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Eddie Maddock: To Rise or Not to Rise

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock tackles Sedona affordability.

Sedona AZAmong Sedona’s ongoing controversies and linked with lack of affordable housing, to rise or not to rise remains near the top of the list – if not THE number one hot topic.

While Sedona is special in many ways, a shortage of workforce housing to accommodate local employees is not unique. Frequent articles relating to the subject have appeared in the Arizona Republic, most recently “Phoenix Trades Incentives for Affordable Housing” (2/17/19) that outlines similar concerns as well as proposed remedies. Extending incentives to developers, such as a tax break to those willing to offer a percentage of their new apartment units at a reduced rate is, but one example.

Over the years Sedona has likewise attempted to acknowledge the need for more affordable housing as was the case with Nepenthe and other projects. Development Agreements also included stipulations requiring a certain number of lower cost units to be provided for employees. However, whether or not those contingencies were subsequently enforced remains questionable.

At any rate, fast-forward to today.

Presently under consideration is construction of a multi-unit housing complex to be located within the primarily industrial area between Sunset and Shelby Drives. The connecting road between those two city streets is neither owned by the city, nor is the property wastewater accessible. Sedona’s city code presently restricts building heights – thus construction of a three or even four story edifice also becomes problematic – therefore addressing the purpose of the theme of this report “To Rise or Not to Rise.”

During the recent process relating to a request for rezoning of the 700 acre parcel outside Sedona City Limits, El Rojo Grande, for the purpose of questionable high density development, the Sedona City Council along with Yavapai County Supervisors and the public in general took kindred positions to successfully oppose rezoning of that property for such an intrusive project. And, let us not forget about the somewhat vast acreage the City of Sedona still owns in conjunction with the Wastewater Treatment Plant for which, on more than one occasion, mixed-use and lower cost housing has been under discussion but never seriously pursued.

Yet now, at this time, with Sedona’s intense traffic congestion realistically without any viable solution, no matter how this Sunset and Shelby multi-unit housing proposal is viewed, no amount of spinning can and or will dispute that increased density will intensify traffic gridlock even more.

ADOT blasting of red rock mountain to make way for I-17 road widening.

It remains almost certain defense for a 3 or 4 story complex will be met with justification because of its more low profile location with the extensive setback from SR89 – perhaps a somewhat valid argument. However, it also poses questions: Would these same city council members have voted to approve existing establishments to exceed two or three or four stories such as Wyndham Sedona, Courtyard by Marriott, Sedona Springs Resort, Sedona Real Inn & Suites, and even our own City Hall for that matter? If that had occurred, views of Sedona’s red rock would have been forever obstructed as actually has already been the case even with the Basha’s center and other shopping centers. Only the few remaining who lived in Sedona back then would be able to attest to that. And, really, should it be ignored, if approved, this, with valid certainty, will set a precedent for future construction?

Wasn’t a primary reason, in fact, for Sedona to incorporate and become a city to avoid the increasingly dense development presently in progress?

Where will all the remaining red rocks go? To parking lots and highways and tourists going and gone.

Have demographics and attitudes of Sedona residents changed so drastically with the times – as is being evidenced by variances and development standards for the short supply of remaining privately owned property available?

Will Sedona, reputed as such a very special place, continue to be compromised and eroded to the status of “just another tourist trap?”

Judging from Sedona’s sluggish voting participation and subsequent results as evidenced by the outcome of the last Sedona City Election surely that must be the case.

Therefore – onward and upward – literally!

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226 Comments

  1. Craig says:

    There is a Builder God. Get Vito & Don & Jim & Brian & Mark & John &other builders on the phone. Chapel, Les Springs,Foothills & God bless my wallet every lot that’s vacant in city let’s build those highrises its okay now. BUILDERS hurry & get approvals.

  2. Jason says:

    WHO voted in favor of 4 or more stories?? What’s their names? I don’t care who voted against it but I would like to know who voted for it? Appreciate it.

  3. @Jason says:

    Names of those voting approval of 4 stories:

    Mayor Sandy Moriarty; Members of City Council: Janice Hudson, Scott Jablow, and Jessica Williamson

    Every name voting either for or against this ghastly height increase was a result of A MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST BY SEDONA CITY REGISTERED VOTERS!!

    Keep that in mind before casting stones . . . Please!

  4. Say What? says:

    So here’s the deal – four holier-than thou know-it-alls on the city council approve what THEY think is best (to hell with Sedona residents, traffic impact, or anything else).

    And four story buildings in an area that isn’t complete with sewer service, and a connector road between Sunset and Shelby Drive which isn’t owned by the city.

    Well, here’s a thought.

    Clearly this will be an expensive endeavor long before 4-story structures become more than just a vision of horror to some. It will take a ton of money to even make such wild ideas come even close to being reality, so how about dumping the stoopid contract with the chamber of commerce (most likely the questionable brains behind this insanity) and take those many millions of $$$$, put them towards the endless and expensive costs to be incurred to prepare this eat, drink, and be merry adventure – then get ready to build!

    By that time this city council and probably many others will be history and it’s just as likely the entirety of Sedona will have dropped into a giant sinkhole.

    Wishful thinking? Maybe. Maybe not.

  5. Citizens academy says:

    Citizens academy :

    Where the city staff holds a class to determine who is most likely to support or not support their agenda.

    Those who do not support the agenda have NO CHANCE of getting on a citizens committee.

    Those who do support the agenda, just listen like a good sheep and do what we say, we are the professionals.

    Don’t some call women who sell their favors professionals?

  6. @Citizens Academy says:

    Two type of people in Sedona.
    Those that enjoy life and are doers.. and those that constantly complain. We all know which one you are.

  7. Ronnie W says:

    Remember when? We had Keep Sedona Beautiful who organized in order to protect Sedona from falling into the black hole we are seeing evolve.

    KSB would have representation at city council meetings. Members joined forces to protect Sedona from ugly signs, colors, architect design and all things negative which detracted from our scenic beauty.

    Where are they now?

    Here’s where the are now. Allies with the chamber of commerce, the most intrusive, invasive detriment to ever hit Sedona. And KSB is marching right alongside them. Shameful!

    The founders of KSB must surely be turning over in their graves in disgrace at those betrayers who aren’t fighting with all their might to stop this one way road to ruin. And that’s exactly what it is. Four story buildings – way to go, Sedona. And that’s only the beginning of the new trend. Wait and see.

  8. Karma Speaks says:

    Arizona Republic – Saturday, April 13, 2019: EXPLORE AZ – feature article

    “SEDONA IN A DAY? – HERE’S HOW”

    Details to encourage even more daytrippers! OMG – Is this the result of the City of Sedona contract the Chamber of Commerce for DESTINATION MARKETING?

    What more is needed to conclusively prove the contract with these rip off artists is nothing more than a shell game? Or perhaps even fraud? This is the return on that frivolous investment?

    Yes indeed – Details about where to go for FREE and suggesting a couple of FAST FOOD places for handy food to take on your FREE hiking trail!!

    Karma isn’t just speaking. This time the red rocks of Sedona are painfully echoing back the message.

  9. Citizens academy says:

    I’m trying to wake people up, to the lies deception and greed that are ruining beautiful Sedona. You have no idea who I am or how much I have tried, not only posting on this site.

    Diversion and misinformation by those that say “just enjoy life”, in other words just go on with your day and ignore how much we are stealing from you today and in the future . I enjoy every day, but I try to add to a future when I am gone. The damage being done in Sedona will carry on long after those doing it are in the ground and forgotten.

  10. @cotizen academy says:

    No thanks not buying what your spewing.
    As I said some are doers and as in your case some are complainers and fault finders.

  11. @karma speaks says:

    yawn

  12. Karma again says:

    Do a Google search, there are tons of recommendations for Sedona day trips. Any advertising in Phoenix or even Arizona only attracts more day tripper traffic.

    The Sedona chamber is a GIANT FAIL !!

  13. @ Citizens academy says:

    And the damage you speak of is now accelerating and includes permanent structural damage such as (but not limited to) roads, zoning changes that increase density, and 4 story buildings.

  14. Spirit of Sedona says:

    Except for the controlling forces (Chamber; Lodging Council; Developers) the true Spirit of Sedona is dead. The truth in that is apparent unless there is enough interest and Sedona residents unite and get the required signatures for a ballot measure to reverse this decision made by four people – that’s right – votes from four people – will allow the onset of high-rise development here.

    Remember not too long ago when the city council made the deal to take control of W89 from ADOT? Sedona citizens did show their strength, unified as one, and the processes followed:

    INITIATIVE & REFERENDUM. There is also a third option: RECALL which once was also effectively applied in Sedona.

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/initiative-referendum-and-recall-overview.aspx

  15. Blake says:

    I can tell you what’s “risen” in our household, our blood pressure! Cause of illness? Pissed off about this damn city and (deleted by editor) chamber of commerce.

    Reading the one of the gratuitous columns in a recent edition of a local paper, the president of the special interest club aka Sedona chamber requests for resident support uptown during the road improvement ordeal. Surely she is having an infartuation?

    What resident of Sedona in their right mind would consider supporting uptown businesses under any circumstances? There once was a time we would entertain visiting guests with a tour. But those years are long gone. Our “visiting guests” wouldn’t come back to Sedona now even if we paid their way, they say expensive cheap food, expensive cheap art, expensive cheap jewelry, expensive cheap hotels, expensive time on road for cheap views. Get over yourself Chamber President and CEO. Isnt the grin in your picture as phony as you and your claims to do for Sedona?

  16. ben Rodgers says:

    Blake says: perhaps time for you to move why live in a town you hate …you did not seem to complain about the home prices and land values in Sedona. If you did not notice Sedona is a tourist town ways has been….. i

  17. Alice, west Sedona says:

    @Blake “Get over yourself Chamber President and CEO. Isnt the grin in your picture as phony as you and your claims to do for Sedona?” Wouldn’t you be grinning too if for far too many years you had city council members either in your back pocket or eating out of your hand . . . or???? Point being her whining poor me sales pitch works! How many millions of unaccounted $$$$ has been the return on her investment whatever that might have been, was, or is?

    And why would anyone in their right mind own a business in Sedona? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if once the highway undergoes widening (again.. it was the city that narrowed it after they boldly took ownership from ADOT) it wouldn’t be surprising if many of those business pulled up stake and moved on. And would you blame them?

    The real whiners on Sedona Eye are those with their “yawn” and ho hum responses. Poor souls – have nothing better to do with their time than harp about comments revealing the truth about Sedona today?? My vote goes to “Karma.”

  18. Terri says:

    Ben, that Sedona is a tourist town is a fake news mantra & get over yourself. Who buys that fake news about tourist town? City staff, city council, city businesses, city developers. Sedona is NOT a tourist town, never has been and never will be.

    Sedona IS a town of residents that accommodate tourists in any manner THE RESIDENTS see fit. NOT City staff, city council, city businesses, city developers. RECALL, REFERENDUM: NO TODAY TO TWO OR MORE. USE IT FOR THE RECALL MOTTO. BUY TEE SHIRTS. USE A PICTURE OF A FOUR STORY BUILDING HIDING OUR MESAS AND CANYONS AND OTHER VIEWS. You’re not ruining my view from my house. I live here. They don’t. Let them afford it or not. There’s an entire nation they can shop for a place that fits them.

    SEDONA RESIDENTS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE MAJOR LIFESTYLE CHANGE AND THAT IS DONE AT THE BALLOT BOX. SEDONA RESIDENTS SENT FORMER COUNCILORS PACKING AND TURNED AROUND THEIR POOR DECISIONS. IT WILL BE SO AGAIN. SIERRA CLUB, KSB GET OFF YOUR ASSES & DO YOUR JOB AS ADVOCATES FOR SEDONA OR FOLD UP & GO AWAY.

    SEDONA RESIDENTS SAY NO TODAY TO TWO OR MORE. FACEBOOK IT. SAY NO TODAY TO TWO OR MORE.

  19. Steve Segner says:

    Terri says: Ben, that Sedona is a tourist town is a fake news mantra & get over yourself
    So Terri, just what is a A resort town, often called a resort city or resort destination, is an urban area where tourism or vacationing is the primary component of the local culture and economy. … Generally, tourism is the main export in a resort town economy, with most residents of the area working in the tourism or resort industry.
    Just some facts, 10,000 people work in Tourism in Sedona 9000+ live in sedona and up to 20,000 people visit sedona a day on a weekends, and you say fake news …… Sedona is not a tourist town wow you watch to much Fox News oh and 70% of city income comes from Tourism not Fake news!
    Your comment You’re not ruining my view from my house. is just greedy you do not own the views, the roads 89a, or the city, Sedona belong to all of us residents and non residents visitors and workers.

  20. @Steve Segner says:

    Well guess what? The connecting road between Shelby and Sunset does NOT belong to the city or anybody else except those holding title to it.

    It’s privately owned.

    But one thing you @Steve Segner can hang your hat on is Keep Sedona Beautiful most likely won’t be lobbying against highrise developments. Adding insult to injury with their endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce holiday laser fright-lights into our wilderness area, haven’t they recently become allies with Chamber and City to promote sustainability? What a joke!

    Residents of Sedona, bring out those pens for signing petitions supporting ballot measures to put a stop to this nonsense. The same applies to recalls. That’s one thing tourists and other non-residents CANNOT control. Unlike some people not EVERYBODY has a Sedona business address they conveniently use in order to register to vote in Sedona elections.

  21. Lori Jones says:

    Whoever the person is responding to Steve Segner post.

    The city has nothing to worry about … you want to organize a petition and other things. That’s laughable. You don’t even post using your real name!!! Surely a “stand up girl” such as you to be truly effective wouldn’t hide thier identify..

    I guess you think your complaining her is sufficient . You should come out of the shadows and run for council .

  22. Tony Tonsich says:

    I agree with @ Lori Jones, probably a fake name also.

    When I was running for mayor many voiced support for my positions. When asked to knock on doors, I had myself and 3 others. Democrats of the Red Rocks mobilized and knocked on thousands of doors. The city manager spoke at every organization.

    Many did not even want to put up yard signs, because their neighbors might object. Many yard signs were stolen, I had almost 200 signs stolen.

    Change will take ACTION. From my very recent experience , very few were willing to act. The opposition acted, knocked on doors, stole yard signs, spread false information, they did what ever it takes to win.

    Guess what, they won. Complaining here might be better than nothing, but not much.

    They won, you and I lost. The fearful majority voted. I saw more personally more clearly than anyone, so I voted with my feet the second time and moved.

    If those in charge start building 4 story buildings, Sedona will never recover. Are you going to take action this time? Are you going to cancel and tell your few neighbors that are left to cancel their subscription to the Red Rock Fake News? Are you going to knock on doors? Are you going to tell businesses you patronize you will stop supporting them if they stay members of the chamber? Are you going to show up at city council meetings?

    Or are you going to lose again?

    I made my bet.

  23. Get Real says:

    Steve Segner is lying when he says “70% of city income comes from Tourism.”

    According to the City of Sedona Community Report 2018: “FY 2017 city revenues generated by sales & bed taxes . . . .57%, two-thirds of which is paid by visitors.” Two-thirds of 57% is 38%, not 70%.

  24. Meredith in Sedona says:

    @get real Thank you. It irritates us when city exaggerates the impact of tourism on the economy. As a shop owner I never see the numbers that the city says. Because I fear the chamber backlash I’m using my cousin’s name in Nebraska. I’m the jellyfish like others here. The place I’m fearless is the ballot box. I’m pro recall and pro referendum. I hate what’s been done to city in past 8 years. Sucks.

  25. Eddie Maddock says:

    Speaking of rising (to the occasion) this is an update on the progress of providing the ADOT video interview relating to the revision of SR179 back in year 2000. The Editor and Publisher of Sedona Eye reports as follows:

    “We are surrounded by five FIVE computers! Two rewriteable LG portables and a VHS tape and a DVD disk ! We’re trying !”

    In the meantime, guess what popped up? Right smack in the middle of another 6-hour video cassette is yet another interview (1-1/2 hrs.) with Don Dorman, ADOT Rep. for this area, dated 03/08/2000. Content of this one remains yet unknown but a calculated guess it’s more about the contentious redesign of SR179.

    For some reason today doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to drop this bomb on the SE Editor and Publisher.

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