Taste of Cave Creek and a taste of Cave Creek Town Council

‘That’s a sacrifice you make when you become town manager’
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CAVE CREEK – Call to the Public brought Larry Wendt to the podium during Monday night’s council meeting to say he appreciated the opportunity to be a part of Taste of Cave Creek.

While the event has been a success every year, Wendt thanked council and said, “This time you knocked it out of the park.”

Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman announced there were graduate students present that were participating in a management audit.

As it came time to approve the consent agenda, various council members asked to pull four of the six items on the consent agenda so they could be discussed as general agenda items.

The first item was the second reading of an ordinance to delete references to PADs (planned area developments) and PUDs (planned unit developments), which are no longer allowed in the zoning ordinance.

mike durkinAfter Councilman Mike Durkin (l) moved to approve the second reading, Councilman Reg Monachino said, “I’d like to amend that to say ‘private streets shall be prohibited,’ period.”

Town Attorney Fredda Bisman weighed in to advise council that would be a substantive change since the first reading because it makes it the rule rather than the exception.

Monachino argued it was not.

Bisman advised a change of that type would require the item to be re-advertised and go through the process again.

Councilman Thomas McGuire said he was not clear what the implications would be and didn’t believe council had enough information to make that decision.

Durkin said he was not in favor of blanket solutions and offered an amendment to the amendment to allow for private streets by allowing for exceptions.

Bisman again advised if council wanted to do that they should take it back through the process.
Mayor Vincent Francia asked if there was still material change in light of Durkin’s amendment.

After repeating the amendment, Bisman said it would not be a material change.

Vice Mayor Adam Trenk then asked to add language to Durkin’s amendment by saying “exception by a majority vote of council” so it doesn’t appear to be administrative.

The vote on the amendment passed by a vote of 4-3 with councilmen Charles Spitzer, Ernie Bunch and McGuire dissenting.

The vote on the original motion then passed unanimously.

Council voted 6-1 to approve the second reading of the IGA between Carefree and Cave Creek to consolidate municipal court operations with an emergency clause.

According to Glassman, the emergency clause, which requires a super majority vote, was added so tenant improvements could get underway.

Bunch, the only dissenting vote, asked Glassman how his meeting with Carefree Municipal Judge K.C. Skull went and if there was conflict.

While Glassman skirted answering the question, Bunch stated, “I’m just not comfortable with this whole thing.”

Council voted 6-1, with Monachino dissenting, on a resolution in support of the Navajo Generating Station “Better than BART alternative.”

Bunch said he pulled the item from the consent agenda so citizens would know what council was voting on.

He moved to approve the resolution supporting the “Better than BART alternative” as a less expensive solution for the Navajo Generating Station to come into compliance with EPA standards for air quality than EPA’s recommendation, which would cost approximately $544 million and subsequently raise the cost of water pumped from the Colorado River through the CAP canal. Bunch said the EPA seems to support the alternative solution but it still needs to advance through a process.

Trenk who seconded the motion said, “The EPA has overreached in its demands” and hoped it would keep water affordable.

Council voted unanimously to approve its contract with Dickinson Wright/Mariscal Weeks for legal services.

Glassman said an attorney with Gust Rosenfeld reviewed the contract and suggested minor changes, which had been incorporated and accepted by Mariscal Weeks.

He also said the litigation by the former town manager will be a significant expense to the town.

Trenk amended the contract so the town manager cannot engage counsel without prior approval from council.

His amendment passed by a vote of 6-1 with McGuire dissenting.

william mundellWilliam Mundell (r), Director of the Registrar of Contractors, in a presentation to council about the agency, said it was focusing its resources on unlicensed contractors and the bad actors, based on tips received from victims.

Trenk introduced the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the town manager from engaging in political activity.

During public comment, David Smith suggested adding language that would also preclude the town manager from soliciting signatures for referendums.

Trenk added language to that effect.

Francia asked Trenk where the line was between citizen and town manager.

Trenk responded, “That’s a sacrifice you make when you become town manager.”

McGuire suggested amending the motion to say “during working hours.”

Trenk said, “No, it should be broader than that. It’s in the ICMA Code of Ethics.”

Bunch asked Bisman if their ordinance was more restrictive than other municipalities.

Bisman said it was not and was already applicable to all other town employees.

The motion carried unanimously.

Trenk introduced an amended and abbreviated version of his “Code of the West” resolution that was rejected the last time he served on council.

This time it was a resolution “requiring a notice to be made available to potential buyers of real property in the town describing the unique attributes of the town and the measures adopted to preserve those attributes.”

Bunch asked, “What’s the plan for implementing this?”

Trenk said it would be made available at town hall and distributed to by realtors on a voluntary basis.

The resolution passed unanimously.

Council passed an ordinance that changes the various multiple residential categories (MR-8, MR-14, MR-21 and MR-43) to a single category of MR.

ian cordwellAccording to Planning Director Ian Cordwell (r), the requirements for all the different categories are the same as far as setbacks, parking, landscaping, etc. go.

He said the requirements that need to be met will only allow between 8-10 units per acre.

Changing the ordinance to one category would simply eliminate several pages from the zoning ordinance.

He also noted the planning commission voted against the revision.

Planning Commission Chair Ted Bryda told council the planning commission “had quite a discussion on this” and said, “If there’s a will there’s a way” when someone is told they can’t do something.

He said, “I think you’re walking dangerously if you approve this tonight.”

Bunch, who moved to approve the ordinance, said, “It just gets rid of a lot of paperwork. I trust staff to do the right thing.”

Monachino, who stated he was mindful of the chairman’s comments, said, “Cleaning up these ordinances is a good idea.”

lou speltsLou Spelts (l) was before council with a final plat amendment for his Continental Mountain Estates development that would privatize the roads and allow for a gate to keep crime out of his subdivision.

Francia asked about the crime.

Spelts said there’s been crime, fires and graffiti, stating, “All that we’re doing is making the streets private.”

Trenk told Spelts, “I was unaware that this is an issue you attempted to get approval for on two prior occasions.”

Spelts denied ever making the request previously.

Monachino said on Dec. 3, 2001 the request for a private road was discussed at length and was later withdrawn.

He said the second request was denied.

Spelts stated the issue was never brought up since the property was subdivided.

Trenk said, “I don’t think this is in line with our vision for our community. I’m willing to allow a temporary gate until the first lot is developed.”

Spelts said the other issue was the road hasn’t been maintained by the town, which was hindering his ability to sell lots.

Durkin said he didn’t see a problem with the road and it appears to be in good shape.

Spelts said it needs to be sealed and the landscaping needs to be cultivated.

Francia asked Town Marshal Adam Stein to address the crime aspect.

Stein said it’s a very isolated area and during patrols they’ve seen evidence of camp fires and other activities.

Spelts stated he already has a temporary gate at the property, which a woman stated during public comment she’s seen people drive up, get out of their cars, move the barricades out of the way and drive through.

He did agree to Trenk’s suggestion for a gate that would allow an area for pedestrian and equestrian access.

Scott Dahne said they had the same problem with private roads in his subdivision until the first house was built.

He said they ended up dedicating their roads to the town and recommended council not approve the request.

Grace Meeth said Cave Creek is not a gated community type of community and this would be a long-term solution to a short-term problem.

Anna Marsolo said no one had mentioned the precedent this could set as there were eight other subdivisions she could think of off the top of her head that would probably like to be gated communities as well.

Spelts said he has a lot of money invested in the development and said he wouldn’t be interested in a temporary gate.

“These gates are expensive,” said Spelts.

McGuire moved to approve the final plat, only so it would move to a vote and said, “I’m very much against this.”

Bunch seconded the motion and said, “I have mixed emotions on this. Gates on a subdivision at the terminus of a road make no difference.”

Spitzer said shortly after he was elected to office, Spelts called him and told him he had buyers who were interested but wanted a gated community.

Durkin said the applicant was willing to give access to pedestrians and equestrians but said he wanted to table the item.

Monachino said the problem was primarily an enforcement issue and stated, “It’s a hand grenade when a screwdriver will do. Council is not here to solve the applicant’s marketing problems.”

He went on to say Spelts has the same property rights as everyone else with similarly zoned property.

Trenk offered an amendment to McGuire’s motion, which McGuire refused.

Francia said he reviewed his voting record on gated communities and stated he has consistently voted against them.

“Gates keep people out,” said Francia, adding, “The town has taken a dim view on them.”

Francia said he failed to see the relationship between gates and sales, stating, “Our role is council, not quasi developers.”

When the motion failed by a vote of 6-1 with Bunch dissenting, the audience broke out into applause.

The mayor called for another motion.

Trenk moved to approve the final plat with a stipulation there be a non-vehicular public easement and gated access that provided for pedestrian and equestrian access.

Bunch seconded the motion.

Durkin stated if there is access, it’s not gated, and said, “We’re getting hung up on the word ‘gated.’ I’m very much in favor of the vice mayor’s motion.”

Marsolo, who supported Durkin in his run for council, said afterward, “He was a candidate in sheep’s clothing with a fox suit under it.”

McGuire said, “A gate is about excluding people.”

Spitzer said gates keep people out from enjoying their town.

Monachino said, “A rose by any other name …”

Trenk said he didn’t think they were setting a precedent.

Monachino said they tried to help the applicant but he said “no.”

Francia said, “Gate is still quacking to me. Gates isolate a development from the rest of the community.”

The motion failed by a vote of 3-4 with Bunch, Durkin and Trenk voting in favor.

Glassman provided council on an update and timeline for hiring a permanent town manager.

He said to date they had already received 40 applications with resumes and letters of interest.

They would still accept applications until the end of the month and then the four-person selection committee, consisting of himself, Trenk, Glassman and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, would select three finalists to bring to council.

Glassman said he was pleased to have been able to have dinner with Mayor Smith and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg the other night.

During public comment, David Smith said they should have a scoring rubric. He said it increases transparency because council would have a document.

However, Smith said he didn’t agree with whittling down 40 candidates to three without the rest of council.

McGuire said he was very paranoid about the process and called it flawed. He said this was the most important decision this council would make and agreed the entire council should be involved.

McGuire said he didn’t like the process that resulted in selecting the interim town manager and this process made him paranoid.

Bunch agreed the entire council should be able to review all the candidates before a selection is made, not afterward.

He also said Arizona Game and Fish has the entire board review applicants for posts and does it through an elimination process. Whereas the first round would result in 19 applicants and then another round would pare it down further until there were only a few.

Bunch said the process seems to work fine with the entire board involved.

The rest of council didn’t seem to have a problem with the process and since it was an information item only with no council action, the mayor called for a motion to adjourn.

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