Emotions have run high regarding the proposed Daybreak apartment community in Fountain Hills since the beginning, but it was revealed at the Nov. 19 council meeting that there was what public safety officials considered a notable threat to the council at its Oct. 1 meeting when the project was first considered by the council.
At the meeting last week resident Larry Hering told the council he does not believe the process is to establish the truth, and that council members have a “hidden agenda” with the project.
Hering cited comments by Councilman Dennis Brown from the Oct. 1 meeting when he used the term “vigilante” and stated he believes builders will never again come to Fountain Hills for development projects if Daybreak is not approved, which Hering described as a threat.
“Many in town government are biased, have a hidden agenda and are just plain dishonest,” Hering said. “I have lost confidence [in the council].”
Councilman Alan Magazine spoke first.
“Hearing how dishonest we are and how we must be taking something from the developer is disgusting,” Magazine said. “Anyone who has any evidence of this, I would strongly urge you to take it to the FBI.”
Brown noted that his use of the term “vigilante” to describe some participants at the Oct. 1 meeting has been discussed greatly on Facebook and in letters to the editor. Brown said he would like to explain.
Brown said that when he arrived for the Oct. 1 meeting he was taken aside by public safety personnel and told there was an online message urging anyone who had a concealed carry permit to bring a weapon to the meeting.
He said each of the council members were given this information and were told how to safely evacuate the ballroom.
“If that is not a threat, if that is not a vigilante move, I don’t know what is,” Brown said. “I’ve been up here for 10 years and have never had anything like this happen.”
The proposed Daybreak plan, which includes 400 multi-family dwelling units in two distinct communities proposed for a site off Palisades Boulevard, north of Shea Boulevard, has drawn controversy from the very beginning. A group of residents raised their concerns about the plan when it was first unveiled publicly last spring.
In September, when the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing, there were 300 people in attendance, most expressing opposition. The commission voted to recommend the council deny the General Plan amendment and PAD zoning applications.
A similar crowd attended the Oct. 1 council meeting where a hearing was held. Both sessions with the crowds of about 300 were held at the Community Center.
The Nov. 19 council meeting filled the council chambers with about 100.