Museum officials refuse to let go of amendment application

By Curtis Riggs | July 2, 2008

CAVE CREEK – Cave Creek Museum officials are reluctant to give up on their plans for up-zoning their Basin Road property despite receiving a clear indication of the community’s distaste for up-zoning residential property at a previous community meeting.

The museum board of directors wants to examine the options to expand their present facility while they wait for the time their up-zoning application must be withdrawn or go forward.

“Four of the seven speakers at that meeting were professional gadflies. They are nice folks, but the town council has learned they have to endure their comments to get to what the real neighbors have to say,” Museum board member Jay Williams said about a neighborhood meeting held last month where the museum’s plans to maximize the investment in their property was unveiled.

“If we stay here we want to go toward a conforming use,” board member Pam DiPietro said. The museum has a legal non-conforming use on their residential property.
Cave Creek Planning Director Ian Cordwell said museum officials have until the end of September to go forward with the General Plan Amendment, which would likely end up in a request to up-zone their property to commercial. In the meantime, museum officials can examine pursuit of a non-conforming use modification application, which was filed in 2005 but not acted upon because of problems in meeting parking requirements. The museum would need 12 more parking places to bring it into a conforming use.

General Plan Amendments will be heard by the Cave Creek Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 16 and by the Cave Creek Town Council in mid-November.
Museum President Barbara Chatzkel told the 12-member board, “The key for us is to understand how the town council would likely vote today.” A super majority (6-1) vote is needed to approve any general plan amendment.

Museum board member, and legal advisor, Ellen Van Riper said, “Our problem is we are one of six applicants and we will be lumped in with them,” referring to other requested amendments, which are more traditional commercial applications.
Board member Andrea Markowitz questioned how pursuing other options will be perceived by the community at large after receiving a clear signal about the up-zoning request.

“If we say that we want to continue, we want to make it clear that we are pursuing other options,” she said.

Williams agreed, adding the museum is facing a “public perception” issue.

“Because we have poisoned the well, it would be a good idea to stop drawing water,” he said.

“We have opened Pandora’s Box and now have them riled up, now let’s continue,” DiPietro said about going forward with the use modification permit before the application must be acted upon or withdrawn.

D.F.L.T. gathers saguaro fruit

saguaro fruit pickingDesert Foothills Land Trust members and volunteers from the Desert Botanical Garden harvested saguaro fruit at the P. A. Seitts Preserve in Go John Canyon last week. The fruit will be used at the Desert Botanical Garden for demonstrations and school tours throughout the year.

Photo by Andrew Gesell