BY LINDA BENTLEY | MAY 23, 2012
Bizarre set of motions continue planning cases until September
Jean stated publicly, ‘the dumpy little town of Cave Creek is good only as a place for Scottsdale residents to buy beer and T-shirts’
CAVE CREEK – Representing Park West Development, Attorney Paul Gilbert (l) said this was the fourth time an application for a land use change from Desert Rural to General Commercial was before the planning commission for his client’s two parcels totaling approximately 4 acres west of the CVS store on Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway.
Gilbert said he filed in 2007 and while the commission believed it would in time be developed commercially, they didn’t like the piecemeal approach.
They tried again in 2008 and the application was denied.
Gilbert noted there was substantial opposition to the general plan amendment in 2010, which included his client’s parcels in Area 25 and the planning commission voted 4-2 against a recommendation for approval.
He stated the property is directly adjacent to CVS and Lowe’s and said, “We are the only corner at this intersection designated Desert Rural.”
Gilbert said his clients were only requesting general plan and rezoning approval, not site plan approval, stating the approval doesn’t end the public process.
“This is basically the same application we had in 2007,” said Gilbert, pointing out a lot of things have changed since then, including the White Paper, general plan amendments and rezoning for Walmart, and the site plan for the Bullington property.
He said, “Every corner is zoned for commercial except our corner.”
Commissioner Ted Bryda questioned the zoning of the northeast corner, which is in Carefree.
Gilbert at first appeared confused as to which property Bryda was referring before admitting it was zoned residential.
Planning Director Ian Cordwell said he had been working with Stewart Jean, a principal of Park West, and asked if they would be willing to continue the case in light of the Area 25 special area plan coming to the planning commission in September, and they were not.
Gilbert confirmed, “We’ve had this tied up for some time. The property owners are not willing to continue.”
During public comment, Paul Eelkema said he didn’t believe it was the sentiment of Cave Creek to request more commercial at this time and asked how the special area plan would catch up with the rezoning.
David Smith said he was “certainly opposed” to the application’s approval and stated it was not necessary to the town’s fiscal purposes and was inconsistent with the area.
He called Carefree Highway the line of demarcation between the urban sprawl and Phoenix and Cave Creek and called the application inconsistent with the special area plan.
Tom Stringer said he would hate to see the small town over-commercialized.
Charles Spitzer (r) disagreed that no one would ever build a residence on Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road and pointed to several busier intersections, such as Tatum Boulevard and Cave Creek Road and Cave Creek Road and State Route 101, which have residential development at the intersection.
He asked, “Do we have to put a cash register at every corner?”
Steve Crosten said he opposed the application, stating the special area plan needed to come first.
Eileen Wright stated there was not a need for more commercial land and asked the commission not rezone any more residential land to commercial in the area.
Richard Johnson said some history was omitted from the applicant’s presentation, such as the General Commercial land added to the town with the annexation to the west.
He opposed piecemeal development and said the developer prefers moving forward with residential rather than commercial and that behavior won’t change until the town starts rejecting such applications.
Mike Durkin stated most things were eloquently pointed out by his predecessors with regard to piecemeal development and encroachment on residential.
He said the only way to keep Cave Creek special was not to deviate from the 2005 general plan and stated the general plan is a result of the residents of the town, not council and not staff.
Sharon McCarthy (r) said, “I guess I’m the only one for this,” and claimed most of the residents opposing the application seemed to be residents of Estado de Cholla.
Arthur Robinson, who lives behind Lowe’s, said he hoped the commission will think about their neighbors.
He said property values dove since Lowe’s was built and he now must contend with the dirt, trash and traffic, stating, “The impact on my home is incredible.”
Paul Teixeria stated he was opposed to Park West’s proposal and said their projects, which included a fast food restaurant, were inconsistent with the general plan.
He said, “I’ve heard Stewart Jean’s pronounce-ment that Carefree Highway will be like Bell Road. That is not what Cave Creek is about.”
Wes Cooper pointed out Jean, who claims to “live in the area” lives in Carefree, not Cave Creek, and he’s stated publicly “the dumpy little town of Cave Creek is good only as a place for Scottsdale residents to buy beer and T-shirts.”
He said, “[Jean], of course, thinks the very best use of this property is generating revenue for Park West.”
Timothy Spence said he feels for all the people opposed but said Cave Creek is growing.
He asked, “What’s wrong with growth? What’s wrong with commercial where it belongs?”
Spence urged the town to “embrace growth” and “embrace commercial zoning” but do it in a way that “everyone’s satisfied.”
Bob Moore said it was inferred that only people who live near it were opposed and stated he lives about as far away as one can.
Moore said he was opposed to this piecemeal approach to development.
David Phelps stated, “What’s needed to be said has been said. I support my neighbors who oppose this.”
Sally Goldberg said she lives in Estado de Cholla and was opposed.
Gilbert balked at the comment about Carefree Highway being the line of demarcation and said, “Our lot has a vacant dilapidated house on it. No one wants to live there. Residential is not a good use of this property and hasn’t been for some time. The bottom line is this piece of property has been ripe for several years now to be commercial.”
When Commissioner Ray Fontaine moved to continue both cases to Sept. 20, Chairman Dan Baxley said the motion was out of order.
Bryda then moved to recommend approval of the general plan amendment, making the motion in the affirmative as recommended by Cordwell.
He said he’s been on the commission since 2007 and his opinion hasn’t changed.
Commissioner Reg Monachino seconded the motion.
However, no vote was held.
Fontaine then moved to continue the case to Sept. 20 with Bryda seconding the motion. That motion passed by a vote of 5-1, with Commissioner John Ford absent and Commissioner Peter Omundson dissenting.
The motions were repeated for the rezoning application with Bryda moving and Monachino seconding the motion to recommend approval. Bryda said he didn’t support piecemeal development.
However, again there was no vote on the motion.
Again, Fontaine moved to continue the case to Sept. 20, which passed unanimously, leaving two sets of motions in space and Cordwell shaking his head.