VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 45   |  NOVEMBER 9 – 15, 2011


Is Cave Creek shying away from anything goes attitude?

‘The definition is perfectly fine, but these uses don’t match the definition’

CAVE CREEK – During Monday night’s meeting, council voted unanimously in favor of the second reading of an ordinance to rezone a .75-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Yolantha Street and Cave Creek Road from Desert Rural to General Commercial for Chuck Ulrich.

Council also voted unanimously to recommend approval of #12 restaurant liquor licenses for Cave Creek Tap Haus and The Grotto.

mike baxleyBuilding Official Mike Baxley (r) introduced amendments to various sections of the town’s building code, noting the building industry has gone through significant changes, including an emphasis on green building.

During public comment, Robert Madden from the Green Cave Creek Committee read a letter into the record from committee Chair Patrick Grady urging the town to adopt the new codes that favor green building alternatives, energy efficiency within the town and long term sustainability for future generations.

Addressing Council-woman Shelley Anderson’s question about fire sprinklers, Baxley said the law now can neither prohibit nor force the installation of residential fire sprinklers.

Council voted unani-mously to approve the first reading of an ordinance adopting the changes to building code.

The first reading of an ordinance adopting the “2009 International Energy Conservation Code” was met with some skepticism by Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch, who asked, “Why does it have ‘International’ in the title?”

Baxley said the name of the company that produced the document is called the “International Code Council.”

Baxley told council energy codes were introduced back in 1975 due to the 1973 oil embargo in an effort to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.

Baxley said the town has had an energy code for residential and the revised code adds commercial.

For example, he said, commercial builders would no longer be allowed to install single pane windows.

Mayor Vincent Francia asked, “Is there a cost associated with this?”

Baxley responded, “Yes,” noting double pane windows are more expensive.

Esser commented he replaced eight windows in his home with double pane windows and it reduced his electric bill by almost half.

Council approved the first reading by a vote of 6-1 with Bunch dissenting.

Council then moved on to the first reading of the revised zoning ordinance, which staff and the planning commission spent most of the year reviewing, revising and fine tuning.

As they went chapter by chapter, council, with consensus, made some changes, including increasing the lot coverage for DR-190 zoning to 10 percent, which the planning commission amended from 5 percent to 7 percent.

After considerable discussion, Town Manager Usama Abujbarah suggested making general commercial lighting poles be between 10 and 15 feet, rather than changing it back to 20-feet in height. He said there was a definite difference in the glow between the lighting at Walmart, which utilized 10-foot posts, and Fry’s, which has 20-foot poles.

Council agreed.

Signs have been a point of contention in many towns, Cave Creek being no exception.

steve lamarCouncilman Steve LaMar (l) said there seemed to be three times as many signs throughout town than a year ago, referring primarily to sandwich signs.

Cordwell said, according to the current ordinance, each business is allowed one sandwich sign.

While discussing the quality of the signs and suggestions that they be “produced by a professional,” Francia expressed concerns that would put the town in the position of being “arbiters of good taste” and asked if activating enforcement would solve the problem.

Cordwell said, “It would certainly reduce the number, but wouldn’t eliminate them.”

Francia said, “If we’re going to reactivate enforcement, we need to warn businesses.”

LaMar said people have been complaining that council is “letting the town go to crap.”

Abujbarah said, “We just need to enforce the ordinance.”

Town Marshal Adam Stein said the town needs to tell businesses how many signs are allowed and give them a specific amount of time to come into compliance.

When council got to Appendix A, Bruce said he had a question regarding the glossary of terms and definitions and read the definition for “Accessory Use,” which is defined as “a use conducted on the same parcel as the principal use of the structure to which it is related; a use which is clearly incidental to, and customarily found in connection with such principal use.”

He asked, “Is bull riding an accessory use to a bar and restaurant? Is volleyball an accessory use to a restaurant?

“How are these accessory uses and how did they come to be?”

LaMar said, “The definition is perfectly fine, but these uses don’t match the definition.”

Bruce said he was “shocked” when he learned the town had no control over the bull riding because it fell under “accessory use.”

Councilman Thomas McGuire said he thought the definition, as it stands, was appropriate.
Abujbarah received consensus from council for accessory uses to require a special use permit, once he clarified non-conforming uses cannot be grand-fathered in.

When council reconvenes on Nov. 21, it will address special events.