Vol. 15 Issue No. 3 | January 21 – 27, 2009

Cave Creek sales tax goes to 3 percent March 23

By Linda Bentley | January 21, 2009

CAVE CREEK – Council passed the second reading of an ordinance on Tuesday to increase sales tax from 2.5 percent to 3 percent for two years, effective March 23, 2009, by a vote of 6-1, with Vice Mayor Gilbert Lopez dissenting.

Town Accountant Marian Groeneveld said the increase will bring in approximately $500,000 per year.

Randy Simpson’s application for a non-conforming use modification to the roof of his home passed unanimously.

Per Mayor Vincent Francia’s request, council was reconsidering a special use permit (SUP) application for the Branded Bullfrog to allow ATV sales, rentals and ecological tours and an SUP application for a drive-through for Parkway Bank.

During public comment, Ralph Mozilo said, “I chastised council when it turned this down.” He mentioned the absurdity of requiring the applicant to have their clients meet them out by Bartlett Lake, stating, “You want the business to start and end in Cave Creek.”

Council approved the SUP by a vote of 5-1, with Councilwoman Grace Meeth dissenting out of fear ATV renters would eventually end up in the washes. Lopez voted “present.”

Attorney Jon Paladini, representing Parkway Bank, went over his points about meeting all the criteria to be granted the SUP, limiting the use to financial institutions and limiting hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anna Marsolo presented a petition signed by the owners of seven restaurants in town opposing the bank’s SUP; the petition indicated it would then allow national drive through food chains.

During public comment, Planning Commissioner Steve LaMar said, based on the comments made that evening and the fact that seven town core businesses opposed the drive through, he believed there was a factual basis to legally turn the drive through down, citing it was “inconsistent with the historic town core and the underpinnings of this community.”

Although three attorneys recently advised SUPs are not precedent setting unless all the circumstances are identical, Meeth insists approval will set a precedent and will bring in franchises.

Lopez said, “I opposed it before and I oppose it now.”

As he called for a vote, Francia said, “I sense a little bit of ‘the sky is falling,’” asking, “How did this culture last this long with Dairy Queen without falling like Rome?”

It passed by a vote of 4-2 with Lopez and Meeth dissenting and Councilwoman Kim Brennan recusing herself.

The crowd, however, was there for the last agenda item, Ric Slaughter’s SUP application for Ric’s Body and Paint to locate at Spur Cross Station.

Although many citizens and council members praised Slaughter’s business practices and reputation, neighbors called locating a body shop adjacent to residential property a “bad fit,” which Francia said is a problem the town will have when commercial abuts residential.

By a vote of 2-5, Councilman Dick Esser’s motion to approve the SUP failed with Esser and Bunch voting in favor.