Controversial mountain project getting off the ground

By Curtis Riggs | August 27, 2008

Gold Mountain development on Continental Mountain
MARICOPA COUNTY – A project that has spawned much interest in both Cave Creek and Carefree since it was first discussed a decade ago is now getting off the ground.

The 457-acre Gold Mountain project is a 12-lot subdivision on Continental Mountain, which is offering lots ranging in size from 36 acres to 45 acres. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Realtor Joanne Eannacone is marketing the 12 parcels, ranging in price from $3.2 million for just over 36 acres to $4.6 million for a 45-plus acre parcel. Another 36-plus-acre parcel is priced at $4.6 million.

The potential development of these properties has been watched closely by both Desert Foothills communities since the Gold Mountain Estates project began late in the last decade. Many locals were offended when a road on the face of Continental Mountain was extended across the mountain, forever scarring the tall peak that serves as a backdrop to both Cave Creek and Carefree.

At issue in the project plans is Maricopa County officials last year approved 60 lots for the properties.

The property owner, Sienna Corporation, has decided to go with the 12 larger parcels. “They wanted to keep the property extremely unique,” Eannacone said about the project, which is represented by Phoenix land-use attorney Paul Gilbert.

continentalmtnThere was controversy about the project earlier this year when there was talk of the Town of Cave Creek supplying the water for the project even though the properties are outside of the town boundaries. A Standing Room Only crowd attended a meeting held in the Cave Creek Town Council chambers about where the water for the project would come from.
Annexing the property to save it from development and whatever else it would take to save the mountain was discussed at that meeting. The expense of purchasing the properties and Cave Creek having no jurisdiction over them halted the talk about preservation.

While the properties are not deed restricted to prevent a landowner from splitting the parcels five times without falling under subdivision rules, Eannacone points out the CCRs for Gold Mountain prohibit splitting the properties into smaller parcels.

“No Parcel shall be subdivided into a Parcel or Parcels of less than 36 acres,” it states in section 1.18 of the CCRs.

Eannacone said all of the Gold Mountain property owners would have to agree to amend the CCRs to allow splitting the lots into less than 36 acres.

Gold Mountain is accessed from Fleming Springs Road. A few of the properties are low on the southern face of Continental Mountain. Some are behind the peak of Continental Mountain and can be seen from much of Cave Creek and Carefree. Some of the parcels are even farther back. The homes at Gold Mountain will likely be much more visible from areas to the east like Desert Mountain than the two Desert Foothills communities.

Maricopa County mountain-side building regulations prohibit homes being taller than 30 feet from natural grade.

The road leading to Gold Mountain will be widened to 18 feet.

Homes in the project will receive their water from wells on the properties. The average pumping rate of the wells serving the properties is 13 gallons a minute.

Photo caption: The 12 huge parcels being marketed through the Gold Mountain project on Continental Mountain range from ones near the peak, which offer stunning views of the valley, to ones lower on the mountain such as pictured here which has magnificent saguaros on it.
Photo by Curtis Riggs