Sedona AZ (June 25, 2015) – Fifteen months ago, we the voters, passed a new community plan which envisions a thoughtfully managed evolution of our town in the next decade. The plan sets out lofty visions and objectives as to what we will become.
These past fifteen months have coincidently seen the return of economic growth to Sedona that has restored our economy to a level of activity that many say surpasses the peak that had been achieved in 2005 and 2006.
Physical signs of that recovery include the very evident traffic increases on highway 89A in West Sedona; the backups of traffic on highway 179; and the congestion in Uptown. Financial proof of the pudding is contained in the growth of our sales tax collections, which are now at all-time highs. New business expansion and investments are increasing.
A new restaurant is about to open, a new hotel is under construction, a new drug store is approved and a major expansion of a food market is underway, to name a few. All are in West Sedona. More projects are on the drawing boards that may be implemented in the not too distant future. CFA (Community Focus Areas) are being studied for future development. There is a lot going on.
Another potential business boosting activity is a movement to designate the surrounding Sedona area as a federal National Monument. Well intentioned, the Monument designation is proposed to protect our public lands from private development. If successful, it will likely attract more national and international focus on the natural beauty of Sedona, which could significantly add to visitor interest.
After a four-year period of little or no economic growth, we now see the face of our city beginning to change. It is likely to continue to change dramatically over the next 10 years. As a consequence, so might our style of living.
Calling your attention to these issues is the purpose of my writing today. What will we become as the result of this impending boom of economic activity? How will we manage the growth? The changes? The answers are in our hands. All of our hands.
I believe that our community plan intends that all of us, your elected servants, your City staff and YOU, our engaged citizens, are called upon to participate. Thats what a community does!
On the first page of our community plan (the Community Plan Summary), we the people, make a commitment. We state in our vision of Sedona that…..
Sedona is a community that nurtures connections between people, encourages healthy and active lifestyles, and supports a diverse and prosperous economy, with priority given to the protection of the environment.
We state that our plans inclusive goal is sustainability, which we define as:
Sustainability…. is not just about reducing our impact on the environment, but is equally about maintaining and enhancing the connections and ties that bind individuals and form Sedonas community fabric. Sustainability in the Sedona of today and tomorrow will lead to policies and actions by government and citizens that enhance our natural and built environments, create a diversified economy, improve individual and collective quality of life, and create an educated, equitable and prosperous community.
Please read, reread and take to heart the last sentence. I believe it states that we are charged and intended to actively create our community. We are not intended to be couch potatoes passively following rules and ending up with a city that is something other than what we envisioned.
This is heart and soul stuff. Its impact is not limited to material Sedona. We must engage, influence and give creative life to material Sedona. If we dont, Sedona could become an artless collection of mercantile buildings, not the expression of our zest for life.
If you agree, please become more involved. Enter the discussion. Step up. Freely share your talent, your passion, your good will, your voice and your time to the ongoing process of planning and implementing programs and projects that are true to our goal of sustaining Sedona as a truly a special place and space to live in and visit. The process may be messy at times, but the accomplishments will be well worth the effort.
Make no mistake. Growth is upon us. Change is upon us. Please help us create something truly special. Our community needs us now. To reach us, click on the Citizen Engagement icon on the Citys homepage at www.SedonaAZ.gov. Ask us how you might help. No involvement is too small. All are important. Together we can. Together we will.
These words and thoughts are mine alone and are not intended to represent either the city council or city staff.
Well spoken, Mark.
Wasn’t the “four-year period of little of no economic growth” a blessing for our already densely developed, traffic congested city?
Just what are the facts surrounding the May 2014 Community Plan Update election and all that is now going on, including CFA’s with the potential for rezoning/upzoning?
1. Out of 6,495 registered voters, only 2,485 ballots were cast–YES 1,530 and NO 954. 1,530 YES votes means only 23.6% of the 6,495 registered voters approved the CFA’s and more over-development for Sedona. Less than 1/4 of the electorate voted to approve the City staff’s umpteenth attempt to increase density and strip development.
2. The growth in the City’s sales tax collections since pre-recession peaks is little more than a product of higher prices and inflation increases. Pertinent U.S. inflation rates: 3.4% in 2005; 2.5% in 2006; 4.1% in 2007; 0.1% in 2008; 2.7% in 2009;1.5% in 2010; 3.0% in 2011; 1.7% in 2012; 1.5% in 2013; and 0.8% in 2014. In 2005 and 2006 a can of Hormel Chili and Beans cost 99 cents at Bashas’. Today it costs $1.99.
3. Citizen Engagement is very controlled–no public meetings or information sessions, with transparency sorely lacking. Basically, it’s a legal way to get around Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. According to the news in the recent 2014 COMMUNITY CONNECTION, “Since the programs’ inception [1-1/2 years ago], over 200 people have registered for the program…” Doesn’t some 200 people out of a population of a little over 10,000 indicate this program is for the purpose of saying “citizens are involved?”
4. The City has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. Forget about fixing our terrible streets and drainage problems in a timely manner, some if ever.
5. People are being deceived into supporting positions that are wrong in my opinion.
P.S. This submission is to get the above included in the “Recent Comments” listing on the Front Page. Thank you.