Cave Creek Town Council Meeting, March 19

The desire to add more trails like this is one of the sticking points in the proposed General Plan. Photo by Wes Grunden

Council Still Stymied Over General Plan

The Town Council of Cave Creek still does not have a general plan to send to voters. The council held a work session on March 12, where they revised the document that had been put together by the Planning Commission. However, some of those changes created more problems than they solved.

During the call to the public, Bob Morris, chairman of the water advisory committee, who said he was speaking as a citizen not as committee chair, voiced concerns over the town’s water supply. Currently the town is using central Arizona project water. Five pumps are used to move that water, one of which could fail at any time and cause severe problems for the town water supply. Also some studies show that within 2 years and 9 months there is a 15% chance of the Town losing CAP water. In the General Plan currently the wording is that the town ‘may’ evaluate options to assure an adequate water supply. Morris thought that wording was weak. He urged the Town Council to not only speak and talk about the water issues but to actually get something done.

Kerry Smith, vice chair of the water advisory committee, also address the board during the call to the public. During the council’s work session on the general plan, several pages regarding the water plan for the town were removed. Smith said he was requesting that the forward that he wrote for that section be removed. He did not want his name associated with the current reading of that section.

Katya Kinsel also voiced her concern with the water resource element being gutted in the general plan, calling it ‘unconscionable’.

Council then moved on to agenda items. They approved amending an inter-governmental agreement between the town and the Maricopa County Library District. Library executive director David Court says this allows money that is collected in property taxes to be to be utilized by the county to purchase materials for the Desert Foothills Library. Approximately $64,000, about 8% of the library budget would be available. This is not cash coming to the library, but the county pays for the materials. It would be a five-year agreement and also included in the agreement is reciprocal library lending with other libraries in the Maricopa County system.

An agenda item with MCIMetro Access Transmission Corp., also known as Verizon Access Transmission Services, regarding installing telecommunication wires on public right-of-ways was tabled until the next council meeting so a map of the proposed route of the wires could be presented to the Council.

Item three on the agenda was the General plan. Which brought back much discussion over water issues and issues regarding proposed trails. While several people spoke in favor of the trails and saying that the trail system helps keep the rural nature of the town, the concern is about the proposed trails.

Mayor Vice mayor Ron Sova pointed out that the general plan is not a law, an ordinance, it’s not a policy. Because the plan really has no teeth, Sova said he thought removing those sections of the water plan and then creating an ordinance or policy from that would be a better course of action. Sova then suggested that another work study session that would be open to the public, be held and they review this and any other comments they receive.

Councilwoman Eileen right said she believed the Council made a mistake in eliminating 9 out of 10 pages of the water plan, making it meaningless. Town Attorney Bill Sims reccommended that the town Council address the water issue in a work study session so they can have a document for the public to look at at the next hearing. He suggested they address the other issues regarding the general plan at tonight’s meeting.

Another concern that was expressed to the council was wording regarding encouraging subdivisions. Council explained that sometimes a larger parcel of land is split, and then split again, and then split again, and then split again. All these are then treated as individual units and brought forward one at a time for permitting etc. Whereas if the whole parcel were to be addressed as a subdivision it would be better to get an overall view look at access, open space, and other issues.

Bill Basore address the council and thanked all the people who had volunteered their time to put together the general plan. He then quoted Mark Twain, ‘If I’d had more time I’d of writ’ ya’ a shorter letter.’ He said if you take the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, it still doesn’t take up anywhere near the pages that the town’s General Plan does. Basore believes the plan exceeds the scope of what’s required.

Councilman Tom McGuire said that it was obvious that trails are important to people in the town. The question is whether or not the proposed trails should be on the map. Bunch asked for clarification from the Town attorney regarding the acquisition of the right-of-way for additional Trails if there is not a proposal in the general plan. Without the proposed trails in the general plan any additions to the trail system from landowners granting easements for the trail system would have to be approved by voters, even if it’s just a 20-foot section. Concerns were also voiced about people obtaining copies of the map showing the proposed trails and then those trails somehow get morphed into public trails that appear on maps that businesses hand out.

The Council will hold a work study session next Monday, March 26. The Public Hearing on the General Plan will reconvene at the next regular scheduled Council Meeting on Monday, April 2. The new Plan has to be approved at the next meeting in order for there to be enough time to get it on ballot for the residents to vote on. If a new General Plan can’t be agreed upon by five out of seven council members. The General Plan will revert to the 2005 plan.