Annexation sole subject on Monday night’s council agenda

By Linda Bentley | December 10, 2008

Public encouraged to bring any and all questions
CAVE CREEK – On Monday, Dec. 15, Cave Creek Town Council will address a single agenda item, the annexation of approximately nine square miles north of Carefree Highway, west to 24th Street.

Mayor Vincent Francia encourages the public to attend, as the meeting will address any concerns and answer all the questions citizens may have regarding the annexation, which, after seven years of planning, will secure, as a buffer, against future encroachment from Phoenix.

The annexation and rezoning of certain lands will preserve over 4,000 acres of dedicated open space, with over 2,000 acres abutting Spur Cross Conservation Area, more than doubling its size.

Another 1,000 acres, which abut Cave Creek Recreation Area, will increase the size of the park by one third.

The annexation will allow over 50 percent of Cave Creek’s 38 square miles to be dedicated open space.

It will allow for additional connections to existing equestrian and hiking trails, increasing twofold the size of Cave Creek’s accessible recreation areas.

Prior to rezoning, the state lands, whether annexed into Cave Creek or not, would have resulted in an additional 5,000 to 8,000 dwelling units.

The shifting of zoning and land uses in conjunction with the annexation has reduced that number to 3,000.

And, just because the land is being annexed into Cave Creek, does not mean the state land department will be auctioning off the entire area next year. The land department also does long-term planning and may not schedule land for auction for 20 years.

The plan also allows for commercial uses in the area, on land the state land department would lease rather than sell.

It provides 120 acres for a major shopping center, 120 acres for less intense commercial development and 100 acres for a major resort, all of which will help ensure the town’s economic future by providing sales and bed tax.

Concerns have been raised about the town supplying water in the annexation area, which the annexation documents already address. Developers will obtain water from the town until the town has no more water to sell. Developers will then be required to obtain water from other sources and provide proof of a certificate of a 100-year assured water supply before building can commence.

Currently, Cave Creek has 2,600 acre feet of CAP water, with 2,000 acre feet allocated. The town is currently pursuing the purchase of additional CAP water for future use along with storage for that additional water.

As the town enters the final phases of completing the annexation, Francia anticipates citizens’ questions will be addressed satisfactorily during Monday’s meeting.