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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November 2023 Town Council Meeting

November 01, 20234 min read

In this edition, we highlight two key takeaways from the recent November Council meeting.

Theme 1:Promote Aggressive Development of Carefree” - the

emerging narrative is either accept “aggressive” development or support

a property tax.

Theme 2: General Plan - the debate on whether to accept or remove the

little understood Special Planning Area (SPA) on the NW Corner of

Carefree Highway and Tom Darlington.

THEME 1: “AGGRESSIVE” DEVELOPMENT of CAREFREE

For context, just 15 months ago, Town Council members attested that Carefree’s financial health had never been stronger and was only getting better. 

Last night, the narrative continues to shift to a “looming $3 million budget deficit”, leveraged to “promote aggressive development" within Carefree.

Pro-property tax supporters have labeled residents who voted against a Carefree property tax, while remaining cautious of uncontrolled development, as naive.

We vehemently disagree.

In the meeting, both Mayor Crane and Economic Development Director Steve Prokopek acknowledged that a credible economic forecast is a must have, and the “$3 million budget deficit” is only speculative until an in-depth analysis is conducted.

To make informed decisions, we need a logical process:

  1. Commission an unbiased, credible economic analysis to evaluate future budget needs and revenue sources. We urge the council to engage an outside respected agency for this analysis.

  2. Scrutinize town spending to identify areas of waste that can be trimmed. There is waste in every budget; let’s find and eliminate ours as soon as possible.

  3. Concentrate on unlocking the economic potential of the NE Corner of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway, as Cave Creek has successfully done for their town.

  4. Find a replacement tenant for the recently vacated CVS.

  5. Revitalize Town Center.

Only after these steps are taken can we reliable evaluate the magnitude of what is now only a speculative budget deficit.

Let’s not perpetuate our past mistakes. Rampant unsupported development is a mistake we cannot undo. We must learn from the Hampton Inn. We need credible data and a rational and measured approach to any future development.

THEME 2: GENERAL PLAN

Pro-property tax supporters push to keep the Special Planning Area (SPA) at the NW Corner of Tom Darlington and Carefree Highway in the General Plan under the guise of addressing a speculative budget deficit.

The Town Council approved this SPA during Covid lockdown, the same lockdown that forced them to delay the General Plan revision. 

This area had been designated as Very Low Density Residential.  It required a Major Amendment to our General Plan to make this dramatic shift to a SPA with language that states this area is ideally suited for a destination based hospitality resort development.

Recent surveys indicate Carefree residents believe a Major Amendment should not have been approved during the Covid lockdown. Very few residents were even aware or understood the significance of this Major Amendment.

Legally, the town only had an obligation to notify residents living within 500 feet of the “resort.” Consequently, the majority of Carefree residents were in the dark, and are only now able to share their opinions.

During the Council meeting, a resident who received the 500-feet notice shared that the overwhelming sentiment of the residents within that 500-feet opposed a hospitality resort development on that corner.

In an attempt to placate residents, the General Plan will eliminate any reference to a “hospitality resort”  but leave the SPA designation on the Future Land Use Map.

Frankly, this is deceptive. 

A SPA was approved by the Town Council. The language of that SPA is clear - Carefree will entertain a “destination-based hospitality/resort” to be developed on that corner. There are no other uses identified in the SPA - it is narrowly defined as a destination resort development.

As long as the SPA for the NW corner of Tom Darlington and Carefree Highway remains on the Future Land Use Designation Map, that SPA language defines the future development of that corner as a hospitality resort. 

Feedback indicates residents do not support a resort on that corner.

THEREFORE, THE SPA FOR THE NW CORNER OF CAREFREE HIGHWAY AND TOM DARLINGTON MUST BE REMOVED FROM OUR GENERAL PLAN FUTURE LAND USE MAP.

The future of our town is at a crossroads. Five minutes of your time to provide feedback to the General Plan can change the future of Carefree.  

Please provide your feedback to the General Plan by the December 1st deadline and share this article with your friends and neighbors. Having trouble understanding how to provide your feedback? Contact us, we can help.

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