VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 28   |   JULY 20 – 26, 2011


Cave Creek pursues own Zip Code

‘We taxed ourselves to preserve Spur Cross, we annexed land to preserve open space, now it’s time to preserve our identity’

CAVE CREEK – With councilmen Steve LaMar and Thomas McGuire absent, council was unanimous in all actions during Monday night’s council meeting.

Council voted in favor of recommending a #12 restaurant liquor license for Señor Geezz Cave Creek Patio and Grill at 37645 N. Cave Creek Rd.

The restaurant, formerly Los Mesquites Taqueria and the Territorial before that, is under new ownership, which requires an application for a new liquor license.

Council also voted to approve a permanent extension of premises permit application for Big Earl’s Greasy Eats.

chris wilsonThe rezoning application by Chris Wilson (r) for the southeast corner of Cave Creek and Olesen roads from Desert Rural to Commercial, however, was not met with the same fate.

The parcel, which is south of Walmart, had access issues when it came before the planning commission.

Wilson, representing Shane Danner, said, “We’re looking at cutting through the berm,” which he said will still prevent headlight problems for residents on Olesen Road.

Wilson said Danner was talking to “two quick service restaurants and an auto parts store,” although he was not at liberty to divulge any names.

Walmart Attorney Sean Lake spoke during public comment to say, “We’re not opposed, we just want to go on record early to make sure there are no surprises.

“We would not be in favor of cutting the berm in half,” said Lake, “The purpose of the berm was to shield traffic.”

He said, as a residential parcel, the property had great access, but as a commercial parcel, a left turn would interfere with Walmart’s left turn stacking and would also require an easement from Walmart to utilize its private drive.

Lake said, “I don’t know how they’re going to do it. It does create traffic concerns.”

dick esserCouncilman Dick Esser (l) stated he was uncomfortable with what Wilson was suggesting.

Wilson stated, “If we have to go with an easement with Walmart, we can do that.”

Councilwoman Shelley Anderson asked if it didn’t make more sense to continue.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell told council the application was for a rezoning request and said technical issues don’t affect rezoning.

Mayor Vincent Francia asked if it wouldn’t make more sense to resolve the issues between the property owners before approving.

Cordwell said that was something council could certainly decide to do.

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch moved to approve the rezoning request for the purpose of discussion.

“I’d rather see resolution,” said Bunch. “I don’t relish pushing an issue forward that’s going to come back and bite us.”

Councilman Jim Bruce seconded the motion and stated, “I would have preferred a motion to continue.”

Anderson said, “I agree.”

Francia told Wilson, “I absolutely want to see you develop this property.”

Esser asked if Bunch and Bruce would consider a motion to continue instead.

All agreed that was a better idea and voted to continue the case to Sept. 19.

leslie gustafson and cameron smithCouncil voted to approve the rezoning application for Cameron Smith and Leslie Gustafson at the corner of Seven Palms Drive and Cave Creek Road, where Smith has been operating a motorcycle repair shop as a home occupation.

Associate Planner Luke Kautzman confirmed the applicant planned no changes to the property and the main purpose of the rezoning was so Smith could put up a sign, adding, “The property owner is aware his property taxes will increase.”

Bunch moved to approve the first reading of the ordinance to change the zoning with Anderson commenting, “I saw this before [while serving as a planning commissioner] and think it’s still good.”

Esser presented the next item, a resolution to pursue having the town’s Zip Code changed to correspond with the town’s boundaries, a project he’s been working on with help from his “Curmudgeons Club.”

During public comment, Reg Monachino urged support of the measure and said, “We taxed ourselves to preserve Spur Cross, we annexed land to preserve open space, now it’s time to preserve our identity.”

Ron Iverson also urged passage, stating the residents of the town of Cave Creek are being misrepresented in the collection of data, including crime statistics being highly inflated.

Janet Mohr said lenders were now doing “appraisals” by using average cost per square foot within the Zip Code, without taking into consideration acreage and other factors. She said the Zip Code is not reflective of property values and lowers the value of homes in Cave Creek.

Ted Bryda said he participated with Esser on the Zip Code project. He said, “As a town of 25 years, it’s time to stand up and be counted.”

He said he wished councilmen Steve LaMar and Thomas McGuire were present so it could go to the U.S. Postal Service with a 7-0 vote.

Esser, in moving to approve the resolution said, “The message has been very clear and there has been consensus on this issue.”

Bunch said he supported the effort when it was brought forward years ago and he still supports it.

Francia tried something new in adopting the town’s budget. Rather than have each department head make a presentation, he decided to ask council if they had any questions.

Anderson stated she went through the budget process and found it very thorough.

Francia thanked everyone who participated in the budget process as council voted unanimously to adopt the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget.

As council passed the first reading to levy property taxes to pay off the last year of debt obligations to purchase Spur Cross Conservation Area, Francia asked Town Manager Usama Abujbarah to make a note for June 30, 2012 to break out the champagne.

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