VOL. 18  ISSUE NO. 14   |  APRIL 4 – 10, 2012


Council approves amended town core plan and Bella Vista rezoning

He said the rezoning was an opportunity for property owners along Bella Vista to do something with their property …

CAVE CREEK – Mayor Vincent Francia began Monday’s council meeting with an announcement that Rep. David Schweikert would be a guest speaker at the May 21 council meeting.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell provided a brief overview of changes to the town core plan during the April 2 town council meeting and said the town core, which used to run from Scopa Trail on the east to Spur Cross Road on the west, has been extended to include a dog leg to the south that includes the Wagon Wheel Restaurant just south of Carriage Drive and east to Sunset Trail.

He said “no substantial changes” had been made to zoning except along Bella Vista Drive for lots originally designated Rural-70 that are non-conforming in size.

Cordwell said he didn’t think the change to commercial use would compete with the town core.

He noted the roundabout at School House and Cave Creek roads had been removed from the plan and bike lanes, trails and walking paths had been added.

For a parcel on the north side of Cave Creek Road across from the Bella Vista rezoning application, Cordwell said the planning commission felt high-density residential zoning was appropriate.

He also reminded council that high-density residential consists of up to eight units per acre.
Francia asked how many parking spaces there were in town.

Cordwell said he didn’t have that information.

Jim Bruce asked if there had been any neighborhood meetings for the David Lewis parcel.
Cordwell responded there were neighborhood meetings as part of the Bella Vista application.

When Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch questioned what was meant by public/private partnership, Cordwell responded bike lanes, for example, would be something that could be dedicated or funded by the private sector for public use.

Bunch asked if public art was “like the pots on [State Route] 51,” and said the word “sustainable” makes his skin crawl.

Councilman Thomas McGuire questioned why the statement “fluorescent colors not allowed” was taken out of the design guidelines.

Cordwell replied, “It means they would be allowed.”

During public comment, Bob Moore stated the document was very well done. However, he noted there was very little interest in the residential properties within the town core and although there was a section about alleviating conflicts, there was nothing addressing conflicts between residential and businesses.

“There are certainly continuing issues with parking and noise problems,” said Moore.
Greg Hunt said he bought his little place on Bella Vista 15 years ago and although he’s never had a collision, he said entering Cave Creek Road from Bella Vista is dangerous and in order to head south, he must first travel east and make a U-turn.

He said the rezoning was an opportunity for property owners along Bella Vista to do something with their property and possibly bring parking off of Cave Creek Road.

Councilman Dick Esser, who congratulated the planning commission and staff for their hard work on the plan, moved to approve the amended town core plan.

McGuire offered a second.

Councilwoman Shelley Anderson moved to amend the motion by striking the section on site design guidelines, which passed by a vote of 5-1 with Councilman Steve LaMar absent and Bruce dissenting.

McGuire offered several amendments, including adding language about “our Western culture” and “encourage equestrian uses,” which passed by votes of 5-1 with Bruce dissenting.

When McGuire offered an amendment to the removed section that formerly prohibited fluorescent colors to discourage them instead, it failed for a lack of a second.

Bunch requested an amendment to strike public/private partnership and say “infrastructure shall support commerce” as an alternative.

He said, that may be what we mean now by public/private partnerships, but councils down the road may decide to interpret it differently.

Francia said he shared Bunch’s concern and seconded the motion, which deadlocked 3-3 with Anderson joining Bunch and the mayor.

When it came to vote on the original motion, Bunch stated, “Because of the use of public/private partnership, I cannot support this.”

Francia mentioned the White Paper and stated, because it was never adopted by council, it should not have the clout of the town core plan, which is a document adopted by council.

Council voted 5-1, with Bunch dissenting, in favor of the amended town core plan, which included the Bella Vista Loop road between the Buffalo Chip and Harold’s.

Council then followed by unanimously approving the Bella Vista rezoning application for applicant Michael Rockwell representing 11 parcel owners of 18 parcels.

Council unanimously approved a special use permit (SUP) application for Randy Downing, on behalf of Verizon wireless, to place two 30-foot faux cactus antennas at Rockaway Hills Ranch.

He said it was part of a project to optimize coverage, fill in gaps in service and provide 4G coverage.

Downing said, “It will definitely benefit Verizon customers,” and stated Verizon agreed to identify a maintenance plan for the faux cactus, whereas the consequences of not doing so would result in the loss of the SUP.

Council voted 5-1 to approve a contract with MGC in an amount not to exceed $200,000 for various water utility projects, with Esser, who said he didn’t have enough information, dissenting.

Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow said they were able to piggyback on a Phoenix contract, which she said saves the town money because Phoenix has already gone through the bidding process.

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