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Cave Creek Council approves new development, bike lane expenditures

6/12/2015

Tara Alatorre
Staff

CAVE CREEK – The Cave Creek Town Council voted for development on June 1 at the town council meeting, approving expenditures for the construction of bike lanes, allowing a tractor supply company to develop 10 acres, and then postponed the Cahava Springs utility district approval vote.

The ongoing planning and development of bicycle lanes for the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek through the assistance of the Maricopa Association of Governments has finally reached the construction phase. Cave Creek will contribute $75,000, which was allocated in the town’s general fund while Carefree’s share for the project is $140,158 for the installation of bike lanes.

The project is estimated to take 180 days to complete and the bike lanes will run adjacent to the traffic lanes.

Although the project has included public participation from both towns, the project was met with hesitation from some equestrian enthusiasts living in Cave Creek during the council meeting.

“I just don’t see how you can have three paths and separate bikes and horses,” said Carla Mitchell, Cave Creek resident. “It’s becoming less of an equestrian town,” she said.

However, the town council did not share Mitchell’s concerns of bicyclists and equestrians intermingling due to the new bike lanes, and rebutted that the point of bicycle lanes is to separate bicycles, pedestrians, and equestrians.

 “I have a lot of passion for the equestrian part of Cave Creek,” said Councilman Mark Lipsky in response to Mitchell’s comment. “I don’t think we should fear bicycles.”

The most up to date information and route map for the new bicycle lanes can be found on the MAG Web page for the project: http://www.azmag.gov/Projects/Project.asp?CMSID=5580.

The council also voted 6-1 approving the development of a tractor supply store located on 10 acres of land on the corner of Cave Creek and Olesen Roads, citing significant economic benefits for the town.
 
“I want to see this project get going, it is good for the town,” said Councilman Ernie Bunch.

However, some residents were not happy with the approval of the tractor supply store, expressing concerns about it creating an urban heat island, lack of landscaping, and water shortage issues.

Resident Eileen Wright spoke against the development, saying it disregarded the vision of the general plan, and wanted to see more vegetation planted on the 10 acre parcel.
 
“To me, this agenda item is environmental suicide,” said Wright. “The heat island of this plan will be devastating to the neighborhood.”

Councilman Lipsky voted against the development plan because the developer voluntarily agreed to reduce its parking spots in lieu of landscaping at a previous meeting, but since then changed its stance keeping the parking spots for customers.
 
“They agreed, everyone left that night with that in mind, and to undo something the tenant isn’t happy with, but benefits the town…I would have to vote no,” said Councilman Lipsky.

The town council unanimously agreed to postpone the approval of Cahava Springs Revitalization District to the next town council meeting after a resident pointed out a legal error.

Eileen Wright, represented by her attorney, Timothy LaSoda, pointed out to the town council that the resolution for a public meeting regarding the formation of Cahava Springs was published with no date or signature.

The lack of signature and date makes the resolution ineffective legally, because state law requires all resolutions have the date, time, and place of the hearing, according to LaSoda.
 
“If you think you are forming it tonight with a vote, I think you are mistaken,” said LaSoda.

The town council and attorneys will try to remedy the situation by the next council meeting so it can vote on the formation of Cahava Springs, which would form a special tax district within Cave Creek funding infrastructure development.

The Cave Creek Town Council also unanimously approved reducing the town council agenda posting date from seven calendar days to six calendar days.