Village at Surrey Hills resurrected from ‘going down the tubes’

By Linda Bentley | February 24, 2010

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village at surrey hills
The Village at Surrey Hills, located at the southwest corner of Cave Creek Road and Surrey Drive, began as an upscale condominium project with units available in the $600,000 range. However, the economy and real estate market’s downward spiral was not conducive to sales, leaving the project unfinished with just three model units built.    Photo by Linda Bentley

Chevron Station to seek SUP for car wash
CAVE CREEK – With Commissioner Shelly Anderson absent, the planning commission voted unanimously in favor of recommending approval for the site plan and final plat amendments for the Village at Surrey Hills project.

Paul SharpeApplicant Paul Sharpe of VRE Carefree LLC, which now owns the property, was proposing to amend the project by changing the interior layout of each structure. The square footage of the 42 units would be reduced to accommodate 34 additional units.

The applicant has obtained a certificate of a 100-year assured water supply for the 79 units, which includes the three already built.

Even with the increased density, the project still meets the general plan requirements at 7.1 units per acre.

Sharpe told the commission, as originally designed, the condominiums were a very difficult product to sell in this market with this economy. The new floor plans have been scaled down to 1,573 square feet and will be quite similar to what was approved – using the same paint colors and materials as the existing.

To achieve the higher densities in essentially the same footprint, each unit will have a one-car garage rather than a two-car garage. Each unit will still have two parking spaces, although one will be uncovered.

According to Sharpe, the project is geared toward people looking to downsize, for a second home or snowbirds.

Vice Chairman Reg Monachino asked if they planned to build the project in phases.

Sharpe stated VRE opened the sales office, not to sell units but to get feedback from the public. He said it would be built in phases and the plan was to put up one fourplex building, furnish the units, use a garage as their sales office and close down the current one.

According to Sharpe, pricing in the low $300,000 range, as well as the size of the units, will give the project a better chance.

He also said VRE has set up an arrangement with Rancho Manana and will be offering a golf membership with each unit.

Commissioner Bob Williamson asked how the community would deal with trash.

Sharpe responded by saying each unit owner would be responsible for his own trash pickup and would be required to keep his trash can in the garage.

Commissioner Peter Omundson asked if the building permit was still open.

Associate Planner Luke Kautzman said the permit was still open for the remaining units.
Omundson then asked, “How long are they good for?”

Kautzman explained a permit is good as long as there is an inspection at least once every 180 days and the permit holder can request one 180-day extension.

He said when he began working for the town a few years ago there was a house under construction on an active permit that was issued in 1992.

In any event, Kautzman said the Village at Surrey Hills received its last inspection in September.

Chairman Dan Baxley sought clarification regarding the total number of units and the number of parking spaces.

Sharpe said there was a total of 79 units and 152 parking spaces, 76 of which would be outdoors. The existing three units each have two-car garages, making up the other six parking spaces.

He also stated there was no street parking available, although there were some parking spaces available in some of the driveways for guests.

Monachino, who moved to recommend approval, said, “I’m delighted to see this moving forward,” and wished the new owners the best of luck.

Commissioner Ted Bryda, who seconded the motion, said he was “delighted to see something brought back that was going down the tubes.”

Commissioner John Ford stated, “It’s been sitting there for a long time. It’s great to see it moving forward.”

Also enthused the project was moving forward again, Commissioner Bob Williams commented he “originally thought it looked a giant Habitat project.”

As a final note, Bryda stated, “I’m hoping you will look at parking and try to squeeze in some other parking spaces.”

Planning Director Ian Cordwell announced there will be a special use permit application for a car wash at the Chevron Station on the March 18 planning commission agenda.