BY LINDA BENTLEY | DECEMBER 18, 2013
Council meetings now being live streamed
CAVE CREEK – Mayor Vincent Francia opened Monday night’s meeting by stating it was the last meeting for the year and wished everyone a happy Christmas holiday.
Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman announced that council meetings are now being live streamed on the town’s website: www.cavecreek.org.
Per Francia’s recommendation, council voted unanimously to refer agenda items eight and nine, the Fire Infrastructure Master Plan and the Water and Sewer Asset Summary, to the Water Advisory Committee.
With no one wishing to speak during Call to the Public, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director R.J. Cardin (r), who was invited to be the guest speaker for the meeting, presented an update on what the county has been working on with relation to Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area (SCRCA) and Cave Creek Regional Park.
Cardin said for the past few years, they’ve been working on transferring the water rights for SCRCA, some of which are going to conservation and some to the town.
He said the Maricopa Trail connection to all the regional parks in the county are about 50 percent completed.
Currently, SCRCA is connected all the way to Lake Pleasant with a trail that goes under I-17.
Cardin talked about numerous projects the county has completed, others underway and discussed the SCRCA master plan, which included an environmental education center.
He said that would be a great facility for the town on the Phoenix Mine site.
Cardin then introduced Bob Fox from Wild at Heart, who has proposed a raptor recovery center at the site and was looking at the feasibility of raising funds.
Cardin said the county is committed to the project.
Fox said Wild at Heart has been around since 1994 with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and relocate birds of prey, and stated they have outgrown every facility they’ve been in.
Having done a feasibility study, Fox said it made sense to do the visitors center first to drive the economic engine to fund the rehabilitation center.
Fox said he was asking for the town’s support so they could start their capital campaign.
Councilman Thomas McGuire asked Fox if he would welcome a resolution from council expressing support.
Fox responded, “Yes, very much.”
Francia asked if he had a cost projection.
Fox said it would be around $8 million and stated the facility would be solar powered, use reclaimed water and be environmentally sensitive.
During public comment, Anna Marsolo asked if there had been any talk about increased traffic on Spur Cross Road.
She also questioned if this was considered acceptable change by the open space committee and asked if the county had discussed any of this.
When Glassman asked if council wanted staff to prepare a resolution in support of Wild at Heart, McGuire responded, “absolutely.”
Council voted unanimously to extend its sublease for the rodeo grounds through 2032 with Maricopa County, which leases the property from Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Vice Mayor Adam Trenk asked Town Attorney Fredda Bisman how much it will cost the town to extend the lease.
Bisman replied, “Absolutely no out of pocket cost to the town to extend the lease.”
During public comment Traci Casale, president of the Cave Creek Rodeo, said they only use the rodeo grounds one weekend per year and would like to see other groups use the grounds.
She also said she’d like to have restrooms there.
Cardin assured the town if the county were to extend its lease with BLM, the county would extend its lease to Cave Creek.
Trenk said in order to budget improvements, the town needed to have longevity.
Francia said council would be selecting the finalist for the town manager position and staff will bring back a contract in January.
He said the procedure would be a call for nominations and then a vote. Then there would be a second nomination and vote for an alternate.
Councilman Charles Spitzer nominated Peter Jankowski (l), who was then selected unanimously by council.
McGuire nominated James Palenick as the alternate, while Councilman Mike Durkin nominated Himanshu Patel.
Council approved Palenick as the alternate by a vote of 6-1 with Durkin dissenting.
Durkin’s motion to reconsider the last vote was approved unanimously and Durkin then changed his vote in favor of Palenick to make the vote unanimous.
The median banner sign pilot program initiated by the planning department in conjunction with the Cave Creek Merchants and Events Association (CCMEA) was brought to council for expansion of the program.
Planning Director Ian Cordwell said they want to place 24 poles in the town core.
He said the cost of the poles, including installation, is $475 each and the cost for the hardware for the banners is $225 per pole.
Spitzer stated the transportation framework study indicated shrinking medians and asked how these would be affected.
Cordwell said they would not be affected.
McGuire confirmed the cost was $700 per pole and hardware.
Cordwell said staff would determine the locations.
Johnny Ringo, president of the CCMEA, said the program is a win-win that allows businesses and nonprofits to promote the town. He also said his choice for town manager was “Peter from Mass.”
Jean Glass (r), treasurer of the CCMEA, thanked Cordwell and Bambi Muller for their help with the project and said this was the first council and town manager that have allowed sustainable advertising and named a slew of cities and towns that have adopted street banner programs.
She said sponsorships for the banners would come from nonprofits, businesses and events and they would produce the banners at a wholesale price.
Glass said the banner program would eliminate the problem of sandwich sign clutter throughout town.
Evelyn Johnson, executive director of the Cave Creek Museum said the museum is one of the town’s “hidden treasures” that would benefit from the banner program.
Bob Moore said he was very favorably inclined to the program at first blush but questioned Glass’ comment about how the program would diminish signs in Cave Creek.
He said sales tax revenue came in last year at 118 percent and businesses were right on target this year.
“Merchants are not hurting right now with the signage they have,” said Moore, adding, “It’s my hope each of you will review Section Nine of the ordinance,” while pointing out Stagecoach Village has just under 20 banners and signs.
He said, “I see this proposal positively with the proviso that we get some of these tacky signs off our streets.”
Francia questioned the content of the banners and asked who would review and approve them.
Cordwell said staff and CCMEA, as outlined in the ordinance.
Councilman Reg Monachino thanked Cordwell and Muller as he moved to go forward with 12 poles with a second by Trenk.
Trenk said he was behind the concept and 12 poles was more reasonable than 24, calling it visual clutter.
He asked how the town would get a handle on the sandwich boards and said the standards for the banners didn’t seem apparent to him.
Trenk said part of it should be about branding the community.
Durkin said he didn’t think it was thought through and, although he supported the concept, stated, “If we support 12 poles there will be a push for more,” noting there are more than 12 businesses in town.
McGuire said there were two separate issues at hand, one was the sandwich boards and one was the banner program.
Spitzer said he was behind the concept but there has been sign clutter since he’s been here and there was no buy-in from the merchants that the other signs would go away.
Bunch said 12 was definitely better than 24 but said, “Maybe we need to codify the issue with the sandwich boards first.”
Francia said it was a really good concept and stated council needed to separate the item from sandwich signs.
He asked for a motion to continue the item to the Jan. 6 meeting.
Bisman pointed out there was already a motion on the floor that needed to either be voted on or withdrawn.
Monachino withdrew his motion.
During public comment, Marsolo wanted it on the record that she offered to pay for six poles made out of wood instead of metal and asked if there was any way to stipulate there would be no lighting.
Ringo said it was a good program and needed to be separate from the sandwich boards.
“You need to do your job to get rid of those,” said Ringo. “We’re not tacky and will make sure the banners in the median are professional.”
He said as far as wood and metal went, he didn’t see any problem with metal.
Cody McKay said, “I just bought the Document House and would just like to know how the bidding process went because I do banners.”
Donna Moore asked if the poles needed to be that tall and asked that they have no lighting.
She stated, “The sandwich boards would disappear if there were enforcement. They would disappear overnight.”
Bunch moved to approve the first reading of the ordinance for the banner program with a provision there be no lights.
Trenk seconded the motion, which carried by a vote of 6-1 with Spitzer dissenting.
Four people were vying for two open seats on planning commission, including commissioners Rae Iverson and Peter Omundson.
Two new people, Everett Bell and Bob Voris, submitted letters of interest as well.
The nomination for Bell failed by a vote of 3-4, with Trenk, Monachino, Durkin and Spitzer dissenting.
Iverson was then reappointed unanimously.
Council then appointed Voris by a vote of 6-1, with McGuire dissenting.
Council voted 5-2, with Francia and McGuire dissenting, to approve staff’s recommendations for amending various sections of Chapter 15 of the zoning ordinance to expand public notification.
Bunch, who moved to approve the first reading, added a provision so that if one home in a subdivision is affected that a second notification letter go to the head of the HOA.
Spitzer asked to amend the motion to include special use permits in the cases requiring half-mile notification, which Bunch accepted.
Monachino asked to amend the motion to include the entire recommendation by the planning commission, which would require a half-mile notification radius for all cases, but received no second.