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When it comes to the streets of Camp Verde, “accepted” is not “approved,” and thereby hangs a tale.

For at least the last three months, the Camp Verde Town Council has been repeatedly considering accepting the streets of the Verde Cliffs subdivision in the Cliffs development just north of downtown.

Then the item mysteriously vanished after the Feb. 7 council meeting when the specter of litigation raised its head over the issue.

As recently as last week, Mayor Tony Gioia was under the impression that the streets had not been accepted, while Town Manager Bill Lee said they were.

“It’s just plain crazy,” Verde Cliffs resident John Stephens said. “Originally, I went downtown and they said, ‘no,’ the streets had not been accepted, then they said they had. A couple of weeks ago, Marvin Buckel [the town’s street inspector] told me the year warranty on the streets is up in June of this year.”

In a letter to contractor Joe Contadino dated Feb. 22, Town Attorney Bill Sims said when the streets were accepted on Nov. 29 of last year, the
warranty period began.

Apparently, when the town approves the final plat, or plan, for a development, it accepts title, or ownership, of the streets.

The town can then “approve” the streets, or not, once they are built.

Sims said that the town had two additional protections to rely upon.

First, the town can make a developer post a bond and draw money from that bond if it does not approve of how streets are built.

Second, the town can refuse to issue permits for the entire development if, after a few houses are built, it does not approve of the streets.

Gioia said he thought those protections were insufficient.

“It seems ridiculous to me because it seems like the only way we can stop from accepting streets before they’re even built is to not accept the plat,” Gioia said. “Before the town takes on the responsibility of maintenance, I for one would like to make sure that everything is in top order, not starting from some need for repair.”

Sims said that this problem stems in part from outdated and imprecise sections of town code that were pasted in wholesale from county ordinances during incorporation 20 years ago.

“This has been on the radar screen,” Sims said, “and Joe Contadino really brought it home.”

The question of who approves streets that have been accepted in the planning stage is still open.

Gioia said that after all the confusion over “accept” and “approve,” he thinks council needs to have a hand in approval of improvements once they are built.

Stephens, the Verde Cliffs resident, said he and Buckel would be walking the subdivision together this week to assess the quality of the streets.

Of even more concern to Stephens is what he sees as a dangerous lack of parking enforcement in Verde Cliffs.

According to Stephens, the town accepted the subdivision with the most minimally acceptable width of 24 feet, and that allows no room for on-street parking.

“The other day two pickups were parked opposite each other,” Stephens said. “A school bus might get through, but not the fire department, and an emergency wagon cannot get through.”

So nevermind the cracks in the streets — if residents need an ambulance and their neighbors have blocked the street, not only the residents, but the town of Camp Verde may be in deep trouble at that point.

Diane Joens is the new mayor of Cottonwood, according to the unofficial results from the city’s tally of the primary election Tuesday, March 13.

nly 18 percent of the city’s 5,255 registered voters cast ballots.

So far Joens received 561 votes, or 59 percent, of the 955 ballots cast. She leads current Mayor Ruben Jauregui by a 2-to-1 margin. Jauregui garnered 28 percent, or 263 votes, and Randy Lowe received 109 votes, or 11
percent.

Joens will take her seat as mayor Saturday, June 30, for Fiscal Year 2007-08, and will serve the city for the next four years.

In the council member seat race, two candidates won outright: Ron Hollis with 612 votes, or 64 percent, of the total cast, and Duane Kirby with 59 percent, or 567 votes. They will take two of the three open seats.

The other two candidates: John Altizer and Terence Pratt, both write-in candidates, will face off for the final council seat in the general election, Tuesday, May 15, if they choose to run. A candidate must received 51 percent of the vote to win the seat in the primary election.

Altizer received 341, or 36 percent, of the votes and Pratt receive 250, or 26 percent.

If Altizer and Pratt chose to run in the general election, there also may be other write-in candidates who can come
forward.

Tony Gioia defeated Mitch Dickinson by 250 votes to retain his seat as mayor of Camp Verde.

Gioia won with 1,370 votes to Dickinson’s 1,120, according to the Yavapai County Elections Department.

All results are unofficial until certified by the county.

With three open Town Council seats, Greg Elmer won outright with 1,506 votes.

The two remaining seats must be filled by a runoff in the general election on Tuesday, May 15.

Four candidates remain to fill two open seats: Harry Duke [1,223 votes], Councilwoman Jackie Baker [1,053 votes], Norma Garrison [1,033 votes] and Councilman Mike Parry [804 votes].

Impact fees, also known as development fees, won an overwhelming victory, 1,567 votes to 843 votes.

The fees could take effect as early as Thursday, March 22, depending on when the Town Council canvasses, or accepts, the vote.

The city of Cottonwood is trying to decide whether to revisit its ordinance regulating the use of A-frame signs or let it stand as written and step up enforcement.

The signs have become a common sight around town advertising businesses, sales and special events. Some are regular features. A few direct people to the business from a main roadway.

“We do consider the signs for special events for temporary use,” Charlie Scully, Community Development Department planner for Cottonwood, said.

At a recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, city officials asked people, especially business owners to express their opinion about the signs.

“Some business owners say they are necessary for the success of their business. The other point of view is the cluttered look of these signs creates a negative view of the city and its businesses,” Scully said.

The city’s current sign and zoning ordinances prohibit A-frame and portable signs, except for special events, he said. It includes a list of exemptions, such as political and real estate signs.

The Cottonwood City Council will discuss the A-frame sign ordinance at the council’s Tuesday, Oct. 10, work session. Planning and zoning officials have conducted public meetings to get opinions and ideas about the signs. A-frame signs for businesses and commercial operations are the focus of the discussions.

“We want to bring some options to the council for their direction,” Scully said. “We want to decide if these signs can be considered and, if so, what would the conditions be.”

Scully said officials want to decide either to keep the existing regulations and enforce them across the board or amend the existing ordinance to allow the signs under certain circumstances.

“We want to give a fair look at the issue. It’s one of those that you’re not going to get complete consensus,” Scully said. “We just want to resolve the issue and come up with a solution that will work.”

He said the focus of the A-frame ordinance also does not include yard, garage or estate sale signs.

“Those are addressed in other areas. That’s a different story, although it has similar issues,” Scully said.

One of those issues is safety, particularly concerning visibility on the roadways.

Scully said officials are still looking for input from the public and business owners on the A-frame signs.

The council’s Tuesday, Oct. 10, meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers, 826 N. Main St.

For more information, call 634-5505.

 

Clarkdale and Cottonwood motorists can expect construction and delays on Hwy. 89A for at least the next 48 weeks.

The first phase of an Arizona Department of Transportation project to widen and improve Hwy. 89A from Cement Plant Road to Black Hills Drive in Cottonwood began on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The work began at Cement Plant Road and will proceed south to Black Hills Drive.

When completed, Hwy. 89A will have two lanes in each direction with a center median.

Crews will begin the project by clearing brush and rock for the roundabouts, new box culvert extensions and new pavement.

Utility companies have already begun relocating utilities to make way for the new road.

The first phase of the project will consist of the construction of new box culverts used to divert water under the road to prevent erosion.

Motorists will see safety barricades and construction signs placed near the initial culvert construction on Monday, Feb. 11.

The five roundabouts will be constructed at the intersections of Hwy. 89A and Cement Plant Road, Avienda, Lincoln, Groseta Ranch and Black Hills Drive.

ADOT spokesman Bill Williams said studies have shown the roundabouts are statistically safer than four-way intersections for motorists and pedestrians and ADOT plans to build more of them in Arizona.

ADOT said roundabouts improve capacity by 30 to 50 percent, reduce injury accidents by 80 percent and reduce fatalities by 90 percent.

Williams said another advantage of the roundabouts is that they provide for safer U-turns.

Area drivers will have to get used to navigating the five roundabouts in just 2.2 miles.

“It takes some getting used to but not a lot,” Williams said. “And they’re easier to cross than a four-way intersection since pedestrians only have to look left to check traffic.”

Williams said the roundabouts for this project were designed to handle the large trucks that use the road as well as passenger vehicles and pedestrians.

The $10.2 million project was awarded to S.J. Louis Construction in Phoenix.

An 18 month project to upgrade Hwy. 260 to a four-lane road for 2.4 miles from Western Drive to Thousand Trails is slated to begin this fall.

ADOT Public Involvement Officer Bill Pederson said that project will not impact motorists nearly as much as the Hwy. 89A project since most of the construction is adjacent to existing roadway.

“These projects have been in the works for a number of years,” Pederson said. “Folks have been anticipating this for quite some time.

With the increased growth in Verde Valley traffic, we need to improve those highways to accommodate traffic.”

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