Grease trap violations could result in sanctions

Council nixes permit requirements for some fences and walls
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CAVE CREEK – During Monday night’s meeting, Town Manager Peter Jankowski informed council the bases have been poured for the two gateway statues and council will be receiving the new grease trap ordinance for review next week.

Call to the Public brought Cave Creek Museum Executive Director Evelyn Johnson to the podium to give council a “sneak peek” at the museum’s annual report, which she passed out to each council member.

David Smith said he spoke a month or so ago at council about infrastructure gracefully deteriorating but new photographs show it was not so graceful.

He said the pictures should be on the front page of Sonoran News because people need to know.

Council unanimously passed the second reading of an ordinance amending the town code by deleting Section 51.084, “Volume charges for excess BOD and TSS and sewer utility fees,” because the rate structure was two years out of date and the ordinance is obsolete.

david prinzhornUtilities Manager David Prinzhorn (r) said he’s been working with businesses that are grease trap offenders by providing them with a pamphlet.

He said businesses need to correct the problem or the town may have to impose sanctions.

Prinzhorn said the town has the ability to do random spot checks of businesses for compliance.

Councilman Mike Durkin asked what percent of businesses are out of compliance.

Prinzhorn said it was about one third, eight out of 24 to 25 businesses that are consistent offenders.

He said some of these businesses have also had “graceful deterioration” of their infrastructure while others just don’t want to do what they need to do as regularly as it needs to be done.

Prinzhorn said they were working to get the worst offenders corrected first and then they will deal with the rest of the businesses.

During public comment, Roger Kohrs asked what the additional cost was to the town to correct at the treatment plant.

Prinzhorn said it wasn’t so much a matter of cost but rather trying to stop grease from reaching the plant because it doesn’t break down.

However, he did say it costs them in man hours and other expenses.

Kohrs said, “We should expect the rate payers to pay their fair share.”

Bob Moore said citizens need to know more about these issues and problems. He stated, “If this info is shared with citizens, maybe they can take action and vote with their feet.”

Councilman Ernie Bunch, who moved to approve the second reading, said the ordinance had outlived its usefulness.

Councilman Thomas McGuire said, “At this point, our major effort needs to be compliance.”

Vice Mayor Adam Trenk thanked Prinzhorn and said, “We need to learn from our mistakes of the past. Not enforcing our ordinances, we’re burdening our citizens.”

Council also voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an ordinance to amend the zoning ordinance with respect to permit requirements for fences and walls.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell said Trenk had come to staff a couple of months ago with concerns people had about requiring permits to put up fences, such as corral fences, on weekends and needing a permit when town hall was closed.

He said the planning commission voted to recommend denial and had concerns about not requiring a permit or zoning clearance for walls five and half feet tall from grade.

Cordwell said Maricopa County Flood Control read about the proposed ordinance change and had some concerns as well.

Mayor Vincent Francia asked Building Official Mike Baxley if the ordinance, as proposed, was aligned with the changes council previously made to the building code.

Baxley said it was for the most part but referred to Exhibit A and said there is a differentiation between wall and fence, whereas a wall is something that supports a structure and a fence is something that divides property.

Trenk said they needed to make the ordinance congruent with what they passed last month.

Durkin asked if they were including walls.

Baxley said if they defined it.

Durkin asked how many masonry walls four feet and under have they had fall down in Cave Creek.

Baxley replied, “None that I know of.”

Councilman Thomas McGuire asked if he’s had any instances of walls being built on the wrong property.

Baxley said, “Yes.”

Trenk made a few amendments with his motion to approve.

Before voting, McGuire asked Baxley if the changes they made addressed the ambiguity.

Baxley said they did.

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