Soberman’s Estates SUP dominates council meeting

Following the standard opening of the Monday, Aug. 6 meeting of the Cave Creek Town Council, the start of the General Agenda portion became embroiled in a lengthy point-counterpoint discussion regarding the status of the Soberman’s Estates use permit (SU-18-01). Soberman’s permit was approved at the July 16 Town Council meeting.

The discussion centered around input from members of the community, attorneys on their behalf, an attorney representing the applicant, the Town Attorney and council members.

At the heart of the matter: the residents maintaining that they were not consulted during the process, the bed count (6 vs. 10), the commercial venture itself – and that it did not meet the 6-point criteria for approval. The primary goal at this meeting was to request a motion to “reconsider” the action taken at the July 16 meeting. Otherwise, there would be no legal reason for the applicant to sit down with residents and work on compromises.

In contrast, the attorney for the applicant pointed out that the owners, having been approved, have already incurred expenses, contractually and construction, for example. It was pointed out that her client went through proper channels with the Planning and Zoning committee prior to approval. Also, and most importantly, Roberts Rules of Order were brought to the forefront and it was pointed out that Town Council could only make a motion to reconsider on the same day/meeting of the approval. To do so at this point in time (and motion could only be made by a councilperson who approved the permit) would invite legal action and she stated several cases in point.

From the beginning, the Town Attorney had recommended that the two parties (residents and applicant) sit down and try to reach an amicable agreement on certain issues. Displaying frustration with questions after the fact, he held firm on his original advice to council, while confirming that a motion to this effect would have had to been made at the July 16 meeting.

Meanwhile, the implied threat of legal action and looming elections did not sit well with most of the council, but one member of the residents group was not phased, believing the applicant would not take on that kind of legal expense and that the Town of Cave Creek has insurance for just such an event. Most of the council seemed unsure as to what they could or could not do, considering what they had already done, accounting for the commentary from the Town Attorney.

The net result: no action was taken.

In other business:

– a motion to adopt Resolution R2018-15, proposed expenditures for the fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) was approved.

– A short presentation of the Quarterly Financial Report was made. No action required.

– A presentation of the results of the Westech Evaluation of the water treatment plant was followed by a motion and approval of: 1. Purchase of replacement media and Anthracite, not to exceed $68,133.00 and 2. Contract to secure a Mobile Trailer Mounted Water Production Unit from Westech for $146,000 and 3. Filter Media replacement by MGC construction, not to exceed $65, 046.41.

The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 3 at 7:00pm.