New sign at Stagecoach Village has Creekers in a tizzy

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stagecoach village signCAVE CREEK – The town’s planning department received numerous calls on Thursday as a crane helped set a huge Stagecoach Village sign in place along Cave Creek Road.

The sign’s goal appears to help identify the businesses below in the shopping center since they are not visible from Cave Creek Road.

According to Associate Planner Bambi Muller, the sign is indeed permitted through a long ago development agreement.

She said Planning Director Ian Cordwell was out of the office so she wasn’t able to ask precisely when it was approved, but stated it was quite some time ago.

Sonoran News located the Dec. 16, 1991 development agreement between the town and Cave Creek Gateway Limited Partnership, the original developer of the Stagecoach Village project.

Under the section titled “Signage,” one of the objectives stated is: “To restrict private signs and lights which overload the public’s capacity to receive information or draw unnecessary attention to themselves.”

The development agreement allows for building identification signs, and states: “Each shop may have one sign oriented towards the parking/driveway areas identifying the building as a whole and/or its predominant individual uses. Additionally, there may be one occupancy sign for each major occupant within the building identifying the major doorway entrance of the building. All signs will be of one general design to provide graphic continuity for the building and site.”

According to the development agreement, building mounted signs may not exceed 16 feet in length or 30 percent of the building elevation on which it is placed, whichever is less.

The agreement also allows for ground-mounted monument signs at primary entries to the commercial development.

Stagecoach Village already has monument signs at its entrances.

Another provision states, “Occupancy signs not combined with the building identification sign shall have a gross surface area not to exceed 15 square feet and a maximum letter height of eight inches.”

There are a few other provisions under the section on signage that apply to internal directional signs and temporary signage, inapplicable to the sign, which appears to be around 200 square feet, that was installed last week.

The zoning ordinance allows for one freestanding sign with a total area of up to 40 square feet, a maximum height of 12 feet and requires a permit. The height is measured from grade to the highest point of the sign.

After reviewing the zoning ordinance and the only development agreement we could find recorded for the project, Sonoran News sent a public records request to the town to find out if there is an amended agreement, as the new sign appears to fall under neither the zoning ordinance nor the 1991 agreement.

According to Cordwell, although he could not locate a recorded document for the amendment, he referred Sonoran News to the minutes of the July, 16, 2007 council meeting during which it was approved by a vote of 5-1 with Councilwoman Grace Meeth dissenting and Councilwoman Kim Brennan absent.

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