the town would want to consider bringing in more multi-family.

She said, “The citizens living in those houses urge you to decline.”

Susan Natker began with, “TGIF,” as the planning commission meeting had already run twenty minutes past midnight, and said, “We bought land and looked at what was around.”
She turned around and looked at Misius and said, “If houses are in a state of disrepair, shame on you! People are living in those houses.”

Misius listened, nodding in agreement.

“If we keep turning all of our residential property into commercial, everything will become commercial.”

Lewis became blasé and said, “I’ve heard ‘no’ before. It’s the same people saying the same thing.”

Commissioner Dan Baxley moved to approve, just to get it out on the table for discussion and said he was still confused as to why a split in zoning was occurring on property.

Commissioner Steve LaMar said he didn’t have a problem with the parcel fronting Cave Creek Road being commercial but didn’t see changing DR-89 to MR-8.

LaMar’s amended motion to recommend approval for Commercial Core zoning from the wash to Cave Creek Road but leaving the DR-89 property as is carried unanimously.

Photo: David Lewis
Photo by Linda Bentley