Reconstituting Planning Committee shot down

The September 17 Cave Creek Council got off to a smooth start by quickly approving unanimously a proposed Jiffy Lube at the Northeast corner of Carefree Highway and 53rd Street and a Site Plan for Morgan Taylor Homes proposal for 20 detached dwelling units on 10 parcels on Conestoga Road. Dry sewer lines and two water meters were installed in 2003 and a will serve letter was previously issued for the ten lots which are already zoned Multiple Residence.

The Council also heard from the Town Manger that a commercial promoting Cave Creek’s outdoor lifestyle was filmed and will be aired on an upcoming edition of A to Z Midday in October. The commercial will also be shown at the soon to open visitors center.

Councilwomen Eileen Wright and Mary Elrod placed an item on the agenda to “reconstitute the Planning Commission with new Commission members”. Citing the rejection of the 2018 General Plan by voters, Wright said the current Commissioners lack the ability to create a plan that voters will approve. “They did not get the job done.” She added.

During public comment, Larry Wendt said Wright was trying to “ramrod this through” on her way out. Wright lost her bid for Mayor and Elrod did not seek reelection. Bob Morris also spoke against it saying that the work by the volunteer members of the Commission should be appreciated. Bill Basore said the problem was there was too much in the General Plan and said the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are shorter documents.

All of the other Council members spoke against it. David Smith said two of the Commission members were appointed after the most of the Plan was put together and there is currently a vacancy on the Commission. He also said two members appointments will be up in December. He said they should wait until the new Town Council is seated and let them appoint two new members, then five of the seven Commissioners will not have been involved with the failed General Plan.

Tom McGuire pointed out that the Plan also was approved by the Council. Vice Chairman Ron Sova said if he were a Planning Committee member he would be insulted by the proposal and that taking such action would make it harder to get people to volunteer. Susan Clancy called the idea “a slap in the face”. Mayor Ernie Bunch said in his 13 years on the Council, “This is the most insulting thing brought to Council.” The proposal was defeated with only Wright and Elrod voting in favor.

Another agenda item to amend the 2005 General Plan to depict the all four zoning classes of Desert Rural individually on the land use map was also placed on the Agenda by Councilwomen Wright and Elrod. Ian Cordwell, the Town’s Planning Director explained the difference between land use and zoning maps. The land use map shows areas by their designation such as Desert Rural and Commercial. The zoning map breaks each of those designations down into their different components, DR-190, DR-89, DR-70, and DR-43 or the three different commercial zones. Town Attorney Bill Sims recommended against the action saying more should not be added to the General Plan. He said the 2018 Plan may not have passed because there was too much in it, making it more difficult for people to comprehend all that was in it, saying the defeated General Plan looked like a “Sears and Roebuck catalog of Government’. This proposal was also defeated with again Councilwomen Wright and Elrod the only ones voting in favor of it.