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Upcoming Council Meeting Can Decide Wickenburg's Future

I stumbled upon this website in my search for information for a speech I was writing to present at the upcoming Wickenburg Town Council meeting on Monday, March 6th.

I am so glad to see that there are other concerned citizens who truly care about the direction our special little town is headed. I think most of us moved here originally because we wanted to live in a place where there was open space, little pollution and friendly neighbors.

It’s true that Arizona is growing by leaps and bounds and that growth is inevitable. I don’t have a problem with that as long as the growth is carefully planned out and not dictated by people whose only motive is profit and greed. In the last few years we have seen unrestricted growth approaching rapidly from the Phoenix area and now it is knocking on our front door.

In 2004 an out of town developer from Utah, Richard Ringwood, began his push to bring cluster housing into an area of Wickenburg which was previously zoned for low density housing. This high density housing project was included in with an attempt to resurrect and refurbish the Wickenburg Country club, a local 9 hole golf course with a record of losing money. The local Planning & Zoning Commission and our Town Council rushed this project through and approved it. A large number of concerned property owners and other residents stood up at these meetings to voice their opposition. We were treated disrespectfully and the 2 groups completely ignored the fact that there was a large representation of the town’s public who were against this project. The Council and Commission both voted unanimously to accept the projects.

My group, the Committee to Preserve Wickenburg’s Lifestyle, was convinced that the actions conducted by our town’s representatives was incorrect and initiated a referendum to bring the issue before the voters of Wickenburg. In November of 2004, the majority of the voters agreed with us and turned down the developer’s requests. They, too, were concerned that our elected representatives and mayor were not willing to listen to the voice of the voters. The mayor responded by saying that the public didn’t know what it was voting against, as if he could read the minds of 1072 voters.

This coming Monday, the 6th of March at 5:30 PM at town hall, there will be as important a meeting in Wickenburg’s history as there ever has been. The developer is returning to attempt to again throw up cluster housing in our town in the guise of a rezoning request. One look at his plans reveals that the density of housing is higher than what was in his previous plan. The thing that is most disturbing is that the council and mayor still refuse to acknowledge the majority of Wickenburg residents who took the time and effort to vote against this type of development in 2004. I predict the council vote to be 6-1 as there is only one councilman, Richard Creel, who has the courage to stand up and say that the public should to be listened to. There is another councilman, John Cook, who last week stood up at the Planning and Zoning Commission discussing this man’s plan and declared that he was for the project. Why are we conducting a meeting if the council has it’s mind made up prior to a public discussion? Are they not willing to listen to the public’s input? There is something seriously wrong with this.

Please attend this meeting, as the future of Wickenburg is at stake. Will we allow uncontrolled expansion to occur here or do we want to plan for a Wickenburg that we can, with pride, turn over to the next generation. We have a little gem in the desert here. We all have our own reasons why we moved here. I would venture to guess that most of us moved here to escape large cities and their associated problems. Let’s make sure Wickenburg doesn’t become more of the same.

Last 5 posts by Jim Ferman

1 comment to Upcoming Council Meeting Can Decide Wickenburg's Future

  • Tom Fucili

    Being born and raised in New Jersey, I am all too familiar with sprawl, and its ability to destroy peoples livelihood and way of life. The normal perception of NJ is the “Joisey” or “New Yaawk” stereotype. I grew up in what was a very rural county on the western edge of the state. Many of the kids I went to school with were farmers. Then, somewhat coincident with the completion of I-78 which made the New York area commutable, cataclysmic changes began which have forever erased our quaint life “in the sticks” as the interlopers like to say.

    Now,as I look to up-root my family to once again enjoy that lifestyle, I find Wickenburg peering over the same precipice. Don’t throw away your, dare I say “our” town, for the benefit of a greedy few. Once opened, the flood gates can NEVER be closed again.
    Respectfully,
    The Fucili Family