BY LINDA BENTLEY | SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
Council takes on land, water and golden parachutes
CAVE CREEK – Council voted unanimously Monday night in favor of recommending approval for a Series #12 Restaurant Liquor License for Janey’s Coffeehouse and to reauthorize an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for reciprocal borrowing between the town and Maricopa County Library District for fiscal year 2010-2011.
During call to the public, Cave Creek Museum Vice President Ellen Van Ryper told council there were some non-monetary things it could do to help the museum out. She asked the town to put a link on its website and said the museum was still trying to get its land use entitlement issue resolved.
Van Ryper said the museum needed to have that secured in order to apply for certain grants and stated she would be happy to work with town staff to get the text amendments done.
She also announced the museum will be reopening with new exhibits on Oct. 1.
Wes Cooper complimented the project planners involved in the pipeline job along Cave Creek Road and stated it was minimal disruption for the scope of work performed.
Council unanimously passed the second reading of an ordinance to rezone three parcels totaling 2.82 acres for Carefree Consultants, in connection with a development agreement with the former owner, which deeded a right of way along Mark Way to the town and shifted residential densities in exchange for recreational open space.
Council also voted unanimously to enter into a cost-sharing IGA with Maricopa County, which agreed to pay 52.5 percent of the cost, not to exceed $630,000, of improvements to the intersection of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road in exchange for the town agreeing to annex certain unincorporated areas into the town, which included a stretch of Carefree Highway west of the intersection and a residential area along the west side of Cave Creek Road, south of the intersection.
According to Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, development fees from Walmart will pay for the balance of those costs.
Mayor Vincent Francia expressed his gratitude to Councilman Dick Esser, whom he said had “stuck with this since the beginning” to get it accomplished.
The utilities department requested council approval to enter into another IGA with Maricopa County to equitably divide the water rights for Spur Cross Ranch and the Phoenix Mine site between the town and Maricopa County providing them each with an additional 905 acre feet of water allocations filed with the Arizona Department of Water Quality, which oversees the certification of 100-year assured water supplies for future development.
Councilman Adam Trenk’s motion to approve carried unanimously. He commented, “You can never have too much water in the desert.”
Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an ordinance amending Appendix A Use Descriptions that pertains to retail sales in Commercial Buffer zones, whereas the use would remain allowable through the site plan review process rather than requiring a special use permit.
During discussion over the renewal of the Abujbarah’s contract, which expired Aug. 4, Councilman Ralph Mozilo questioned a clause that stated, upon termination, the town manager would receive five months’ severance pay and asked if the town manager was terminated for cause if he would still receive five months’ severance.
Town Attorney Marlene Pontrelli said he would.
Councilman Steve LaMar moved to approve the contract and called Abujbarah “an absolute joy to work with,” adding, “He is smart, has the town of Cave Creek’s best interests at heart and is an incredible asset to the town.”
Mozilo moved to amend the contract to eliminate the severance pay if he were to be terminated for cause.
Trenk seconded the motion and stated it was the fiscally responsible thing to do. Trenk said he didn’t believe someone terminated for cause should be given a “golden parachute.”
LaMar, who said he didn’t consider five months pay a “golden parachute,” and Jim Bruce, both attorneys, disagreed and said employment law would require them to be very specific in defining “cause.”
Pontrelli agreed and said it’s best to terminate employees without cause.
Mozilo withdrew his motion and LaMar’s motion carried unanimously.
Prior to adjournment, Francia reminded everyone about A Taste of Cave Creek, which has been expanded to two days on Sept. 29 and 30 at Stagecoach Village.