VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 38   |  SEPTEMBER 21 – 27, 2011


Desert Hills Water wins Best Tasting Water in Arizona Contest

dave adamsDave Adams showed off the trophy the town’s utility department was awarded after winning the Best Tasting Water in Arizona Contest for Desert Hills Water. The utility department will now move on to compete in a national contest against the other 49 states.
Photos by Linda Bentley

CAVE CREEK – Dave Adams, a utility department employee, announced during the Sept. 19 council meeting’s Call to the Public Desert Hills Water won the 2011 Best Tasting Water in Arizona Contest.

Showing off the trophy, Adams told council the utility department will now submit samples to Washington, D.C., where it will advance to compete in a national contest against the other 49 states.

Council was unanimous in approving all of the evening’s agenda items, including authorizing a contract with Albert Holler & Associates as its sales tax auditor for a three-year term at a cost of $24,000 per year.

Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek said Al Holler has been the town’s auditor since the mid 1990s and council has approved three-year contracts with Holler’s firm since that time.

Dyrek stated, “He brings us back more money than his salary every year.”

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch who moved to approve the contract stated Holler has done a good job for the town in the past.

Anderson, in seconding the motion, stated Holler was very reasonable in what he charges.

Council approved a continuance requested by applicant Chris Wilson for a rezoning case from Desert Rural to General Commercial for the parcel located at the southeast corner of Oleson and Cave Creek roads.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell told council the case was previously continued to give the applicant more time to work out access issues but he had not been able to come to an agreement with Walmart.

Wilson requested a continuance until the October 17 meeting and said it has been a slow process.

Councilman Dick Esser, in moving to continue the item, said, “I hope you guys work something out.”

Mayor Vincent Francia thanked Adam White, Brian Sirower, Paul Eelkema, Richard Pello and Fred Mueller, who also serve on the board of adjustment, for volunteering to be appointed to the Magistrate Review Committee for the purpose of reviewing applications to ensure applicants meet the qualifications for town magistrate as set forth in the Request for Qualifications.

Council approved the first reading of an ordinance approving and authorizing the town manager to execute a development agreement between the town and VRE Carefree, LLC, the developer of the Village at Surrey Hill.

According to Town Attorney Marlene Pontrelli, the agreement was a solution to extending VRE’s permits, some of which are about to expire.

Since the building official may only grant one six-month extension, Pontrelli said the development agreement was a means of extending it for a longer period of time.

Pontrelli said she was not recommending one way or another, but stated the downside could be if council does this for this applicant, it might have to do it for others.

Town Manager Usama Abujbarah stated there were three other projects in Cave Creek in the same circumstances.

paul sharpeApplicant Paul Sharpe (r) told council VRE has been doing work that has required periodic inspections. However it is now at the point where the next step would be pretreatment, which would require slabs to be poured immediately.

He said, “We’re not selling anything,” and told council they have sold two units, one of which was a model sold as a lease back so VRE could continue using it as a model.

Sharpe said seven units were completed and four more units were almost completed out of the 79 units replatted.

He said, “So we’re talking about 34 permits that are either alive or gasping for breath.”
Councilman Thomas McGuire asked if council approved entering into this development agreement, if someone else came in and asked for the same thing, would they have to grant it.

Abujbarah responded, “The answer is yes.”

Stating he had no idea how his council planned to vote, Francia asked Sharpe what would happen if council denied his request.

Sharpe responded by saying if they had to come back for new permits it would make them less competitive, pointing out the condominium units are less than $300,000, a low price for new construction with a high-end finish.

Pontrelli offered council an option to approve the agreement for one year with options for council to review the progress and decide whether or not to renew for another year for up to three years.

Council approved the first reading with Pontrelli’s suggestion.

However, in light of there being other projects that could come forward and make similar requests, Francia said this was “dangerous ground for council.”