By Linda Bentley | NOVEMBER 18, 2015

Unprepared council loads up December meeting agenda

Vice Mayor Steve LaMar said if council wants to consider something it needs to have a packet with information

Bookmark and Share

CAVE CREEK – Monday night’s Call to the Public brought Sandy Eppel to the podium after first distributing photographs to council.

Although she didn’t state what she was talking about, it became obvious when she recited her address on Echo Canyon Road that she was referring to CS Motor Sports and Christian Schulze, who had his home occupation permit revoked by the town amid numerous neighbor complaints.
She asked council, “Where are we on this?” and stated new vehicles were being brought on to the property.

L to r, Vincent Francia, Katya Kincel, Lester Rechlin

Eppel said, “These guys are not going to stop. This is harassment.”

Mayor Vincent Francia asked Town Manager Peter Jankowski what happened to the meeting he was supposed to arrange between the parties.

Jankowski said none of the neighbors wanted to meet with Schulze.

Francia suggested he take baby steps and arrange separate meetings to start.

Lester Rechlin was back to ask if members of council had visited the Lehman property to see what’s been done and then asked Francia, specifically, if he’d been there.

Francia said he had.

Rechlin asked if it was to code.

Francia stated, “It’s not what I would like see done to the desert …”

Rechlin started video recording Francia with his phone as he pressed the mayor for more answers.

Francia stopped and said they couldn’t have a discussion since the item wasn’t on the agenda.
Francia asked Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek to add the item to the Dec. 7 agenda.

Joseph Martini accused the town of selective enforcement of its ordinances and rattled off a litany of items he claimed were added on at the Buffalo Chip that were not to code and done without permits.

He asked who the commercial contractor was and where were the permits and inspection records.

Stating how he had to jump through so many hoops to finally be able to establish his business in town, Martini asked why enforcement was so selective in Cave Creek.

Leslie Jensen thanked the town for urging her to participate in the Wild West Days Parade. She said, “It was a lot of fun.”

Jankowski informed council that a stop work order was recently issued at the Buffalo Chip until they obtained a permit.

The first agenda item addressed obtaining an appraisal for the Harmony Hollow parcel.
Francia asked if there was map to show where the parcel was located. There was none in the packet.

During public comment Desert Foothills Land Trust (DFLT) Executive Director Sonia Perillo said the parcel was an important conservation opportunity and getting an appraisal was just an early step.

She also told council the DFLT was willing to work with the town in any efforts toward that goal.
Katya Kincel stated there was no supporting evidence in the packet and nothing a citizen could understand as to why council would vote on it.

Eileen Wright asked why a town that is approximately $63 million in debt wants to spend $1.5 million on what she referred to as a luxury item.

Francia stated he was going to ask for a continuance due to the lack of data and asked Jankowski if $1.5 million was the asking price.

Jankowski said it was only hearsay that the price was between $1million and $1.5 million.

Councilman Mark Lipsky said he asked Jankowski two months ago if the town could get an appraisal on the parcel to see if it was something they might be interested in acquiring. He asked, “Why is this an agenda item?”

Vice Mayor Steve LaMar said if council wants to consider something it needs to have a packet with information.

Councilman Dick Esser asked, “Are we just asking for an appraisal?”

Jankowski said he was bringing it to council since the appraisal was going to cost between $4,000 and $6,000.

Councilwoman Susan Clancy said it was a first step.

LaMar said council needed more information in the packet to even decide if it wants to spend money on an appraisal.

Councilman Ernie Bunch commented, “It’s a neat property.”

Councilman Thomas McGuire said the town has a long history of working with the land trust.

LaMar followed up by saying due to that good working relationship, DFLT could come up with a package for council.

Town Attorney Bill Sims explained getting an appraisal doesn’t obligate the town to purchase or make and offer and stated it wasn’t even required by law.

However, he also recommended if the town does get an appraisal it should be kept confidential.

Lipski stated he would never consider spending $6,000 on an appraisal, adding he would consider $4,000 but thought that was outrageous as well.

Jankowski introduced the next item which was a development agreement with the Las Ventanas HOA to place a street light at the entrance to the community on town property at the community’s expense.

He stated there was no one present from Las Ventanas and said the president, who planned to attend, was called away unexpectedly.

He explained the entrance to the community is off the same road that goes to the wastewater treatment plant.

Jankowski said they wanted to install two lights, one 20-feet tall on town property and a 10-foot light on the community’s common area.

McGuire asked Sims if the town had any exposure for allowing it.

Sims stated the town had no more exposure than if they didn’t allow it.

During public comment Kincel asked if there weren’t ordinances for dark skies and height requirements.

Jankowski stated they weren’t asking for a variance and only needed the agreement because the light was on town property.

McGuire moved to approve the agreement.

Esser, who seconded the motion, said he supported the agreement because it was on town property.

Lipski said he had a problem with 20 feet.

Bunch said the community’s entrance is hard to find in the daytime and supported the agreement so residents have safe ingress and egress.

LaMar asked if the lights complied with the town’s ordinances.

Jankowski said they complied with the dark sky requirements.

Lipski said he agreed with everything except the 20 feet and stated, “If we don’t like our ordinance we should change it.”

LaMar asked if there was a reason for the 20-foot exception.

No one seemed to know the reason the HOA was asking for a 20-foot high light and there was no one there to ask.

Lipsky asked if he could offer an amendment.

Sims said since a vote was underway they needed to proceed with the vote and then someone could ask for a vote to reconsider.

The motion passed by a vote of 4-3 with Lipsky, Francia and LaMar dissenting.

Bunch moved for reconsideration, which passed unanimously.

Lipsky then moved to approve but to change the height from 20 feet to conform to the ordinances, which allows for 10 feet in residential and 15 feet in commercial.

Bunch said, “There must be some reason they wanted 20 feet.”

Clancy said, “The clarity is like mud,” and asked, “Why is it at 20 feet?”

She said, “I think we should continue the item until we know why.”

Lipsky said he would be happy to continue and withdrew his motion.

Council then voted unanimously to continue the item to Dec. 7.

An item placed on the agenda to amend a WIFA loan agreement was not complete and the town’s finance director requested it be continued to the Dec. 7 meeting.

Council voted unanimously to abandon 30 feet of a right-of-way in the proximity of Desert Hills Drive and 26th Street and replace it with a public ingress, egress and utilities easement for use as a roadway.

Council was informed this gave the property owner use of their property without any loss to the town.

The last item on the agenda, a resolution to authorize an amendment to a development agreement between the town and Desert’s Edge Development LLC, passed unanimously.