General Plan: In Cave Creek it’s an exercise in deception

Cave Creek is in crisis. Considering how we never wanted to become Anytown, USA, that path has come and the future of our town is right now. It’s really staggering for existing residents to witness the demise of rural Cave Creek–to an exploited urbanized extension of Phoenix.

General Plans should bring order and management to haphazard growth. When citizens voted 2 to 1 to approve our Plan just in May, they outlined effective methods of attainment for our goals and policies. Hardly dried ink on that Plan, Planning Commissioners have rushed ignoring goals by approving 5 exceptions to our Subdivision Ordinance for a California developer. The 76 acres called Hidden Canyon is at Surrey Dr, north to Skyline, west of Cave Creek Rd.

I remember. It’s been 5 years, when our town council was trusted by the community to put residents and neighborhoods above special interest groups, commercial development, and holding sacred our goals and policies.
I remember. It’s been 5 years, when our town prided itself on its brand as a rural western town. When our town valued the small town look and feel that promoted tourism.

I remember. It’s been 5 years, when leaders welcomed and sought resident input and guidance on key decisions and showed sensitivity to resident needs with respect to health, safety and welfare.
I remember. It’s been 5 years, when protection for our rural, low-density, equestrian lifestyle was not in full retreat, being pushed closer and closer to the point of no return.

I remember. It’s been 5 years, when a balanced budget with sufficient funds for capital maintenance and needs and no fear of a Property Tax assured our Western survival and lifestyle. Is getting into a Fire fighting business deja vu visions of the Cave Creek Water Company purchase/Sewer Plant utility business which spiraled our Town into 65.2 mil in debt?

We citizens enacted a meaningful General Plan, spending 44,000 tax monies for a Consulting Firm hired byTown Council to lead us in developing that Plan. But what is the good when committees and Council constantly override that Plan?

Look at Galloway Ridge 72 patio homes on School House, an example of haphazard growth on commercially zoned lands. Imagine the traffic/safety issue for our citizens using that hill for ingress and egress at full occupancy. Galloway Ridge is the exact same built at the Summit/Scottsdale rd and at Hayden/Pinnacle Peak rds. Why is emulating the Scottsdale-Phoenix style motivating our officials? Has our Plan simply become doctrines to amend for developers being led by a compliant Council?

Our Subdivision Ordinance was written with the express concerns in mind that for every right to property there is a corresponding responsibility to the desert and the community. Yes, our Town has more restrictive standards for development than those around us. Yes, this developer says he has rights to 63 homes, but throws 48 homes as a “carrot” to gain exceptions to our Subdivision Ordinance.
One hundred and sixty five citizens on a petition believe the objections to flag lots, slope, grading and drainage, fire suppression ability, private roads and preserving the aesthetics of the hillside remain important concerns.

Sadly, those signatures fell on deaf ears of Town Council members Bunch, Diefenderfer, Smith, Sova and McGuire who voted in favor of the Developer’s exceptions to our Subdivision Ordinance. The same four- Bunch, Diefenderfer, Smith, Sova and McGuire also voted in favor of Galloway Ridge subdivision.

Is this your Vision for our Town? Although we are destined to grow there is no reason for Council members to eradicate our Plan’s visions and ordinances and set precedents for other developers to maximize their profits by accelerating our Town’s growth.

Anna Marsolo

Citizen Cave Creek