By Tommy Acosta
Sedona, Az –There is an old saying that holds especially true in this day and age that “The Devil is in the details.”
On page 96 of the City council agenda packet for it’s Tuesday June 27 meeting there is a detail that warrants a bit of scrutiny for those whose lives and livelihood could be affected by the planned city ordinance to ban off road vehicles from the city’s streets.
It may be something. It may be nothing. But let us take a look at this detail just for the heck of it.
First what makes the detail intriguing is that it appears to be a proclamation, however, on the June 27 agenda it’s stated that there are no proclamations to consider, yet, a proclamation is indeed included in the agenda packet.
According to the packet, the city would like to apply for the Safe Streets for All (“SS4A”) Grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation. This grant emphasizes the need to establish safe streets to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.
According to the packet, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) has appropriated $5 billion in funds over 5 years, 2022-2026.
Staff notes that this proclamation, as noted in the image below, will support future Actions Plans. SS4A required an eligible Action Plan to be in place before applying to implement projects and strategies.
The title to this proclamation is Zero Traffic Deaths Goal – June 27, 2023.
Ok. Now here is where things get dicey.
In the stated intention of the noted goal does it create wiggle room for banning the OHVs under the auspices that the ban would help achieve zero traffic deaths?
Let’s dig a little deeper into this.
In the first WHEREAS of the proclamation, it is noted that over a four-year period, 2017 to 2021, Sedona experienced 710 vehicle accidents with five fatalities.
No distinction is made between regular vehicular crashes or those involving OHVs. There appears to be no records of OHV accidents on city streets.
The proclamation clearly states the city’s intention to make its streets safer through an “ambitious long-term goal of reaching zero roadway fatalities by 2028.”
How ambitious exactly is the city in achieving this goal? Will it use this proclamation, as worded, as a gateway to the ban?
And why was the proclamation item removed from the city’s June 27 meeting agenda yet left in the packet?
Did the city remove the item from the agenda so as not to stir up the hornet’s nest of off-road vehicle businesses and enthusiasts girding themselves for the inevitable legal battle over the ban?
Did the city do this so it could sneak in the proclamation under everyone’s nose?
Or maybe it’s just a benign oversight by city staff mixing things up? Maybe it was removed from the agenda for one reason or another and staff forgot to take it out of the packet?
The question remains — will the city consider this proclamation or not at its June 27 meeting?
Nothing like a bit of political intrigue to spice up our day.