Cave Creek’s third attempt to update General Plan

Why should we care?

It is the road map for our governing bodies for the next 20 years.

Who has a say?

This is where it gets a little murky.

  • Community Members
    Residents, Community Service Organizations and Neighborhood/Homeowner Associations
  • Stakeholders
    Mayor & Council, Planning Commission Members, Chamber of Commerce, Major Employers and Local Business Leaders, Landowners and Community Developers, Public Agency and Service Representatives
    If we as community members do not make our voices heard, the Stakeholders will be the only, and therefore deciding, voices. The resulting General Plan will be whatever they think is best for the town, Employers, Developers, Public Agencies, etc.
    Tragically, only 107 surveys have been completed according to at the time of this writing. If you want to change what we are experiencing, we need your most valuable participation. We may not all agree, but at least our divergent opinions will be made known.
    We have until April 3 to participate in the online GP Update Survey ( so please find a way to share your vision for our town.
    The following explanatory information is from, the website developed by Michael Baker International for our Cave Creek General Plan Update [If you’ve got this, go below the indented section to see what residents had to say at the March 9 workshop.]:

What is the purpose of the General Plan Update?

The Cave Creek General Plan is the community’s long-range guide for future physical, economic and social development decisions over the next 20+ years. The General Plan contains a vision statement, along with maps, goals, policies, and implementation strategies that address issues such as land use, growth, circulation, parks and open space, and the environment.

Why update the General Plan now?

State law mandates that each city and town in Arizona adopt a “comprehensive, long-range general plan for the development of the municipality.” These plans must also be updated and adopted by voters every ten years. Cave Creek’s current General Plan was last ratified by voters in 2005 with two subsequent Council-adopted versions and ratification attempts in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The current effort is intended to refine the 2018 Council-adopted (but unratified) General Plan through exhaustive public outreach to ensure the Plan is in alignment with the residents’ vision for the community. Upon completion, it is anticipated that the Plan will be adopted by Town Council, then placed on the March 2021 ballot for ratification. Ratification of the General Plan would bring the Town into compliance with Arizona state statute.

What topics does the General Plan address?

There are both State-mandated and optional “elements,” or topics, that go into a General Plan. State law requires that a General Plan for a community the size of Cave Creek to address the following core elements: Land Use and Circulation [SN note: circulation refers to movement within and through, including everything from pedestrians to light rail]. Additionally, the Town has elected to expand the General Plan to include elements such as Growth Areas, Open Space, Environmental Planning, Water Resources, and Cost of Development.
To address specific topics that are unique to Cave Creek, the General Plan may also include additional elements such as Arts and Culture, Economic Development, or Health and Wellness if there is strong community interest in these areas.
Identification of alternative elements will be reviewed and discussed with the public through outreach efforts as the General Plan Update is prepared.
The Town of Cave Creek has contracted with Michael Baker International for the General Plan Update project, which it appears from the 2020 Final Budget, has an estimated cost of $48,000 (legal advertising and reproduction $3,000; professional services not to exceed $45,000).
There are four phases to the Cave Creek General Plan Update process – Recognize, Engage, Enrich, and Achieve (It is obvious residents did not name the phases.). We are in Phase I, which for residents is the most critical phase. The last two attempts (2016 and 2018) to update the General Plan were passed by the Cave Creek Town Council but not ratified by residents. Either the community feedback didn’t properly reflect the vision of the majority of residents for the next 20 years or the effort to effectively incorporate that feedback into the Plan Update failed, causing voters not to ratify.
The GP Update site indicates there are several ways to participate in the process:
“Come to one of our community meetings; complete our online survey; visit one of our mobile workshops at an upcoming Town event; or participate in a Planning Commission or Town Council study session or hearing. Check the events page for information on upcoming meetings and workshops.”
There is a mobile workshop planned during our rodeo celebration before the survey ends. The Events page has one entry, a March 9 Community Workshop which was attended by 25 -30 people; only four completed a paper version of the survey at that time. Some of the dark skies crowd was in attendance as evidenced by several comments.
No other community meetings are planned in which we can participate until after the General Plan draft has been completed.
The “go online” message is clear, so that’s the best way to get the information where it needs to be,
Do you agree with the top three answers to questions in this March 9 workshop sample? Do you agree with the workshop station comments that follow?
Please view the full summary in the Documents section of the website. You can also view the 2018 GP Update, which is what we’re updating now, for much more in-depth information.
Why do you choose to live in Cave Creek?
Rural Character
Proximity to Natural Open Space
Access to Trails
What are the most positive trends Cave Creek has experienced recently?
Natural Open Space and Resource Preservation
Trail and Recreation Planning
Historic Town Core Development
What are the most negative trends Cave Creek has experienced recently?
Traffic Congestion
Loss of Rural Character
Cave Creek Road/Carefree Highway commercial corridor development

The following comments are by March 9 attendees who visited workshop stations devoted to ‘Evaluate Trade-Offs’ and ‘Comment on Land Use’:
-Evaluate Trade-Offs
-Quality of Life:
-Managing commercial growth was strongly encouraged (13 attendees) rather than developing new tax bases through non-residential development. One attendee was neutral.
-Maintain infrastructure was encouraged (8 attendees) / strongly encouraged (6 attendees) rather than minimizing the cost of services. One attendee was neutral, while two strongly encouraged minimizing the cost of services.
Residential Development
Town core residential development was encouraged (7 attendees) / strongly encouraged (4 attendees) rather than dispersed Town-wide residential development. Two attendees strongly encouraged dispersed Town-wide residential development.
Traffic Congestion
Enhancing alternative modes of transportation was encouraged (9 attendees) / strongly encouraged (2 attendees) rather than enhancing roadway capacity and connectivity. There were four neutral attendees
On the traffic congestion topic:
-No 6-lane road on Carefree Highway.
-Keep roads we have in good repair and clear all the shoulders and easement along them.
On Land Use:
-Maintain current Carefree Highway Specific Area Plan
-Maintain as is the current Carefree Highway Specific Area Plan
Honor the commercial buffer zoneThere is a second community meeting planned which will be a review of the General Plan Draft. It will consist of an Open House meeting where the public can review and comment on the Draft General Plan Update.
The date has not yet been announced. Presentation materials including such items as maps and project summary brochures will be stationed throughout the meeting space and the Michael Baker Team will engage the community in open dialogue to seek concurrence on the Plan and collect any remaining input prior to finalizing the General Plan Update for the state-mandated 60-Day Review Period. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Reminder: Voters will be asked to ratify the General Plan during the March 2021 election.