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Sedona Council May Disregard Community Plan to Allow High Density Zoning

Sedona AZ (October 19, 2017) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

From: Jean Jenks
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:36 AM
To: smoriarty@SedonaAZ.gov; John Martinez; JCurrivan@sedonaaz.gov; tlamkin@SedonaAZ.gov; jthompson@SedonaAZ.gov; jvernier@SedonaAZ.gov; sjablow@SedonaAZ.gov
Subject: The Multifamily High Density Major Plan Amendment allowing more than 12 DU/AC and the law

 

Hello Mayor Moriarty and City Council:

City of Sedona Council Chamber

I realize this Community Plan Major Amendment on zoning is a text amendment only.

Stated in the City of Sedona Publicity Pamphlet that voters received prior to the March 11, 2014 election: “Future property zone changes must be consistent with the Community Plan.” The COMMUNITY PLAN Introduction stated: “Although the Plan is not a rezoning ordinance, zoning regulations must be consistent and conform to the Plan, and zoning is a key tool in its implementation.” The August 23, 2017 Red Rock News stated the Community Plan “serves as a guideline for new development and rezoning projects.” 

As part of the Plan, voters voted for multifamily median and high density zoning of from 4 to 12 dwelling units per acre. Since there is no Multifamily High Density designation allowing for more than 12 dwelling units per acre in the Plan, conformity as well as lack of consistency are both issues that challenge the proposed rezoning’s legality. And how can a rezoning tool for more than 12 dwelling units per acre be an unknown when zoning is a key tool in the Plan’s implementation? As I see it this definitely contravenes and thus invalidates the Major Plan Text Amendment.

Please note that the Community Plan is a guide, nothing more. Here are the official results for the 2014 Community Plan election I received from the City Clerk:  6,495 Registered Voters; 2,484 Total Votes cast; 1,530 “YES;” 954 “NO.” Ergo, only 23.6 percent of the Registered Voters voted “YES.”

Had voters known of the density increase beyond 12 dwelling units per acre–perhaps 20 or more–I do not believe they would have approved the Plan. So much for the Plan being a guideline.

* * * * * *

I question the legitimacy of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation for approval of the text amendment. I spoke during the P & Z  Public Hearing on September 19, 2017, quoting the above Publicity Pamphlet language and providing the Community Plan election stats. I said: “The Major Plan Amendment was not only illegal, but it is unrealistic and unsafe.” (My point of view.)

Sometime after the Public Hearing was closed, Chair Losoff said to Mike Raber:  “There was a concern this may be illegal. Do you want to address that?”

Red Rock views of Sedona Arizona will fall victim to high rise apartments and other multifamily housing units and increased traffic if the high density zoning change to the Community Plan being entertained by city council to house tourists and its service workers is implemented, says an informal survey of Sedona city voters.

Although I had stated:The Publicity Pamphlet the electorate received for the March 11, 2014 Community Plan Election states, and I quote: ‘Future property zone changes must be consistent with the Community Plan. There is no Multifamily High Density designation allowing for more than 12 dwelling units per acre in the Plan’ “, amazingly Mike Raber said “I’m not aware of what the person was talking about”….”I’m not aware of what he was specifically referring to.”

As is well known, Mike Raber is not an attorney but a high-powered City planner.

The City Attorney was silently sitting at one of the tables in front of the P & Z dais. I was dumbfounded and pissed. Several minutes later another P & Z Commissioner stated: “I would be in favor of a cap….I think the citizens–a good percentage of them–are very concerned about changing from 12 units per acre which they voted for to a higher limit, so I would be in favor of capping it at 20.”

During the break, former Vice Mayor Mark DiNunzio, in attendance at the Public Hearing, came to my seat. I don’t remember his exact words, but in effect Mark stated his opinion that P & Z had disregarded the facts.

Sincerely,

Jean Jenks
Sedona AZ

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19 Comments

  1. Eddie Maddock says:

    Thank you, Jean, for an excellent review. Would you happen to know the source(s) that brought this proposed density increase to the forefront? For example, is it a result of the current Citizens Engagement Committees where unnamed people work quietly behind the scenes to uproot the foundation upon which incorporation was intended to function – namely to preserve open space, largely by utilization of low profile, sparse density development? Lack of transparency seems to be sorely lacking since the abandonment of legitimate “Commissions” whereby names were named and meetings were made public. Sad turn of events.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Transparency, about time. Sedona as place to go is quickly becoming garbage. Certainty is mine. Another canyon fire, another head on car crash with deaths, more crime, more drugs. Let’s be honest that Sedona is slippery sloping.

  3. Norma says:

    Great Article!!! Thank you Jean.

  4. Tony T says:

    Jean, thank you for all your good work.

    Another example of the Mayor and city council working for developers and business instead of the residents. Sedona was incorporated to limit development and preserve the small town we loved.

    If enough people wake up, we can take our town back.

  5. Jim Nicholson says:

    Disgusting.

  6. It's Official says:

    Council just voted approval (6 to 1 – Currivan in opposition – requested a citizen survey but was ignored.) 14 speakers in favor – none spoke in opposition. Last minute sign-up was Steve Segner who finished his spiel with a future prediction for Sedona to have high-rises to accommodate the masses. No guarantee of what affordable means. Amendment is to expand city-wide according to Currivan’s interpretation. So sad – Too bad.

  7. Lisa, west Sedona says:

    Wait a sec, you telling me that they voted YES without the survey???

  8. @Sedona City Council says:

    @Sedona City Council YOU BARF!!!
    So what 15- 20 minutes drive????? whacko I drove an hour in california to get to my upscale home form work………really stupid

  9. Stacked Deck says:

    City Staff and City Council are up to their old tricks. Stacking the city council meeting with people whining for affordable housing. Same old cast of characters.
    While watching it I heard one person thanking them for asking them to speak.
    With the property taxes increasing faster than the cost of living, getting cheaper or lower income rentals will be impossible.
    Next they go back and ask them to pay for their rent! Driving 10-20 minutes to work is NORMAL people. All the takers show up. Why not let them move into your dwellings Council?

  10. steve Segner says:

    Stacked Deck says:
    with people whining for affordable housing. Same old cast of characters.

    So Stacked Deck the city government should just read rants with no names in the Sedona Eye for information?

    We all noticed no one came to object last night ,

    Wait a sec, you telling me that they voted YES without the survey???

    Well the survey the city just did no one on the EyE liked? And the city government is the city council ,The council works on input from the community, If you had taken the time and come to meeting you could have given them you thoughts….. We all did !
    Eddie Maddock says:
    Citizens Engagement Committees where unnamed people work quietly behind the scenes to uproot the foundation upon which i
    Eddie just call the city they will give all the names….

  11. @Stacked Deck says:

    I’m sorry but if you were so against having some of our postal workers, police officers, food store workers, accountants etc. living in the city limits why did you not show your face at the meeting and voice your concerns? It was an open meeting what kept you away?

  12. Alarmed says:

    How long will affordable housing remain affordable (if doable) and will Sedona’s low paid workforce have sufficient income to pay the rent?

    Scott Jablow made the Motion to approve the Resolution amending the Community Plan and Jon Thompson seconded it – infrastructure problems be damned.

    No CAP on density was set. Tom Lamkin said he would be willing to set the CAP at 350 units per acre, but he could go with 50. Mayor Moriarty was not in favor of a CAP on zoning.

    Vote these jokes out of office next year if they apply for reelection.

  13. @@Stacked Deck says:

    We do have many workers that live in Sedona. Some want more for less and go outside the city to get more. Their choice. 10 minute drive to work from outside the city limits isn’t the issue. BUT gifting the regional chamber 3 million dollars a year to clog 179 is. The unintended consequences of your so called marketing has reduced the liveability in the region. VOC has always housed many workers also. Now the flow to voc is a traffic jam.
    You are blind. You and your attitude have destroyed Sedona. Visitors don’t like your Sedona and won’t return. Your a drive through one stop show. All the special interest groups line up under the direction of staff. Gang rule – BS business lobbying for their own benefits. No one FORCED the businesses to go into business here, they were WELL aware that what they dealing with and rode that horse. Lobbyist – opportunists – takers – greedy BS are they ones that are benefiting.
    You fooled the public with your fake community plan. By the way you treat residents you have created that many auxiliary dwellings and extra rooms to rent have become vacation rentals. Before they housed workers. Karma awaits you. fake community with a fake community plan. Disincorporate you don’t deserve to be a city.

  14. F.Y.I. says:

    Word has it that Steve Segner is behind bringing this density increase to the forefront. No cap on the zoning when there’s not only a problem with bumper to bumper traffic but also with disposal of excess effluent at the WWTP is egregious. The 45-unit low cost apartment complex the Council approved on Wednesday at 89A/Pinon Dr wants more sewer rights than permitted under the adopted Sewer Master Plan (Ref: RRN, Oct. 25, 2017) and has only 1 parking space per apt.

    I agree with Eddie that Citizen Engagement is a sad turn of events. According to the rumor mill Karen picks who the participants are. For sure City Hall, doesn’t disclose when and where the meetings are, take input, and provide minutes.

  15. Lennie K. Uptown Sedona says:

    The nerve of this city council is way over the top. A friend tipped me off about that recent council meeting and because I didn’t believe what I was told took time to watch that portion. As if it wasn’t bad enough they all voted to support the wording change in the community plan to include higher density development, that they ADDED to include the east side of Sedona down SR179 should be considered way way beyond their authority. For them to openly display that overstepping of arrogance of power should be unacceptable. Where’s the city attorney on these overwhelming decisions being made that in the future can greatly impact the value of our properties? Councilman Currivan was the ONLY one who suggested it might be a good idea to find out how the residents felt about this change. No such luck!

    And if Nepenthe & Fairfield and a few others hadn’t breached their contracts with the city we would probably have substantial workforce housing. This new policy of having city council micro-control us is too much. And adding insult to injury was when that Pilgrimage Site promoter JT wanted for the council to take a further step at a future meeting to give them even more authority to push through high density by watering down the current process.

    Does anyone remember back to the time when Dennis Wells (I think was his name) served as Coconino County Supervisor and represented those of us in Sedona? Well there was a grassroots effort working through Wells to examine the process to extract (cede?) the Coconino County portion of Sedona from the incorporated area. Wells for some reason didn’t fulfill his entire term so the process was dropped. However maybe through our current Supervisor Matt Ryan, we might again look into this matter and be removed from the strangulation and control presently being put upon us by city authority. Anyone else agree?

  16. N. Baer says:

    Intentional or not, this place is becoming a nighmare.

  17. In Business Uptown says:

    In business but for how long? Didn’t really know where to post this comment – any of several articles would work because they all lead to the same direction: Socialism.

    ID-ing myself obviously would be suicide, and demise of my career in Sedona is already on the horizon what with the .5% increase in sales tax. What people don’t realize is we pay that tax on our rental leases. With low end business leases at 4-5,000 monthly and people complain about “affordable” workforce housing? Tax another half percent onto $4,000/$5,000 for a business location? R U nuts? Others have sent editorials which have appeared elsewhere. We are on the road to ruin. Seriously.

    The one comment here that caught my eye is the one about Coconino County withdrawing from city of Sedona jurisdiction. Oh how they would hate to lose all that commercial tax (hotels – Poco, LaBerge, Amara, Los Abrigados – to mention a few – bed & sales tax say bye bye to Sedona as Coco County says “welcome and bless you.”) Plus, maybe we could have the County Sheriff re-established as a substation at the uptown fire station? Better yet – it would put the unofficial City Visitors Center manned, promoted, and profits reaped by the chamber of commerce out of business – at least in that location. Ha – move the boundary and the city would have to go elsewhere.

    Question: how do we make it happen?

  18. N. Baer says:

    Reply To “In Business Uptown,” We convince more residents to participate in our local government, especially those with vision and ethics, and we vote for people who represent all of us and not just carpetbaggers, IMO.

  19. Here We Go Again says:

    So based on 12 or so speakers at a council meeting its headlined the public supports high density housing. Really? And who were those speakers anyway? None were speaking for me but of course I’m not a member of the chamber of commerce. Yep – J. Wesselhoff CEO of the questionably not-for-profit regional special interest group spoke on behalf of those members – all ???? how many ???? 800-1000? Check the list, folks, and count the number not even living within Sedona city limits and yet they have say-so to impact the zoning in OUR subdivisions? What’s wrong with this picture? oh yes – other speakers were also representative of Verde Valley interests, too. so Sedona remains big brother to expansive surroundings. Word is out – they are chumps to sad stories and love punishing those of us living here because, as they tell, we don’t pay our fair share!!!! REALLY????? and just how much would that amount to anyhow??? Enough is never enough for those cash hogs.

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