Council approves two Black Mountain hillside developments

By Curtis Riggs | July 16, 2008

Slopes, access at issue
CAREFREE – Town Council approved preliminary plats for two subdivisions on the southwestern slopes of Black Mountain last week.

There was disagreement about the approval of Carefree Vistas, a seven-lot subdivision on 32 acres, after a homeowner whose property is adjacent to the subdivision complained the road to the subdivision is being built through his backyard.

“If you use the existing trail it will cross a portion of my property,” James Taylor said. He asked the council to delay approval of the final plat until the access/easement issue is resolved.

Despite Taylor’s request to delay approval of the final plat, the majority of the council voted to approve the plans. Only Councilman Bob Coady voted to deny the final plat so the issue could be examined.

“We have to make a decision based on the evidence before us,” Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer said, explaining his vote.

Carefree Planning Director Gary Neiss told the council an Alta survey of the property “reflects” a 50-foot access easement at the rear of Taylor’s property.

Taylor pointed out that access to the subdivision going through his backyard definitely devalues his property.

Council unanimously approved the final plat and subdivision improvement plan for Black Mountain Vistas, a five-lot subdivision on nine acres, which lies just east of Sentinel Rock Estates. Neiss stressed that twice the number of homes could be built on the residentially zone (R1-35) property that has slopes between 20 and 30 percent.

“We want to protect the hillside,” he said. Black Mountain Vistas was approved under Carefree’s Hillside regulations, which are designed to protect hillsides in the community and other environmentally important features such as rock outcroppings and washes.
Coady questioned the design of the roads to both subdivisions, concerned with how much water they could carry down hill.

Neiss responded planned retention basins would reduce the volume of water coming off the mountain.

When asked about other development plans on the southwest side of Black Mountain, Neiss explained the ownership of the remaining property is “fractured” and that 17 more homes could eventually be built there.