By Linda Bentley | september 23, 2015

Bike Week lane closure issue not going away

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CAVE CREEK – Toby Payne took to the podium during Monday night’s Call to the Public to discuss lane closures associated with Bike Week.

Payne said he spoke to vendors tearing down their booths in the Tap Haus parking lot the day after Bike Week and asked what they paid for their booth space.

He said one vendor told him they were an event sponsor and the booth space came with the sponsorship.

Another vendor told Payne they paid the Tap Haus $2,000 for their 20 foot by 30 foot space and said they had “great sales.”

Toby Payne

The following week, Payne met with town Manager Peter Jankowski to inform him what he learned and then asked if the town receives any tax revenue from the booth rentals and if the town requires all vendors to have a Cave Creek license for sales tax purposes.

Payne said Jankowski told him he didn’t know but would look into. Payne said Jankowski has not followed up with his findings.

Payne said he learned from Town Marshal Adam Stein that the Tap Haus, which is now the Hideaway Roadhouse, pays the town $500 for the lane closures and $100 for the special event permit, but pays for the barricades and law enforcement directly.

Payne said in return for the $600 paid to the town, Tap Haus was able to charge vendors for the use of its parking lot, estimating the Tap Haus made between $50,000 and $80,000, while the citizens got “nothing but headaches.”

Payne asked council where the equality was for closing down one lane of traffic in town when the Tap Hause parking lot could park bikes along with other business’ parking lots in town.

Payne said it is quicker and safer to drive around the south side of Black Mountain to go from his house up Spur Cross Road to Sam’s Barber Shop in Stagecoach Village than the 30-35 minutes it takes to drive through town during Bike Week.

Payne questioned how many businesses in town benefit from the lane closure and how many suffer and asked council to consider his input.

Council voted unanimously to pass the first reading of an ordinance, creating a land exchange between the town and the Horny Toad Restaurant property by abandoning a small portion of the Desert Awareness Park for a non-motorized trail easement.

Trails coordinator Bambi Muller said the exchange will add more useable area to the park and create a safer way for equestrians to ride through town rather than using Cave Creek Road.

Muller said they need another two weeks for the title report to ensure the title is free and clear.

Horny Toad owner Jeff Price said the exchange will provide an additional parking area while giving up land in the wash that he can’t use.

Price also stated there were some things that were never recorded correctly, which he said will take about two weeks to fix and remove all the clouds on the title.

Acknowledging this has been in the works for a long time, Councilman Ernie Bunch said, “This is a good thing … good that it’s finally happening.”

Councilman Thomas McGuire stated the exchange was good for the town and told Muller, “You’ve been working on this for a long time.”

Councilman Mark Lipsky said, “Everything Bambi does is helpful and good for the town,” and thanked Muller for her work.

Councilwoman Susan Clancy thanked Muller and Price.

Mayor Vincent Francia said he was in agreement with his fellow council members.

Council voted unanimously to approve the site plan for Auto Zone on one of the Tractor Supply lots, with Councilman Dick Esser stating it was a welcome addition to the town.

Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek introduced a liquor license application for the Village Coffee Shop in Stagecoach Village. She said there was nothing unusual about the application but the only reason it was in the general agenda rather than the consent agenda was because it was a first time application at that location.

Dyrek joked that approval did not grant the applicant any rights to build an addition.

McGuire moved to recommend approval of the application and stated, “They’ve got great crepes.”

The motion carried unanimously.

Council unanimously authorized an expenditure of $10,000 to Desert Foothills Community Association (DFCA), as budgeted for the Fiesta Days Rodeo.

Cave Creek Pro Rodeo President Traci Casale said they continue to grow the rodeo each year with sell-out crowds.

Casale said the support they receive on the front end helps them get the event off the ground and she appreciated the town’s help.

She explained DFCA is the 501(c)3 umbrella organization the rodeo operates under and all contributions are tax deductible.

Casale said the kick off for Fiesta Days is March 19 with the parade, mutton busting and the kick-off dance.

She said, due to Easter, there will be two weeks between kick off and the rodeo.

Vice Mayor Steve LaMar stated the rodeo has been a great tradition in Cave Creek.

Council voted 6-1, with Clancy dissenting, against a request by Roy and Penny Jewett to reimburse them for the $17,803 in development fees they paid to the town in October 2012.

According to Planning Director Ian Cordwell, the Jewetts paid the fees and took out a permit to build a home. However, they were unable to proceed with the construction of the home after doing some lot preparation and the construction of a wall before their permit expired.

Town Attorney Bill Sims advised council there is no provision in the ordinance to refund development fees.

However, he said if council decided it wanted to refund the fees, which he didn’t recommend it do, the town would have to replenish the fees from the general fund.

In the alternative, he said council could amend the ordinance and make the effective date retroactive.

During public comment, Katya Kincel spoke incoherently about Mark Stapp not being charged “for an additional permit.” She stated, “He didn’t have to pay a second time even though his permit expired.”

Kerry Smith wanted to know, if development fees are not refundable, did they convey if the lot subsequently sold.

He was told they do not convey.

Sims said development fees have been revamped over the past 10 years by lobbyists for builders who do not want to pay fees.

He said most small cities and towns have abandoned them altogether because they’re too complicated and expensive to administer.

LaMar said he couldn’t support refunding the fees because council needed to follow the law.

Bunch stated he couldn’t support it either since there was no mechanism in place for doing so.

Clancy said she was more inclined to table the item until they could come up with something that was fair, after learning the development fees included paying for water and sewer infrastructure, despite the parcel being serviced by well and septic.

Council voted unanimously to authorize the mayor to execute a declaration of environmental use restrictions for properties with institutional controls with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), which Jankowski explained had to do with the use of mine tailings for road underlayment.

Even though the Phoenix Mine site had been approved as mitigated by ADEQ, Jankowski said the tailings tested positive for arsenic and ADEQ wants the town to agree it will not use the material for residential purposes.

Council voted 6-1, with Francia dissenting, to pass the first reading of an ordinance increasing the expenditure limitations, requiring council approval, from $10,000 to $25,000.

Jankowski stated they would still be required to obtain bids and follow all other protocols.

LaMar said he believed the expenditure limitations have been in place since incorporation.

Francia commented, “When we get to the second reading, I’d feel more comfortable with $15,000.”

Council voted unanimously to pass the first reading of an ordinance to amend certain sections of the town code, which Jankowski called housekeeping matters and said would put in place more checks and balances for personnel issues by shifting the ultimate authority for hiring and firing from the utilities manager to the town manager.

Esser commented the changes made perfectly good sense to him.

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