Town to permanently eliminate permits for ‘Open House’ signs

Eastwood subdivision gets final nod, will start in 30-60 days

CAREFREE – Call to the Public brought a woman named Remy to the podium to complain about the rude treatment she received at town hall after paying for a yard sale permit. She said the person she spoke to was offensive and condescending.

Remy said citizens are only allowed two yard sales per year and the town rents you signs.

She said you are only allowed x-amount of signs, which are not enough to direct anyone to your home.

Remy stated she wished there were more yard sales as it’s pretty much the only way to network with neighbors without going to the bars.

Rather than be concerned about yard sales, Remy said the town should be more worried about mistletoe killing trees and overhead power lines.

Jim Van Allen also spoke, first to thank the town for having the agenda packet online on Friday.

While he was told the town does this as a courtesy, Van Allen said he would like to make it permanent and have it added to section 2.4.6 of the town code.

Second, Van Allen said, now that the town is gearing up to do its preliminaries on the budget, he would like to see zero-based budgeting, whereas the town would start with zero rather than taking last year’s budget and adding a percentage.

Last year, the town approved a moratorium on permits for real estate “Open House” signs.

Since that time, the town had received zero complaints, which was the reason the permits were initiated in the first place.

Staff requested a 90-extension to the moratorium, which expires in April, to allow time to amend the ordinance to remove the permit requirement.

Council voted unanimously to approve the extension and first reading with Mayor Les Peterson thanking realtors for their cooperation.

Council voted unanimously to approve the final plat for the Eastwood subdivision.

Town Planner Stacey Bridge Denzak said the project is located just west of the southwest corner of Cave Creek and Pima roads.

She said nothing has changed from the preliminary plat for the 39-home subdivision.

Peterson asked if the town had heard back from Liberty Utilities about providing service to the subdivision.

Bridge-Denzak said they had and application for service has been made. Councilman Mike Farrar questioned if bond insurance of 110 percent was common. Bridge Denzak said that is what the town requires.

Town Administrator Gary Neiss said that is what the town has always required since he’s been there.

Councilwoman Melissa Price questioned aspects of the agreement and asked what recourse the town has once the developer is gone and one or more of the units floods.

Neiss said that it would fall on the engineer who designed the grading and drainage plans.

When questioned about changes to CC&Rs being submitted to the town, Neiss said it was something he added to agreements since he’s been there.

He explained the town doesn’t really have a dog in that fight since it doesn’t enforce CC&Rs and he has no way of knowing if a subdivision has changed anything if they don’t provide a copy to the town.

Farrar asked, “What was the intent then?”

Neiss said it was to provide prospective buyers of vacant lots with as much information as possible.

During public comment, John Traynor said he got the distinct impression the layout was four homes per acre.

However, he stated there were only 5.2 buildable acres, which comes out to eight homes per acre.

Traynor asked, “How did we arrive there?”

Bridge-Denzak explained density is calculated using gross acreage to provide the number of units per acre.

Traynor then asked if the homes are going to be pre-built spec homes or build to suit as they have buyers. Jeff King with Keystone Homes responded by saying they would mostly be building per their customers’ specs but would also have four to six spec homes under construction at any given time.

King said they expected to begin construction in 30-60 days.

Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution to amend and restate the qualified retirement plan maintained for the Town of Carefree employees and allow Town clerk Kandace French to execute the documents to satisfy IRS requirements.

French said it was a housekeeping item required by new federal regulations.

Council discussed the second reading of amendments to chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the town code. Peterson said council received some comments, all of which had been considered.

Price suggested an addition to the code of conduct section, which would also be mirrored under sanctions, addressing how the town would mediate disputes and verified complaints to resolve them in a swift and inexpensive manner.

Farrar asked Town Attorney Michael Wright if there were any conflicts by adding the section.

Wright said he didn’t believe there were and only added another element to the due process. Council voted unanimously to approve the second reading as amended. Council voted unanimously to award a contract to TLL Electric in the amount of $58,456 to install 26 of the 28 vintage gas (LED) lamps at locations discussed during the December 2015 council meeting.

Neiss said the town put a bid package together and received seven bids ranging from $58,456 to $115,449. He said the low bidder complied with all the lowest responsible bidder requirements.

Councilman Gene Orrico commented, “That’s a big swing from $58,000 to $115,000.” Councilman Glenn Miller said this happened to be good timing for this contractor right now and is substantially less than what the town paid three-and-a-half years ago, which he said was around $3,000 per lamp. Neiss updated council on negotiations for temporary council chambers for when the lease runs out on their current quarters.

He said the Lutheran Retreat Center offered their facilities at a nominal fee or possibly for free.

Neiss said during their high season they have numerous large events and the town may get bumped around. However he said they also have a backup plan where they can use the conference facilities at the fire station.

He said the Lutheran Retreat Center is slightly larger than their current space and “doesn’t have the musty smell this building has.”

Price announced the splash pad will be open in April.