Office Hours with the Mayor and Vice mayor a perpetual gripe session

‘All we’re asking for is existing laws to be enforced’
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office hours During last Thursday morning’s Office Hours with the Mayor and Vice Mayor, Everett Bell (in white, seated in front center) said it was time to see some positive feedback on the issues that have been raised week after week.
    Photo by Linda Bentley

CAVE CREEK – Last Thursday’s Office Hours with the Mayor and Vice Mayor drew eight people, some of whom are “regulars.”

Vice Mayor Adam Trenk indicated he had a previous obligation and would only be available for a half hour.

Bob Hughes and Tom Rhoades complained about an auto repair shop across from them at a residence on Fleming Springs Road.

Hughes stated there are always seven to 10 vehicles parked in front of the property, which he said was residentially zoned.

He said it has been going on for two-and-a-half years and despite sending an e-mail two months ago and working with Town Marshal Adam Stein and Planning Director Ian Cordwell, there has been no resolution.

“It’s my understanding Councilman Ernie Bunch uses them,” said Hughes, who reminded the mayor and vice mayor he had brought the issue up during the summer but no one has gotten back to him.

Trenk, taking notes, asked if Stein had called him.

Hughes said no one has contacted him.

Rhoades said, “Last week, there were never fewer than seven vehicles in front of the house … a transit bus, a pickup truck, three cars and a boat on a trailer … it’s an eyesore.”

Hughes said, “All we’re asking for is existing laws to be enforced. I’d like someone to look into it and at least get back to us.”

He also said he would like to see some enforcement of the lighting code, indicating the Horny Toad had non-shielded lighting that created a light pollution problem, and said the town marshal should go out and find violations, stating he didn’t believe the town should have a complaint-driven system.

Another man, who indicated he was a resident of Black Mountain Shadows, said when the road is closed down for special events at Galloway Drive a few times per year, residents cannot turn left on Cave Creek Road and are forced to travel a long way in a direction they don’t want to travel into the congestion.

He said there were ways to improve the situation and suggested, for example, the town could employ temporary stop signs during the road closure.

Everett Bell stated there were issues being brought up week after week at the weekly Office Hours and said it was time to see some positive feedback.

During the last council meeting, as he listened to members of the permanent town manager selection committee discuss how they planned to evaluate candidates, Bell said, “I never once heard anyone say they were looking for someone with high integrity.”

He said, “If Mr. Glassman (interim town manager) is interested in the position, please remove him from the committee.”

Both Mayor Vincent Francia and Trenk assured Bell Glassman was not an applicant, although Francia stated the town may need to extend Glassman’s time as interim town manager.

Don Marshall told the mayor and vice mayor about a release of easement by the town, which he stated required 100 percent approval by the property owners.

According to Marshall, former Town Manager Usama Abujbarah allowed the release of easement despite only having approval from eight of the nine property owners and said the ninth parcel, which was back on the market, never approved the release.

Marshall said he believed the house was being “flipped” since it was only purchased in June and was now back on the market for a couple hundred thousand dollars more.

He said there may also be a 10th parcel involved that is a small triangular lot listed as Tract C of Mira Vista Village and the Spur Cross Homeowners, Inc., which has been dissolved by the Arizona Corporation Commission for failure to file annual reports.

Marshall said because the ninth parcel was up for sale, perhaps it was time to get the realtor, who lives between the owner and Abujbarah, involved in unraveling the mess.

Trenk stated the issue “is not off my radar yet.”

Bell reverted back to the subject of integrity and said background checks could include historical checks while giving the applicants a problem to solve to determine if they’d solve it in an ethical manner.

Tom Brooks asked what was going on with the entrance to Gateway Park. He said the town had it torn up again and it appeared the three-foot culvertswere being replaced with new three-foot culverts, while he was told the town code requires four-foot culverts.

He also thanked the town for getting T.C. Thorstenson’s “junk yard” behind the Tap Haus cleaned up.

Justin Roberts praised the new council and interim town manager.

Hughes asked if the town had any control over the motif of the McDonald’s planned for Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road.

Francia said the town does not have architectural review standards and can only suggest, not force.

Hughes said he expected Walmart to have a more Western look and was disappointed that it looked like every other Walmart.

Francia said it really didn’t look like their other stores, but because they were so afraid of offending, they came up with what he considered a “bland” design.

Hughes then brought up the drivers coming into the town down Fleming Springs Road from the county. He said they drive at 60-70 mph.

He also said people blow through the stop sign at Echo Canyon.

Ron Iverson congratulated the town on its permanent town manager selection process.

Brooks then complimented the mayor on his recent editorial in a Scottsdale newspaper and said, “A recall will destroy this town … It would be devastating.”

Eileen Wright, who initially stated she was only there to observe, complained about a property on Highland Road, which she said was being rented out to people, including Paul Diefenderfer, who are running multiple businesses out of the residence.

Wright said, “The traffic is horrendous.”

The mayor left the council chambers after 40 minutes with a number of attendees following him into town hall.

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