Cave Creek planning commission seeks input from businesses on sign ordinance

planning commissionPlanning commissioners (from left) Shelley Anderson, Ted Bryda, Rae Iverson (not pictured), Vice Chairman Reg Monachino and Chairman Dan Baxley continued their review of the zoning ordinance on April 7 and asked staff to reach out to the business community before the commission made its recommendations for the sign ordinance. Photo by Linda Bentley

CAVE CREEK – On April 7, the planning commission convened a special session to continue its review of the zoning ordinance beginning with Chapter 4, Open Space.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell said staff incorporated comments received from various groups, including a suggestion by Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director R.J. Cardin to create a third category for open space land use called Parks and Recreation.

During public comment, Sonia Perillo, Executive Director of the Desert Foothills Land Trust thanked staff and the open space committee for the changes they made and said the DFLT would be sending out an official letter in approval of the Open Space provisions.

Commissioner Shelley Anderson moved to recommend approval.”

Commissioner Rae Iverson seconded the motion.

With commissioners John Ford and Peter Omundson absent, the commission voted unanimously in favor of recommending approval.

As the commission moved on to Chapter 9, Signage, Cordwell explained the ordinance addresses only signs on private property and that signs in the right-of-way (ROW) are covered by the engineering department, which issues ROW permits.

Cordwell explained a person would be granted six months to remove a non-conforming sign only if the sign was being changed or replaced.

In response to two queries about business input, Cordwell said, “I, for one, would like to hear from business owners – what they want and what they need and get rid of what we don’t need.”

Cordwell said staff could reach out to the business community for suggestions and bring it back to the commission.

The commission agreed to revisit the signage chapter at that time.

Chapter 10, Washes, is a new section of the ordinance, while grading and drainage guidelines are now addressed in a separate document.

And, according to Cordwell, the subdivision ordinance also addresses washes.

He said this chapter goes into great detail on erosion setbacks, while Maricopa County Flood Control District identified and mapped floodways.

Monachino, whose motion to recommend approval with an amendment that added language addressing alterations to properties affecting properties downstream, passed unanimously.

In explaining Chapter 11, Non-Conforming Uses, Cordwell told the commission about former Planning Commission Chair Alan Northcott’s famous formula to deal with lot coverage issues when lots in subdivisions didn’t coincide with the underlying zoning.

Cordwell explained the threshold was 50 percent damage before bringing it up to the current International Building Code would be required.

The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of Chapter 11.

Introducing Chapter 12, Site Plan Review, Cordwell said it was mostly a reorganization to have all the requirements in one place.

Cordwell said the section stating a site plan shall become void within two years if permits have not been issued was changed from one year because with one year the amount of time required for review and development of some projects, the site plan could expire before the permit is issued.

After discussion and suggestions from several commissioners, Monachio suggested the commission take the chapter up at the next meeting, stating “There’s an awful lot of stuff in here.”

The commission agreed and adjourned.