JUNE 26, 2013

Stagecoach Village single-story requirement recommended for repeal

Smith said he didn’t think privatizing the road would address the issue and asked if it would now become a gated community

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CAVE CREEK – With Chairman Ted Bryda and Commissioner Peter Omundson absent, the planning commission, chaired by Vice Chairman John Ford voted unanimously in favor of recommending the repeal of a 1991 ordinance requiring commercial buildings in the Gateway Project, now Stagecoach Village, to be only a single story.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell said there was possible interest in some of the buildings if they could be converted to two stories.

According to Cordwell, the two stories would be created within the existing buildings and no changes would be made to the structures.

During public comment, Bob Moore said he was in total support of allowing a second story. However, he stated he had other concerns, one of which was the 300-foot notification of adjacent property owners, which he called inadequate, and requested notifications be provided to property owners within 500 or 1,000 feet.

Moore also said signage for the shopping center is “woefully inadequate” and called the current signage “tacky” at best.

He said he hoped the stipulations that were put in place are transferable to the new ownership. Moore also said there was a trailer on the property with boarded up windows and asked for that condition to be improved upon.

Moore said it wasn’t clear if the repeal of the single-story requirement is applicable to homes in Black Mountain Shadows, which was also part of the original Gateway Project, and wanted to make sure it doesn’t apply.

Cordwell said it only applied to the commercial portion of the project.

Commissioner Rae Iverson suggested rather than repealing the entire 1991 ordinance, stipulating the change only applies to commercial.

The commission voted 4-0 in favor of Iverson’s amendment and 4-0 in favor of recommending approval. The second item of the agenda was an exception request from the town’s subdivision ordinance for Continental Mountain Estates.

Cordwell stated the developer Lou Spelts had been experiencing vandalism in the area and was seeking the town’s help in getting the road back from the town and making the road private.

The exception request was also seeking to allow the 13 lots within the subdivision to be able to acquire access from a private road.

Council approved the final plat for Continental Mountain Estates in March 2006 after five or six years of planning.

Some of the issues surrounding the project began when Spelts of GTNN, Inc. sold off surrounding parcels of land that left his parcel land-locked.

Spelts then sued six of his neighbors for a 20-foot easement to provide access to his parcel, only to learn, after the fact, the subdivision ordinance required 60-foot access.

Then after suing his neighbors, Spelts’ subcontractors dug multiple septic test holes on neighboring Rudy Johnson’s property in error, while destroying the fence on another neighbor’s parcel.

Commissioner Ray Fontaine asked Spelts how many sales he’s made since the final plat was approved. In response, Spelts held up his hand indicating zero.

Fontaine asked if the public report filed with the Arizona Department of Real Estate notices that aspect. While Spelts said he didn’t believe it did, he also stated gang members have been putting graffiti on the culvert, smoking and partying on the site.

According to Spelts, the town has not been maintaining the road or landscaping. He also said he doesn’t believe the request will have any impact on the town.

During public comment, Kerry Smith, who lives on a road near the development, said the barricade the town put up is completely ineffective and was being moved.

Smith said he didn’t think privatizing the road would address the issue and asked if it would now become a gated community.

He said the fire hydrants were inside and questioned the fire department’s access if it became gated and asked if lot sizes would change.

Spelts said the fire department has access to all gated communities and none of the lot sizes would change. Smith also asked if the subdivision would then be responsible for road maintenance and if it would change the tax status.

Cordwell said it would change the tax status if the road is deeded back to the owner. Moore said the problem sounds like a law enforcement situation and asked, if privatized, would the road be built to the same standards as the town.

Spelts stated the roads are already in and the lots will not change.

He said, “I’ve owned this property since 1972. If a gate is installed it will only affect the subdivision.” Fontaine asked if the town had already accepted the dedication of the right-of-way and improvements. Cordwell replied, “I believe so.”

Baxley moved to recommend approval of the exception request and said, “I believe it makes sense. I don’t have a problem with it. Having vandals working it over is not in the best interest of our town.” Fontaine, who seconded the motion, said his only concern was the public report and wanted to see some confirmation the public report is amended.

Iverson said she wasn’t sure how gating the community in the future would be any help. Ford said he supported the request, stated it was a fire hazard and seeing all the cigarette butts on the ground was worrisome.

The planning commission voted unanimously in favor of recommending the exception request. During announcements, Cordwell said the July 18 meeting has been moved to July 25 and would address an SUP for Foothills Academy and the out lot at Walmart.

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