Communities may adopt PV sign codes

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Prescott Valley intends to revise its town codes regulating the posting of political signs, and it hopes that other area communities will follow suit.

"Yavapai County is definitely on board with us, and is looking at changing in June or July," Gwen Rowitsch, town code enforcement supervisor, told the Town Council at Thursday's work-study session. "Prescott is considering 32 square feet (size restrictions), but is not opposed to our 24 square feet."

At the work-study session the council discussed Planning & Zoning recommendations to modify rules for temporary signs; the council could approve the new regulations as early as this week's public meeting.

Originally tasked by the council to review regulations regarding temporary signs, such as political candidate advertisements, town staffers expanded their efforts to suggest that regulations for such signs be consistent among tri-city communities.

The town's community development director, Richard Parker, said the town has already sent its proposed regulations to Yavapai County, Prescott and Chino Valley in hopes that those entities will also adopt the standards. Chino Valley, he said, hasn't yet responded to the suggestion.

The proposed standards limit political candidate signs to a maximum size of 24 square feet. The signs may go up no sooner than 60 days prior to an election day, and must come down within 10 days after the election.

"We can't treat these signs any differently than other temporary signs," said Town Attorney Ivan Legler, referring to the physical size limitation, and said the 24 square feet falls in closely with standards in other Arizona communities, both of comparable size and in this area.

The council also discussed a matter it had tabled at its Feb. 27 public meeting, a development agreement with Empire Residential Sales. Empire intends to build 1,012 homes on 138 acres across the highway from Prescott Country Club.

The council had tabled the matter until it could hear revisions proposed by the developer, including "banking" unused water credits for future use, what types of parks the subdivision will have, and adding $400,000 to the community facilities district (CFD) bonding to pay for park construction.

Town Manager Tony Mortillaro told the council that he will meet with the developer to discuss several more specifics, including sidewalks.

The developer said not having sidewalks in the subdivision would "contribute to the ambiance of the community," Mortillaro said. Because the Town Council will also act as the subdivision's community facilities district board of directors, it can later issue an additional debt against the subdivision residents to pay for installing sidewalks, he said, if it wishes.

Mortillaro said he also will talk with the developer about Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, alternate access points, drainage into "pocket parks" and other features of the proposed subdivision.

Approval of the development agreement will initiate the process of annexing the land into Prescott Valley.

***

A walk in Prescott Valley's "downtown" may one day become a walk through an outdoor interactive art gallery.

During the work-study session the council met with the Arts & Culture Commission to discuss the progress report on the 2001 Cultural Assessment, and future plans for arts and culture in Prescott Valley.

Christine Scott, commission chair, told the council that a "50/50" cost share grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts will help pay the salary of the town's arts coordinator.

Successful projects so far include installation of the Borglum art collection in the civic center; the ceramic "time line" on a civic center exterior wall; the Winter Holiday Tree Festival; the "Art Power" cable TV program and Youth Arts Month now under way. Next up is a multicultural World Arts Festival at the civic center on June 7 that will include performance arts and ethnic foods. The commission convinced the traveling Smithsonian exhibit to visit Prescott Valley in August and September.

One of the commission's goals, Scott said, is to get the community to not just look at art, but to participate in it as well. Toward that end, Scott briefed the council on a successful community art program in Grand Junction, Colo., that scatters dozens of sculptures in its downtown area, inviting passersby to touch and enjoy. Some are life-size sculptures of bicyclists and people sitting on park benches, whereas others are abstracts. Many are whimsical or humorous, especially in their placement.

The artists install their works for one year at no charge, Scott said, and the town guarantees physical security of the pieces. The works are for sale, so the artists benefit from the exposure of their works. At the end of the year the community votes to purchase one or more of the pieces. The artists remove their sculptures and new ones take their places.

***

The council called a special meeting during the work-study session to accept official results of the March 11 council election.

Town Council candidates Bob Edwards and Lora Lee Nye, and incumbents Mike Flannery and Fran Schumacher, will take four-year seats on the Town Council beginning June 5.

According to official results from the county Elections Department, the election-by-mail drew 9,373 ballots for five candidates. Schumacher drew 2,359 votes (25.17 percent of the total); Edwards, 2,109 (22.5 percent); Nye, 2,112 (22.53 percent); and Flannery, 2,367 (25.25 percent). Write-in candidate Bill McCallum took 426 votes, or 4.54 percent.

Less than one-third of registered Prescott Valley voters (31.96 percent) participated in the election.

Art Merrill is a reporter for the Prescott Valley Tribune. Contact him at amerrill@prescottaz.com