Sedona AZ (February 20, 2017) – Moving right along to formulate plans for the Schnebly Community Focus Area, the second of two special draft council meetings occurred on February 15, 2017, to review and expand plans set forth at the initial meeting held January 25.
Community Development Director Audree Juhlin briefly reviewed the nature and reason for the Community Focus Areas, as set forth by voter ratification of the revised Community Plan on March 11, 2014.
Addressing a question from Councilman John Currivan about the urgency of moving these CFAs along so quickly, Schnebly being scheduled after already approving Western Gateway and Soldier Pass CFAs, Ms. Juhlin again emphasized the connection to the updated Community Plan, further explaining that a total of 13 such areas have been identified as Citizen Focus Areas.
Unlike the others, Schnebly CFA, is primarily residential and the intent is to preserve the creek side area as a prominent and yet protected feature of the community. Based on what has been proposed, it will require a zone change for mixed use, as was defined at the first meeting on January 25th.
Those proposed permitted mixed-uses are:
· Lodging (limited to no more than half the acreage)
· Campground/RV Parks
· Agricultural (gardens, nurseries, vineyards)
· Parks & Recreation (discretionary creek access)
· Commercial (restaurants, markets, galleries)
· Single family residential
· Multi-family residential
· Accessory uses.
Councilman Currivan suggested having the current transportation study incorporated into this project to project future traffic impacts. However, that request essentially was denied to expand any further than the presently suggested analysis.
Cynthia Lovely, Senior Planner, Department of Community Development, expanded the proposals with a detailed slide presentation of key issues.
Protection of Oak Creek and its riparian habitat by maintaining floodway in natural state with only minor improvements such as trails, parks, and temporary structures were among the recommendations.
Permanent protection of the Oak Creek corridor is strongly recommended with consideration of property owners to establish conservation easements and/or donate or allow land to be acquired by public or non-profit organizations.
Drainage flowing into Oak Creek should be retained, unaltered.
Preserving and protecting open space along Schnebly Hill Road in addition to limiting visible development on hillsides are to be considered in addition to flexibility of on-site design standards to enable preservation of floodway, open space, and hillside setbacks.
Building style, use of native plants, screening, style of streets, and parking will be compatible to blending in with residential neighborhoods.
Historic preservation will remain high priority. An effort will be extended to reduce dependency on single occupancy vehicles and encourage trails to enable complete walking and bicycle connectivity.
Create access to Oak Creek is back on the drawing board with consideration of a creek walk as part of the pedestrian network, as well as potential for a footbridge over Oak Creek.
Implementation of a zone change will also be a requirement for establishment of an Oak Creek Heritage District.
Again, this updated planning is a result of a ballot measure to ratify the updated Community Plan, presented to Sedona registered voters on March 11, 2014. Of the 2,422 responding ballots (representing a turnout of 37.3%) 1,423 voted yes and 923 voted no. So, 62% of a voter turnout of a mere 37.3% made this monumental decision.
Likewise, later that same year on August 27, 2014, Sedona voters approved Proposition 429, Home Rule (Alternative Expenditure Limitation). That resulted in total votes of 3,976 of which 2,665 approved Home Rule and 1,311 opposed. Conclusion: 66% of those voting supported unrestricted expenditure limitation, but still only 3,976 voters out of incorporated Sedona’s population of approximately 10,000 voted.
If you are among those who did not vote, do not complain that decisions presently being implemented are the result of less than half the residents living here.