Bike Week, lane closures and revenue

Casale said, ‘We’re a very small town doing very big things’

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adam steinCAVE CREEK – During Monday night’s council meeting Town Marshal Adam Stein (r) reported on the Fiesta Days Parade, Bike Week and road closures.

Stein said the town allowed seven days of road restrictions and there were no major incidents.

However, he said there were a few arrests.

Stein said Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had a saturation patrol on duty during Bike Week and that task force made five arrests.

According to Stein, the longest delays in traffic occurred on March 21 and 28, with the longest, 17 minutes to drive through town, on the 28th on the westbound side, which he said began at the top of the hill by Cave Creek Building Supply. He said the next longest delay of 9 minutes occurred on March 2.

Stein said there were a few minor skirmishes at a couple of the bars, which is not unusual for Cave Creek.

He said he received a few complaints about the bikes being loud but received no music complaints.

The volume of people attending Bike Week in Cave Creek was up this year, said Stein, although he noted it was more of an earlier crowd.

Vice Mayor Steve LaMar asked Stein if there was anything in the permit process that lets him know a giant four-story high inflatable will be installed on top of a building, referring to an inflatable on top of the Tap Haus.

Stein said the ordinance doesn’t permit them and they were asked to take it down.

LaMar also asked if the sign ordinance had any restrictions for profanity and held up a picture of a vendor’s sign for Bad Muthaf---a Clothing.

Stein replied that the town hopes for decency but there is nothing in the town code that would restrict it.

LaMar then questioned if there was anything in the ordinance that prohibits motorcycle gangs, such as the Hell’s Angels, from flying their colors.

Stein said there was not.

Councilman Mark Lipsky asked Stein what criteria the town used for road restrictions, how he determined the length of the lane closures and how many more events there would be with road restrictions.

Stein said any business can request a road closure for an event and if the town determines there’s a need, he will approve it.

mark bradshawHe said the lane closures for parades allow enough room for staging based on the estimated number of entries, whereas road closures for Bike Week are based on an estimated number of attendees Stein receives from Mark Bradshaw (r), who owns the Hideaway Grill and Tap Haus.

Stein said the closures taper off at the ends to give traffic a chance to get into the other lane without running into anything.

The only other upcoming event Stein said he is aware of so far is the balloon festival in May.

Councilman Thomas McGuire asked who pays for the additional traffic control.

Stein said the Hideaway and Tap Haus paid for the additional deputies.

Councilman Dick Esser said he received two phone calls and one visit consisting of complaints about bikers moving cones to allow for expanded bike parking that trapped people in the parking lots of businesses so they couldn’t leave.

Stein said throughout his patrols he did not witness any parking lots being blocked.

Clancy asked Stein what could be done to help people who live here to get through town so they can go to Bashas’ or the post office.

Stein said, “We try the best we can to work it out,” but stated with the sheer volume of people delays are inevitable.

Clancy said they need to let more cars through at a time and stated her experience involved only one or two cars being allowed to go through at a time before traffic was stopped again for pedestrians. She suggested they have pedestrians be made to wait until seven or eight cars have passed through.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell said staff was working on alternate routes along Military and Basin roads for emergency access.

Town Attorney Fredda Bisman cautioned council that their discussion was veering off the agenda item as noticed.

During public comment, Sue Mueller said she and her husband love this town and want to live here as long as they can but do not want to live in “Sturgis South” for eight or more days each year.

Mueller pointed out Chapter 114 of the town code states all special events, whether on public or private property, shall be limited to a maximum of four consecutive days per event, unless a longer period of time is requested and granted by the town council in advance.

She said Bike Week began on March 21 and ended on March 29 and asked if this council or the previous council approved a longer period of time.

Because they have to go to the post office to fetch their mail, Mueller said it’s a time-consuming challenge where she has to worry about people running the stop sign and four or more motorcycles going through at once.

She asked, “What about our health, safety and welfare?”

Mueller asked, “Why do we have lane closures at all?”

She said the town doesn’t close lanes for the 3rd or 4th of July even though parking is a nightmare then.

Mueller said everyone loves the fireworks so they put up with the traffic.

She suggested the town not approve a special event permit if they have to close lanes.

Mueller said T.C. Thorstenson should open the gates to his property behind the Tap Haus and put the vendors in there and “park the bikes where they belong – in the Tap Haus parking lot.”

Kerry Smith said event organizers should have to post a bond so when they do put up giant inflatables, in violation of the town code, they forfeit that bond. He said the town could hit them in the pocketbook to gain compliance.

Smith said roads are public resources and closing roads causes a negative effect on other businesses. He suggested creating revenue sharing, whereas those who benefit from the event contribute and then funds are distributed to those businesses that are negatively impacted.

A woman who owns two businesses in town that cater to Bike Week said she’s very grateful for the extra business during Bike Week to make up for the slow summer months.

She said, “I love this town and I would like to see it grow.”

Katya Kincel said, “Why not contact Sturgis and find out how they deal with Bike Week?”

Kincel then asked, “Why is a lot split on the consent agenda?”

Harold’s owner Bill Vale stated prior to Walmart, Harold’s was the largest revenue producer in town. He asked, “Do we want a property tax?”

Vale said his regular customers understand and often stay away until Bike Week is over.

Anna Marsolo said she could show council headlines about Bike Week from as far back as 1999 and state, “It’s always the same thing.”

She said speakers like Mueller have valid concerns and suggested the town put tents and vendors on Bob Kite’s property, have parking where it belongs and leave the roads open.

Terry Smith said the town needs events, which are what help make the town thrive.

He said, “We need events. We don’t want to be like the town next door that has excluded everyone.”

Kaolin Cummens, who owns Flat Tire Bike Shop, called Bike Week a huge asset to the town that drives a huge economy, while noting it’s only one week.

Traci Casale, president of Cave Creek Fiesta Days Rodeo, said trying to restrict special events is a very slippery slope and stated she has never seen better traffic control.

Casale said, “We’re a very small town doing very big things.”

Bradshaw said, “We had more people than ever this Bike Week,” adding, “Any suggestions to make it better, we’re all ears.”

Larry Elliot, responding to Kincel’s comment about asking Sturgis what they do, said, “Sturgis puts up portable walkways.”

Mayor Vincent Francia said council also received comments from Buffalo Chip owner Larry Wendt, who was unable to attend because he was having surgery.

 “Bike Week is awesome,” said Councilman Mark Lipsky, who stated he appreciated Bradshaw’s comment about being open to suggestions.

Councilman Thomas McGuire said Wendt commented in his e-mail that in just nine days the Buffalo Chip generated $15,000 in tax revenue.

Councilman Dick Esser stated, “I think we need a solution. I just don’t know what it is.”

Councilman Ernie Bunch said they cannot discount the residual effect special events have in bringing people back to the town.

Clancy said she was all for special events but believed the town could come up with solutions.

LaMar stated Bike Week takes up twice the road closures as all the other events combined.

He said the issue is parking and allowing citizens to have use of the town and post office.

“I’m looking for a balance,” said LaMar.

Francia said Cave Creek has been experiencing success with special events but said they needed to move the agenda along.

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