The Town Council was consistent in its vote regarding the proposed Daybreak apartment community in Fountain Hills, approving the development agreement for the project on a 5-2 vote at its Nov. 19 session.
Mayor Ginny Dickey and Councilman David Spelich voted no, as they did with the General Plan amendment and PAD proposals approved by the council in October.
Vice Mayor Sherry Leckrone and council members Dennis Brown, Alan Magazine, Mike Scharnow and Art Tolis voted in favor.
Dickey said the conditions of the development agreement do improve the project, however, she added that items she had hoped to see addressed further were not.
“The traffic mitigation proposal didn’t go far enough in my mind,” Dickey said in an email to The Times. “In addition, I don’t think it should be the role of the applicant to set a town speed limit.
“The fee language is incomplete about certain fees to be included, and I objected to waiving any fees.
“There is a phasing schedule in the PAD that is not really enforceable; and given past experience, even good intentions are not enough to ensure the project would not look incomplete in the short or long term. ‘Reasonable efforts’ to follow the phasing plan are not protective enough. For instance, the hill could be excavated, yet phase II not proceed.
“Other provisions I supported were not included in the final document.”
She did not elaborate on those requests.
Brown said the development agreement provides assurances and protections for the town in relation to the project.
He said if a referendum effort fails to reverse the earlier council decisions on the General Plan amendment and PAD, the town would lose protections provided in the agreement.
“If we don’t pass this we risk losing all the developer has promised in this agreement,” Brown said.
Dickey clarified with Town Attorney Aaron Arnson that the project could go forward without the development agreement based only on the approvals for the General Plan Amendment and PAD zoning plan. He said that is correct.
At the time of the meeting, referendum petitions had been reviewed by the town clerk and forwarded to the county elections department for signature verification. The deadline to complete that is the first week in December.
If the petitions are verified the council would set the election date, which would likely be May 2020.
Tolis said everyone made their best effort to improve the project.
“This is a hard decision to have to make, we want to do what is best for the community,” Tolis said.
Tolis added he believes the voters will ultimately decide on the project.
Leckrone said the agreement is the next step of a process. She said the two sides had good faith negotiations to improve the project for the town.
Residents speaking to the council challenged several things in the agreement. One question was why the traffic study is being done after the project is occupied and not before the plan came forward.
On that point Arnson pointed out that there was a traffic study done at the start of planning, but the study after occupancy will better gauge the traffic impact of the project.
Residents also questioned fee waivers included in the agreement, and asked about the value of those. The agreement provides fee waivers pertaining to application, review and approval for the PAD stipulations, final plat approval and grading permits. Staff estimates the value of those waivers at about $30,000.
Scharnow asked for clarification and it was noted the developer will pay fees for construction permits, platting, site plan, rezoning, permit, development, building inspection and plan review fees imposed as of the effective date.
The town is still requiring the developer to bring back an improved site plan for the project for approval. They have until December 2020 to complete that.