Communities thinking about going green

By Curtis Riggs | August 20, 2008

CAVE CREEK/CAREFREE – Both Desert Foothills communities are considering becoming part of the green building fad.

Carefree Planning and Zoning Commissioners were updated about green building rules and initiatives last week. Commissioners asked about the use of gray water and reducing permit fees for green building.

“The general attitude about green building was supported by all,” Carefree Assistant Planner Brian Craig said.

The commission asked Craig to continue to research what it would take to get green building initiatives going in Carefree and submit a report to them in a couple of months.

“In Arizona solar energy is the best way to make a home more energy efficient,” Craig said about one green building principal. “Some houses could use all solar energy for six months out of a year.”

Craig brought up a home being built in Hawk’s Nest entirely by using green building philosophies when explaining the need to examine green building further. “It will be very important in Carefree,” he said.

Cave Creek is considering jumping into green building in a big way. Mayor Vincent Francia is forming a committee to look at green building issues and would also like to see a green mall go in on 120 acres of commercially zoned land along Carefree Highway. He would like to see the businesses in the green mall sell organic foods and produce, clothes made out of organic cotton and market other items made the green way.

matthew bonnstatterCave Creek resident Matthew Bonnstetter will be chairman of the committee examining green building in the community. The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 in the Cave Creek Town Council chambers.

Bonnstetter is a filmmaker who is proposing adding a Sustainable Solutions category into the film division of next year’s Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival. He wants to “challenge people to become more environmentally friendly to help the planet become more sustainable.”

“Now is the time,” Bonnstetter said about examining green building. “Personally I don’t believe we can live on this planet for another 40 years living the way we are now and the way we are growing.”

Bonnstetter expresses the green committee will not be a “fluff committee” because it will be doing real research. He encourages anyone wanting to be a part of it to attend the first meeting.

Encouraging recycling and keeping the community clean will be other focuses of the committee. He would like to establish recycling and trash bins around town so tourists and locals alike can use them to keep the community cleaner.

The committee will investigate the use of alternative energies, gray water, and green building codes while concentrating on more recycling and trash pick-ups.

“I want to make it easier for tourists,” Bonnstetter said about the planned recycling bins.

Francia would also like to establish a Community Garden at the new Cave Creek sewer plant site at 40th Street and Carefree Highway. He envisions Cave Creek citizens being able to garden their own plot of land on the excess land at the water campus.

‘I want to give citizens a chance to grow things in their own soil,” he said.

Photo: Matthew Bonnstetter
Photo by Curtis Riggs