Get involved Carefree!

Carefree’s General Plan shapes the future of our town.

These are the issues we believe need addressing. If you agree, please provide your feedback.

1. REMOVE THE SPECIAL PLANNING AREA (SPA) ON THE NW CORNER OF TOM DARLINGTON AND CAREFREE HIGHWAY FROM THE FUTURE LAND USE MAP.

A SPECIAL PLANNING AREA (SPA) was approved by town council in December 2021.

This SPA is narrowly defined to allow for the development of a destination-based hospitality/resort.

The SPA was approved during the Covid lockdown. As a result, most residents were never given an opportunity to participate in this Major Amendment to our General Plan. The feedback that residents are now finally able to provide suggests there is strong opposition to a resort on this corner.

Therefore, we strongly recommend the SPA for the NW corner of Tom Darlington and Carefree Highway be removed from the Future Land Use Map.

2.STRONGER COMMITMENT TO CAREFREE PARK.

Residents number one priority is to preserve more open space in Carefree. Carefree Park, a non-profit 501(c)3 is dedicated to acquiring 48 acres of State Land located 1/2 mile from Town Center and turning it into a nature preserve with walking trails.

This is the last remaining multi-acre parcel of land in Carefree. Carefree doesn’t need anymore residential neighborhoods - we need a place to enjoy a long walk with friends and this is our last chance to do that. Carefree must commit to residents number one priority.

3. ELIMINATE LANGUAGE THAT SUPPORTS RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ABOVE DOWNTOWN CAREFREE RETAIL SHOPS.

Most residents agree that the height of the Hampton Inn and View Town homes have blemished the magnificent views Carefree residents once enjoyed in our Town Center. These structures detract from Carefree’s scenic community character.

Adding a second story residential development to the retail shops will only further detract from our Town Center.Carefree’s General Plan Draft is available here:https://www.carefree.org/carefree-general-plan-updateProvide

Your Feedback:

Go to the GENERAL PLAN COMMENT FORM here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CFGP60dayreview

Your name is not required to provide feedback. If you don’t wish to provide your name, just hit ‘Next’.

Select the middle option (I have general comments) and hit ‘Next’.

A white box will be provided at the bottom of the screen that allows you to type in your feedback.

Hit ‘Next’ after typing your comments and you are done.

Thank you for helping to shape the future of Carefree!

See more information about Carefree below:

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September 2023 Town Council Meeting

September 13, 20236 min read

CAREFREE WATER COMPANY UPDATE

The Carefree Water Company requested and received approval for a $2 million loan from the Town of Carefree. This loan will come out of the Town’s General Fund and will be used to complete the on-going water transition.

This will be a zero interest loan.

During public comments, a resident confirmed this $2 million loan will raise the total debt of the water transition to roughly $35 million. The $35 million must be repaid over the next 30 years through resident's escalating water rates.

Another resident and former banking executive questioned the wisdom of approving the loan. All three entities involved in the loan - Carefree Water Company, Utilities Community Facilities District, and Carefree Town Council are run by the exact same 7 individuals.

The people requesting the loan are the same people approving the loan.

There is no independent oversight.

Like the $2 million loan, there was no independent oversight that reviewed the decision to proceed with the water transition or to issue $18.5 million in revenue bonds to pay for the water transition. Residents have not been involved in these decisions nor has there been oversight from outside governing bodies such as the Arizona Corporation Commission.

GENERAL PLAN UPDATE

Carefree is revising its General Plan. Between October 1 and December 1, the 60 day review period takes place providing residents an opportunity to comment on the General Plan draft. Once the Town Council approves the General Plan draft, no further revisions will be allowed.

Residents will have the final vote on the General Plan at the November 2024 election. (Click here to review - THE GENERAL PLAN DRAFT)

Matt Klyzsieko of Michael Baker Intl. presented a draft of the Goals, Policies and Actions at the September Town Council meeting.

Council Member Amoroso and Vice Mayor Kroyer objected to some of the Open Space Goals and Policies. When the General Plan revision began, 362 Carefree residents participated in an open survey.

The number one reason listed for why people chose to make Carefree their home was the natural beauty of the area (89%). And almost 90%, or 326 people felt the number one priority Carefree should focus on over the next 10 years was to preserve more of Carefree’s open space. Mr. Klyzsieko emphasized that this was the overwhelming desire of residents (view 10 second clip below)

However Council Member Amoroso and Vice Mayor Kroyer made the following objections:

Council Member Amoroso commented it was fiscally irresponsible to spend town money to preserve or maintain open space irrespective of the fact this is the number one reason people chose to live in Carefree and is ranked as the highest priority among residents. Council Member Amoroso is one of 540 accounts recently transitioned to Carefree Water Company. The water transition placed a $35 million debt burden on all Carefree residents. Not once did Council Member Amoroso question whether the $35 million water transition was fiscally responsible. Nor did she question whether it was fiscally irresponsible for the town to transfer another $2 million out of the Town’s General Fund for another water company loan, further adding to an already massive debt. (view the clip below)

Vice Mayor Kroyer attempted to marginalize Carefree residents who expressed a desire to preserve open space by claiming this was just a small group. General Plan consultant Matt Klyzsieko diplomatically explained preserving open space represented the majority of the feedback they received from residents. (view the clip below)

Residents objected to Vice Mayor Kroyer and Council Member Amoroso’s comments. Residents appealed to Kroyer and Amoroso, asking them to “please work with residents vs repeatedly refusing to listen to what was important to residents”. Both Kroyer and Amoroso were also outspoken leaders supporting a property tax in Carefree.

John Traynor, 26 year Carefree resident (view the clip below)

Wendy Mattes, Carefree resident and co-founder of Carefree Park (view the clip below)

TOWN FINANCES

Notable Expenditures:

Kimley-Horn (consultant) - studying signage and circulation in downtown Carefree Consultant Costs to Date - $180,000

Michael Baker Intl. (consultant) - Carefree General Plan revision Consultant Cost to Date - $74,000

September Approved Projects:

VSS International was awarded the contract to repave select Carefree roads. See attached map to see if your road is part of the project - all roads highlighted in black will be part of the contract work. (click here for the map and report). Approved Expense - $2.9 Million

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN UPDATE

Steve Prokopek, Economic Development Director presented his plan for the 2024-2025 period and requested approval from the Town Council to proceed with the plan. Included in the plan:

• Implement the Kimley-Horn recommendation for new signs in downtown Carefree - a total of 63 new signs costing $1.2 million installed in three stages. • Continue to fund Kimley-Horn consultant fees to study traffic patterns in downtown Carefree.

• Identify a developer for the resort on the North West corner of Tom Darlington and Carefree Highway and begin the re-zoning process. This corner is currently zoned Very Low Density Residential (VLDR).

• Discussion about downsizing the development envelope of the North East corner on Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Rd and attempt to find another developer. This corner has been zoned commercial since 2018.

• Council Member Hatcher opposed the $1.2 million sign proposal for downtown Carefree. He suggested a smaller number of signs would be more appropriate as opposed to 63 new signs recommended in the Kimley-Horn proposal. Council Member Hatcher felt the town had more critical issues where money could be better spent. (view the clip below)

Council Member Hatcher inquired why that North East corner of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Rd continues to sit undeveloped. (view the clip below)

Council Member Hatcher inquired how residents were getting information about a spa/resort on the North West corner of Carefree Highway and Tom Darlington since the Council had never discussed a spa/resort on this corner.

Despite Council Members not being informed, a developer submitted a pre-application on 10/3/2022 for rezoning of this corner and provided adjacent homeowners a site plan showing a resort/spa concept that included 6 outdoor pickle ball courts. (view the clip below)

A vote of the 2024/2025 Economic Development Plan was delayed by the Town Lawyer. The Mayor listed on the resolution was Les Peterson. The corrected resolution, 2023-10, will be put to a vote at the October 3 Town Council Meeting.

TRAFFIC CALMING WORKSHOPS

Mark Milstone, Carefree Town Engineer presented a DRAFT policy which would study traffic patterns and “hot spots” looking at options to “calm” traffic in these areas. He also presented a format for how concerned neighbors could bring issues in their neighborhoods to the town. (YouTube link WATCH THE WORKSHOP)

SAVE THE DATES:

October 11, 2023 5pm Town Council Chambers - General Plan Workshop, review the General Plan Draft

October 13, 2023 9am-11am Sanderson Pavilion - Community Conversation, informal chat with Mayor John Crane and other Council Members

October 21, 2023 3pm Sanderson Pavilion - Carefree Park will hold an important informational meeting with guest speakers from Maricopa County Parks and Arizona Parks and Trails.

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