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There is a growing need for reasonably priced housing in Cave Creek, and the developers of Tamarisk Rentals are seeking to address it with their newest project.

The Cave Creek Town Council unanimously approved the Tamarisk Rentals site plan for the development of eight single-story detached residential units during a recent council meeting.

Tamarisk Rentals will be located on two adjoining lots in the Tamarisk Grove area of Downtown Cave Creek on the southwest and northwest corner of Hidden Valley Drive and Valley Way.

The site plan was submitted by the applicant Ralph Bednar on behalf of Scottsdale-based Mission Property Developers LLC.

“We see a tremendous demand for reasonably priced rental units in Cave Creek for servers, for cooks and others in the area that currently have to drive close to 45 minutes or longer in order to get to work in Cave Creek,” Bednar said to the council.

“We believe it’s greatly needed in the downtown area,” he added.

Each unit will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, Bednar said. He described the units as a mix of a house and an apartment, or what some call “horizontal apartments.”

This property is vacant land, according to the case summary. The total parcel area designated within the site plan is 0.9 acres or 39,174 square feet, and the total area the units will cover is 10,516 square feet.

In 2005, this property was considered for a similar approval, but when construction did not proceed, the permit subsequently expired, Planning Director Luke Kautzman said during the meeting.

Councilmember Kathryn Royer asked Bednar how much rent will cost at Tamarisk Rentals during the meeting.

“Right now, there’s nothing under $2,500 a month that you can find in the Cave Creek area, and we know we’re going to be substantially below that for the units,” Bednar replied.

Before voting in favor of approving the site plan, Councilmember Ron Sova and Vice Mayor David Smith agreed that this development could be beneficial considering the demand for reasonably priced housing units within the town.

“Some of our business members have spoken to me and said that the people who work for them just can’t afford to live in the area and they will appreciate the local availability of housing,” Councilmember Thomas McGuire said before issuing his vote.

Mayor Ernie Bunch agreed with McGuire’s comment before voting in favor, saying, “I’ve been hearing that for years.”

There were no public comments requested during the meeting, and no written comments were received by the town’s staff.

The Cave Creek Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of recommending approval of the site plan at a meeting on Nov. 19. 

The property is zoned as a commercial buffer, and the surrounding areas to the south and west are designated as a commercial buffer as well, the case summary states. Properties to the north and east are designated town core commercial. 

Each dwelling has two designated off-street parking spots in close proximity to the units, which makes for 16 parking spaces. The applicant is responsible for any potential right-of-way improvements that must be made.

Rather than having one common trash receptacle for all the tenants, there will be individual trash bins for each unit. Trash bins will be obscured by a combination view fence and masonry walls in the rear of each dwelling on the days that the trash is not collected. 

The developers will be responsible to upgrade and extend infrastructure to the site of the project and adding tenants to both water and wastewater utilities, according to the case summary. It also mentions how the utilities director has authorized the applicant to connect to the town’s water and wastewater systems.

The applicant has worked with the town’s staff to provide a pedestrian pathway that will connect Tamarisk Rentals to the town-owned public parking area to additional connections in the town core, Kautzman said.

The applicant prepared a native plant inventory and said cactuses or trees that are “capable of being salvaged” will be used as a part of the project’s overall landscape design.

Several trees will be removed, as their species appears on Arizona’s invasive species list.

Councilmember Paul Diefenderfer commented on the area’s significance, saying, “That area has been known to be a hangout for artist types for many many years.”

He mentioned the tamarisk trees will be removed, as “they’re well past their glory,” also mentioning that they’re an invasive species. 

Tamarisk trees, also called salt cedar, are described on a Nature Conservancy website as one of “the worst weeds,” explaining how “salt accumulates in the soil and makes it very difficult for other plants to grow nearby.” It also says that salt cedar “sucks large amounts of water from the ground, transforming valuable desert streams and ponds into salty dry basins.”

He suggested to the applicant, however, that “it’d be nice if you could offer up some of the (tamarisk) wood to locals to see what they could make out of it.”