Planning commission selects new chair and vice chair

Meeth commented, ‘I hear frustration with commissioners but it’s not with the developer, it’s with our code’

Bookmark and Share

david smith and eileen wrightCAVE CREEK – As its first order of business on Feb. 19, the planning commission selected David Smith and Eileen Wright as its chair and vice chair, respectively.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell announced the March meeting would be held for input on the general plan before the April public hearing.

Smith suggested additional meetings be scheduled for general plan discussion.

Newly appointed planning commissioners Grace Meeth and Bruce McNeil abstained from voting to approve the minutes from the Nov. 20, 2014 meeting since neither was on the commission at that time.

With McNeil abstaining, the commission voted unanimously to approve Phase 2 of the McDonald’s site plan for Stewart Jean, representing Park West Development.

Jean said it was a “pretty simple, straight-forward project” for the second commercial building, which will be located on the west end of the site.

Cordwell introduced the next agenda item, site plan review for Tractor Supply.

Commissioner Ted Bryda noted previous discussions indicated the property was within the city of Phoenix water franchise area and asked whose water it was now.

Cordwell said it was currently in the Phoenix certificated water area and Phoenix will provide water to the site.

However, he said the town will provide sewer service and water for fire suppression.

Commissioner Bob Voris asked how sewer would be billed if water is from Phoenix.

Cordwell said sewer is billed based on water meter size, not amount of water used.

nick brown and david longNick Brown and David Long (r) were on hand to represent the applicant and answer questions about the project.

Voris asked numerous questions about the location of fire hydrants, which Brown pointed out on the site plan.

Wright said there was a large expanse of paved parking lot with no plants or trees.

She explained the “heat island effect” from paving and asked the applicant if they would be willing to go beyond the box size and volume of landscaping required by the town.

Long said the town requires 65 parking spaces and 15 percent landscaping and they had already agreed to 20 percent landscaping.

Wright stated, “An acre and a half with nothing alive on it is a problem for me,” and asked again if they would be willing to do more.

Long said, “No, we’re not willing. We’re meeting the ordinance and then some.”

Wright then asked if they were willing to put in a split rail fence as a Tractor Supply in California had done.

Long said they would need to see what she was talking about.

Voris moved to recommend approval of the site plan and welcomed the applicants to the community.

Meeth seconded the motion and wished them well.

Commissioner Dan Baxley commented, for the record, he would like to see if the town could reduce the number of parking spaces and, if it would, asked the applicant if they would reconsider their answer to Wright’s request.

Long stated they were delivering an upgraded site and an upgraded building and showed a rendering of the proposed project on the site

Meeth stated she had mixed feelings and said the outdoor display area “looks a little disturbing.”

She said, “I’m still trying to process it. It looks more like storage.”

McNeil further encouraged the applicant to reconsider Wright’s question and said the aesthetics would add value to the community.

He said, “As I told council, my idea of economic development is it needs to be well conceived and considerate.”

Bryda stated he was dead set against outdoor storage but said he was going to support the project.

Council voted 5-1-1 to recommend approval with Wright dissenting and McNeil abstaining.

Council then voted 6-1, with Wright dissenting, to recommend approval for a special use permit to allow Tractor Supply to have outdoor storage and display of retail merchandise.

Meeth commented, “I hear frustration with commissioners but it’s not with the developer, it’s with our code.”

She suggested the commission consider bringing some recommended changes forward for review.

readers love sonoran news