Planning chair refuses to agendize zoning change for horses in R-35

Planning commission unanimously recommended approval for new commercial building on southeast corner of Cave Creek and Olesen
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ted byrdaCAVE CREEK – Planning Commission Chair Ted Bryda began the Sept. 18 meeting by updating the commission on a request made by two commissioners during the July meeting regarding the possibility of ranch use in R-35 zoning districts.

During the July 17 meeting, while discussing an ordinance that would address ranch use on DR-89 and DR-190 properties that are non-conforming in size and do not meet the ordinance’s two-acre minimum for ranch and equestrian use, Mike Noonan spoke during public comment asking the commission to consider including R-35 properties in the ordinance. He stated he currently has horses on his property, claiming the ordinance does not preclude equine use.

Currently equine use is only legally allowed on properties in Desert Rural zoning districts on parcels with at least two contiguous acres, unless they were grandfathered in with continuous use on smaller parcels prior to incorporation.

Noonan said the town marshal showed up at his home and told him he was in violation and gave him one month to remove his horses.

Noonan, who is a local realtor, stated there were not very many R-35 properties in town and he knew of at least six others with horses.

He said, as a horse community, the town should establish guidance and not force property owners to remove their horses.

Bryda said he researched the issue and there were over 600 parcels in town zoned R-35, of which only 12-15 were grandfathered in as horse properties.

Because of the large number of properties affected, Bryda stated he did not agree the use would be appropriate and said he refused to place the issue on the agenda.

The only item on the agenda was a site plan review for a new 8,500 square-foot commercial building at the southeast corner of Cave Creek and Olesen roads, just south of Walmart.

Responding to questions about the application, Associate Planner Luke Kautzman said the applicant would be adding a 75-foot deceleration lane to make a right turn into the property from Olesen Road. He said access to the parcel would be a right turn in and right turn out.

Vice Chair Rae Iverson asked if an engineering study looked at increasing Olesen Road to two lanes to address traffic on Olesen Road, which would be servicing Walmart, the building recently completed in front of Walmart and the proposed building.

Kautzman said the traffic impact analysis found the road to be sufficient.

peter nelsonPeter Nelson, who developed the building in front of Walmart and will be developing the new building to the south, stated the deceleration lane was not on the site plan but they proposed increasing it to 75 feet.

He stated the deceleration lane will have striping to indicate a fairly typical condition that shouldn’t create any confusion.

Rick Reigle, the architect for the project, responding to questions about drainage, explained the site would be able to retain 100-year storm water on site in underground tanks.

Commissioner Bob Voris seemed confused as to the number of tenants the building would have, questioning if there would only be two.

Nelson explained the building is a spec building and they calculated the maximum amount that could be used for restaurants, versus other uses, that could be accommodated by parking, since restaurants require more parking spaces than retail and other uses.

Commissioner Dan Baxley questioned the size of the parking spaces, indicating they seemed undersized for the large vehicles typical in Cave Creek.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell stated that it was all they could require, as per the zoning ordinance.

Iverson questioned the placement of the trash enclosure and the aesthetics of it being the first thing encountered when entering the site.

Cordwell said the main entry to the building is to the north and it was placed on the non-door side of the building.

Nelson stated the trash truck needs to have access and be able to open the gates of the enclosure.

Baxley inquired about the landscaping plans and asked why they weren’t provided to the commission.

He asked for them to be provided in the future “so we can see what our town is going to look like,” noting there have been numerous comments about how no one wants the Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway commercial corridor to look like Bell Road.

Nelson said the goal was to leave as much of the natural vegetation as possible, while Kautzman pointed out there were a lot of mature trees that would be left in place.

Cordwell told Baxley staff could provide landscaping plans to the commission if they wish, but said staff provides the developer with guidelines and requirements.

Nelson stated they’ve had a very pleasant experience with their first project in Cave Creek.

Commissioner Eileen Wright asked if the new building can be 21-feet high, like the one they just completed, instead of 27 feet.

Reigle stated the existing building is 29 feet and their intent is for the new building to be the same height.

Wright then asked if they could sacrifice a couple parking spaces for an outdoor seating area.

Nelson said it was certainly something they could consider if a tenant wanted a patio area.

She then asked if the parking lot lighting could be on 10-foot poles instead of 15 feet.

Nelson said if the lighting is lower it requires more fixtures.

Cordwell stated the ordinance allows for 15 feet.

During public comment, Lute Obaidi stated he lives on Olesen Road and last year he was stopped by a cop, who told him he was driving on a private road.

It wasn’t clear what Obaidi wanted addressed by the commission.

According to town staff, Olesen Road is a public road.

Baxley moved to recommend the site plan’s approval with Wright seconding the motion.

Bryda said he agreed with Baxley and would like to see the landscaping plans in the future.

When Voris asked to have “the rest of the verbiage” in the motion, Cordwell clarified the exhibits in their packet are already included in the motion.

The motion carried unanimously.

Cordwell announced the next meeting would be on Oct. 23 to review a rezoning application for a tractor supply company on the parcel just south of the Chevron Station. He said there might also be a site plan review for the project.

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