Showing posts with label Guides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guides. Show all posts

What is a County Island in Phoenix?

Dec 26, 2018

Phoenix may be in the middle of the desert, but you may be surprised to learn that we DO have islands here! Not the kind with sand and a palm tree - I'm talking about county islands. In this post I am going to talk about county islands for those who are not familiar with them.

What is a county island?
If you have recently moved to Arizona from the East Coast or the Mid-Western United States or are thinking about moving here, the concept of a county island may be completely foreign of to you. Let's start with a definition: A county island is an area of unincorporated land which is completely surrounded by an incorporated city or town. That's right, even if you buy a home within the City of Phoenix and have a Phoenix address, you may be on county land and not technically part of Phoenix!

How do you find county islands?
In the example below, all I did was perform a search for "Phoenix, Arizona" on Google Maps. Google outlines the city boundaries, but you can see that there are some irregular shapes which are not part of Phoenix, even though they may be surrounded on all sides by Phoenix - hence the name, islands.

Example of County Islands in North Phoenix
Many other Phoenix-area cities including Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, and others have county islands as well. In the example below, you can see that the city of Chandler, AZ is full of them, particularly in the southern portion of the city. The actual boundaries of the city of Chandler are quite unusual!

Google Maps showing county islands within the city of Chandler, AZ

What are the pros and cons of living in a county island?
There are some pros and cons of living in a county island, which I will explore below.

I must preface this with the disclaimer that I am not a licensed realtor or a lawyer, and it is YOUR responsibility to look up local laws and ordinances in your area, as they will certainly vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Advantages of a living in a County Island
  • Residents of county islands generally do not have to pay residential property tax on their home, because property tax is levied by cities.
  • Federal, State and County laws still apply, but city laws may not apply. Therefore residents may be able to store and work on vehicles, own chickens, goats, horses, or other livestock not permitted by residential city codes or ordinances.
  • County Island residents are not governed by Home Owners Associations (HOAs). This is why you will often find horse properties, commercial vehicle storage, and other activities taking place within county islands which are typically not permitted within most cities and towns.
  • An example would be a person who stores a large motorhome, boat, or other recreational vehicle on their property. Within city limits, the homeowner is likely to get complaints from neighbors about the large vehicle parked on their property - which could result in a city code violation. A person living on county land will typically not have such restrictions, which are often part of a city's code or charter.
  • Another example would be the owner of a company. Perhaps it is a construction company, plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, or other home services company - or perhaps a commercial towing operator, etc. Within many cities, homeowners cannot store a fleet of commercial vehicles at their house. Within a county island however, this is often permitted.

Disadvantages of living in a County Island
  • Homes are typically not connected to city services such as water and sewer services. Residents may rely on a shared well and or septic system for their home. In some cases they may be served by a private water company.
  • Homes in county islands also do not receive solid waste collection services from the surrounding city. Residents must contract with a private company for residential trash collection and do not receive bulk trash pickup without an additional charge.
  • County Islands may or may not have paved streets, sidewalks and streetlights. If they do, they are not maintained or serviced by the city.
  • Calls for police assistance will be responded to by the County Sheriff, which may result in a longer response time than the local municipal police force.
  • Fire and Emergency/Medical services are not usually provided to residents in a County Island. In some cases there may be a special Fire District to provide services, or residents may subscribe to services from the surrounding city for an annual fee.
  • Residents of a county island are not eligible to vote in city elections, such as for the mayor. (They can still vote in county, state, and Federal elections).
Will a county island always be a safe haven?
Living in a county island may be appealing to some people who favor reduced government involvement in their lives. However, the status of a county island is not guaranteed. In some jurisdictions, a county island may be annexed by the surrounding city if 51% of the residents vote in favor of the annexation. While it is unlikely to happen, it has happened before and could happen again. However, this is unlikely since many of the residents of a county island are likely to live there by choice and may share a similar mindset and reasons for living in such an area.

Are county islands a good place to live?
Well, that depends on your perspective. Living in a county island may align with your personal beliefs about reduced government intervention in the lives of private citizens, or if you are a business owner, there may be some real financial incentives to living in an unincorporated area.

However, many county islands are lacking in basic city amenities such as water and trash service, sidewalks, streetlights, or even paved roads. Residents may not like having to pay private companies for trash collection or paying an annual fee to be receive coverage by emergency fire/medical services.

Now that you know about some of the advantages and disadvantages of county islands, you can decide for yourself if living in one is right for you. It is something to be cautious of if you are moving or relocating to the Phoenix area and are not familiar with the concept of County Islands. 

Private Airport/Airpark Homes in Phoenix

Aug 18, 2018

The dream of every private pilot is being able to walk out their front door and take to the skies. For a lucky few, that dream is a reality. There are a handful of residential communities in the greater Phoenix area with homes built on a private airstrip.

I am intrigued by these airpark neighborhoods where amateur pilots can park their personal aircraft in a hangar that is attached to their house. I find it very cool that you can choose to live in a neighborhood of people who share your same passion and lifestyle centered around aviation. 

Here is a quick rundown of the different communities I was able to find:

Sky Ranch at Carefree
Carefree, AZ 85377

16 homes
Home Values: $700k to $2.5 million
Designation: 18AZ 
Runway 6/24 (paved)

Hangar Haciendas Airpark

Laveen Village, AZ 85339
25 homes
Home Values: $400k to $800k

Designation AZ90
Runway 8/26 (paved)

Stellar Airpark

Chandler, AZ 85226
87 luxury homes
Home Values: $490k to $2.5 million and $1.5 to $8 million

Designation: P19
Runway 17/35 (paved) 

Pegasus Airpark

Queen Creek, AZ 85142
50 luxury homes
Home Values: $600k to $1.2 million

Designation: 5AZ3
Runway 8/26 (paved)

Thunder Ridge Airpark

Morristown, AZ 85342
9 homes
Home Values: $450k to $1.5 million
Designation: AZ28
Runway 17/35 (paved)

Best Mexican Food in Phoenix

May 4, 2014

One of the things people always ask me about Phoenix is: where do you find the best Mexican food? It's true, our close proximity to Mexico means we have a broad selection of restaurants serving up Mexican cuisine - much more than you would find in say, the Midwest or the Northeast.

However, not all restaurants are created equal. As with any other type of ethnic food, the experience depends on a lot of factors. To find the best Mexican food, you need to first determine what kind of meal you want.

Things To Do in Phoenix at Night

Jun 21, 2013

I'm guessing that you are reading this because you are looking for things to do in Phoenix at night. Well, there are better things to do than to spend your night on the couch. Get out and do something! Here are some ideas to get you started:

24 Hour Restaurants

  • Dennys / IHOP / Waffle House
  • Country Boys Restaurants
  • Filibertos/Armandos/Juliobertos
  • Subway Restaurant (Grand Ave and Thomas Rd)
  • Philadelphia Sandwich Company (Old Town Scottsdale)

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Phoenix

Jun 12, 2013

Blink EV charger in Phoenix, AZ
At long last, the age of the electric car is upon us. It is becoming more and more common to see pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and others humming around town.

The most commonly found type of electric vehicle charger in Phoenix is the Blink network, which uses the industry-standard J1772 connector. These pedestal chargers are classified as Level 2 ("L2") chargers because they have a 240-volt AC output.

Top 15 Hipster Hangouts in Phoenix

May 10, 2013

It's hard to ignore the hipster craze that has taken America by storm. It seems like everywhere these days, more and more people are wearing scarves, drinking fair-trade coffee, and riding fixed-gear bicycles. This is the age of the hipster!

It may surprise you to learn that the hipster phenomenon is not contained only in major cities like Williamsburg or San Francisco. In fact, Phoenix has quite a selection of businesses where you're likely to find some hip young people hanging out. I have compiled a list of what I feel are the top 15 hipster hangouts in Phoenix. Let's count them down:

15). Fez on Central

105 W. Portland St., Phoenix, AZ 85003
Need a bite to eat? Stop by this hipster restaurant on Central Avenue, within walking distance of the Light Rail. They are open late and feature a selection of gourmet menu items to satisfy your inner foodie.

14). Harkins Valley Art Theater509 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
Located on Mill Ave within walking distance of Arizona State University, this one-screen cinema shows a variety of independent, special and limited-run movies. Nearby attractions include a Vespa dealership and numerous smoke shops and bars.

Geologic Hazards: What Arizona Home Buyers Need to Know

Dec 20, 2009

According to a recent article on CNN Money, the city of Phoenix has the 3rd highest rate of home foreclosures in the country. The abundance of cheap property is attracting a lot of first-time and investment home buyers. There are a lot of important things to consider when buying a home, but few people ever stop and consider the probability of geologic hazards.

Guide to Geologic Hazards in ArizonaNo, I'm not kidding you. While it is true that Arizona is a remarkably safe place to live, that does not mean it is without risk. In fact, the geography and climate of Arizona make it an ideal location for a few very unique types of hazards. Fortunately, the Arizona Geological Survey has published a FREE handbook to alert home buyers of the potential geologic hazards that are common to Arizona.

The Home Buyer's Guide to Geologic Hazards in Arizona is a must-read for home buyers anywhere in Arizona. It alerts buyers to potential dangers such as flooding, soil problems, subsidence cracks, Radon gas, abandoned mines, karst, and earth fissures.

The guide is available as a free download from the Arizona Geological Survey website. Each chapter is split up into Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files for easy viewing and printing.

Summer Hiking Tips for Phoenix

Jun 14, 2009

Hiking is one of the most popular year round activities in Phoenix. Like any outdoor activity, it's much easier to have fun when you are well prepared. If you plan on doing any hiking this summer, please keep these tips in mind:

» Check the forecast before you go. If there's a storm warning or heat advisory, it is best to wait until conditions improve.

» Tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you expect to be back. Hike with a friend if possible.

» Bring LOTS of water. A half gallon or full gallon jug is recommended.

» Wear sunscreen. It's the best defense against skin cancer, sunburns, and other dermal discomforts.

The Ultimate Guide to Recycling in Phoenix, Arizona

Mar 16, 2009

With temperatures at a perfect 80 degrees and Spring Break in full swing, many North Phoenix residents are getting started on their spring cleaning projects.

Phoenix, Arizona Recycling GuideFor many, cleaning out the garage, attic, or storage shed is a yearly ritual best performed during the nicest time of year. Other home improvement projects such as remodeling also take place during the Spring.

We at the North Phoenix Blog encourage our readers to be as efficient as possible when cleaning out their houses of unnecessary clutter. Recycle, reduce, and reuse your old items whenever possible.

What To Do In Phoenix

Sep 25, 2008

It seems like the biggest complaint about Phoenix from both residents and visitors alike is that "there's nothing to do in Phoenix." This is a common misconception among transplants and locals, and it's time to put it to rest. You might think at first there's nothing to do here, but there is actually a lot going on in our big desert playground. You just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

A recent article in the Arizona Republic called "50 Ways To Love The Valley" offers a wealth of ideas for when there's nothing else to do. From nightlife to dining to sporting events, it's a well-rounded list and a great way to get started exploring what Phoenix has to offer.

Drive Safe During Storm Season

Sep 3, 2008

Whether you're a Phoenix transplant or a lifetime resident, you've probably heard of our famous Monsoon storms. Monsoon is a word which means "change in wind" or change in direction. In casual conversation the word refers to the short, violent storms that descend on Phoenix during July and August.

Monsoon storms typically have strong winds, blowing dust, and fast-moving clouds that dispense hard, driving rain. These are extremely dangerous weather conditions for drivers! If you get caught in a monsoon storm while driving around, just remember these simple tips to stay safe.


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