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Council Priorities Will Cause Sedona Quality of Life Issues

Sedona AZ (October 13, 2015) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

From: jeanjenks@live.com
To: smoriarty@sedonaaz.gov; mdinunzio@sedonaaz.gov; jmartinez@sedonaaz.gov; alefevre@sedonaaz.gov; jthompson@sedonaaz.gov; sjablow@sedonaaz.gov; jclifton@sedonaaz.gov

Subject: Ranking of Council Priorities, Agenda Item 8.c., 10/13/15
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2015 11:19:35 -0700

Hello Mayor Moriarty, Councilors and City Manager Clifton,

I read that the Transportation Master Plan is listed as the current #1 Council priority. So will the study area include the entirety of Sedona, I wonder?

cars car road rallyWhile it’s not unusual to have traffic quagmires in and approaching the City, still more vehicle-congesting lodging projects are in the works. A Transportation Master Plan will not keep residents, tourists and workers out of harms way should a wildfire rage through Sedona, or Oak Creek flash-flood beyond the pale. Hot, dry weather has fueled wildfires across much of the drought-stricken west this year, and no doubt Arizona is not that far off. A string of clogged vehicles that cannot move could get trapped during a wildfire, subjecting people to a life-threatening situation. Whatever happened to protecting people’s health and safety and focusing on making Sedona a safe place?

Sedona, as opposed to most cities, has but two highways in and out of town as we know. Both State Routes 89A and 179 are already overwhelmed on weekends and heavily congested on weekdays during much of the year. It is not unusual for weekend traffic to be backed up to Slide Rock State Park on 89A and south past Bell Rock on 179.

Sedona roads are designed for slow scenic views and sharing the road drives and maintenance caused by rushing waters, shifting ground, and mountainous terrain contribute to transportation issues.

Sedona roadways and highways are designed for slow scenic views and “sharing the road” courtesies by cars, trucks, cyclists, hikers and recreational vehicles. Road maintenance caused by flood waters, shifting ground, and mountainous terrain contribute to local transportation issues.

Current congestion-clogging projects that will add to traffic gridlock, either under construction or approved, are: (1) the Marriott Courtyard with 121 lodging units, (2) an additional 32 lodging units at the Sedona Rouge and (3) 40 additional units and a Conference Center at Sky Ranch Lodge. If this isn’t enough, the Chamber of Commerce efforts are bringing into the City ever increasing numbers of day-trippers, as well as by-passers headed for Oak Creek Canyon and beyond, who also contribute significantly to the clogging of 89A and 179. Unfortunately, a potential alternate route in and out of the City, given the terrain, would be costly and comes under County or ADOT jurisdiction.

I urge the City to address current zoning as it relates to traffic, not push forward with the Western Gateway CFA (#4), the Schnebly Hill CFA (#15) and the Soldiers Pass CFA, all listed as Council Priorities. Constructing more lodging in the Western Gateway area where the Marriott is going in is supported by City planning, while the “Community Focus Area Plan for the Soldiers Pass Road CFA” specifies “Potential for a continuous strip of lodgings on 89A.” And the Schnebly Hill CFA area already contains a roundabout that is gridlocked for many hours during weekends, less during weekdays.

list what is the plan note boardIncreasing density and/or attracting more tourists to worsen traffic nightmares via these CFA’s is unjustified and not in the City’s best interest. In addition to not compounding the City’s existing traffic problems, over-commercialization, safety issues, unmaintained streets, drainage problems and declining livability are ongoing travesties that need to be rectified at the present time.

By the way, walkability and shuttles won’t likely achieve much. In general, people are addicted to their cars and do not want to walk or take public transportation. There weren’t hardly any riders when the City had the Roadrunner serving the tourist area FREE several years ago.

sun (6)And as to City residents, according to the 2014 CAFR, their median age increased from 50.5 in 2009 to 56.1 in 2014. I doubt that many would want to walk in our hilly City and/or wait in the sun for a shuttle, subjecting themselves to heat stroke during the hot months of May through October.

Hmm, school enrollment plummeted from 1,509 in 2009 to 968 in 2014. Why doesn’t Sedona City Hall analyze and determine how come its policies are driving families to live elsewhere, thus causing the median age for the elderly here to increase?

Jean Jenks
Sedona, AZ

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!


  1. PR says:

    Thanks Jean. Words to learn by.

  2. FYI says:

    FYI, the corpse of the National Monument scam isn’t even cold yet and already at the end of the council meeting 10/13 both the Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Lodging Council were given accolades. Jon Thompson even suggested increasing funding to the C of C for product development.

    It’s pretty amazing that at least Mayor Moriarty acknowledged city limits when addressing the “fact” that KSB overstepped their boundaries by expecting the city to approve a National Monument designation that geographically reached so far out of their jurisdiction. Why is it they can’t grasp they are allowing the “regional” Chamber to do the same thing only worse. City tax revenue is financing the promotion of businesses outside city limits that do not contribute to the city tax base by collecting city sales and bed taxes.

    Go figure.

  3. steve Segner says:

    FYI says:
    “Both the Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Lodging Council were given accolades. Jon Thompson even suggested increasing funding to the C of C for product development.”

    Jon Thompson goes to meeting, he gets the facts and he understands what the chamber does.
    The city markets “Sedona”, and 15+ people over see the planning.
    The chamber has members (paying) all over the valley and the visitors to Sedona go all over the valley during their visits, but Sedona get the “Majority” of the bed tax and the and sales tax… and remember the guest from hotel like Enchantment and the Hilton come to Sedona to shop and eat and no city money goes to them for marketing.
    Seems like a Good deal.

  4. FYI Question says:

    And just who are the “15+ people” that oversee the planning, S. Segner? Are they on the city payroll? Are they on the Chamber of Commerce payroll? The Lodging Council payroll?

    If the Chamber and Lodging Council get enough from their membership dues to fund that kind of staff, then why do they need money from the City of Sedona? But if, in fact, it’s city staff overseeing the planning then why in the world wouldn’t the city have their own marketing department in addition to a legitimate Sedona Visitor Center such as Flagstaff – completely unrelated to the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce?

    The money that’s being shifted, and very questionably, from the city tax base without a smidgen of legitimate accountability to the C of C continues to fail the smell test and the city continues to overlook it.

    What valid proof do you have that lodging outside City Limits, such as Enchantment and Hilton, provide via their guests a substantial tax offering to incorporated Sedona? Does it even come close to what they would be contributing if they paid city sales and bed taxes? And the fact remains, as members of the C of C, both establishments do, indeed, benefit from city financed marketing. End of report.

    We all know, Mr. Segner, you selectively financed the council members elected last year, including the current mayor. When the ad agency sub-contracted by the C of C, paid with city funds, contributed $1000 to Moriarty’s campaign fund, some of us still wonder if there are other skeletons in the closet. Maybe by Halloween they will make their debut?

    The biggest question of all: Why does the City Council and City Administration continue to shame the confines of incorporated Sedona with this disgusting scenario.

    Now that the State has allegedly opened an investigation of Sedona City Council and their busy-body solicitation from Keep Sedona Beautiful to recommend the failed attempt for a National Monument designation, maybe there’s enough negative publicity out there about Sedona for the State to justify digging even deeper into the mysterious relationship with this “regional” Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council affinity group?

  5. Now We Know says:

    So if the Chamber & Lodging Council stacked the deck with the seven calling the shots at council meetings, then there’s definitely no hope for change since they all have “due-bills” to Jennifer, the C of C, and Steve Segner’s Lodging Council members (even though that does not include ALL Sedona inn-keepers) for having approved the .5% bed tax increase. And just how much is that costing the city?

    If they were to take all that money being given to the Chamber and then not renew the insane contract with Red Earth Theater for the Teen Center (another whopping $60k for the city to PAY OUT) they could afford their own and honorable marketing and visitor’s center and be legitimate. For the city to say they can’t afford it isn’t a valid excuse if they are footing the bill for all those additional employees at the C of C, or even using city staff time for that matter.

    In addition, what would be so wrong to use the Teen Center for a legitimate Sedona Visitors Center? Of course the answer to that is because council was elected to keep it with the chiseling Lodging Council and regional Chamber of Commerce no matter what.

    And then what’s all the fuss and ado about Keeping Sedona Beautiful? What a sick joke. Pathetic.

  6. Just Sayin' says:

    @ Now you know

    You know what?????? That your posting makes no sense, that’s what!

    Are you kidding me, the Teen Center as a visitors Center?? Just how would a visitor know to drive all the way up to Posse Grounds to get info?

    What does the Teen Center have to do with anything “Chamber”????

  7. @just saying

    “Now you know”. Is a person like most on this site….they hate everything government are full of consripacy theorists and think Sedona city government is out to get them…..

    That’s all…..that’s what the T party people do….

  8. Now We Know says:

    @Just Sayin’ – DUH – The Teen Center is OWNED by the City and presently they opted to spend $60,000 for the Red Earth Theater to use it for a “play house.”

    What’s the deal? Sounds like you might be benefiting from that extravagant give-away? It’s Red Earth Theater in with the Chamber – NOT the “Teen Center.” DUH AGAIN!

    And was not the Posse Grounds, location of the Teen Center, designated as one of the Community Focus Centers in the revised Community Plan? What better place for an “official” Sedona Visitors Center?

    And didn’t the Wine Festival and Oktober Fest just have their annual events at the Posse Grounds this year because of the new City policy to allow beer and wine at special events on city owned property? And just how in the world did all those people attending those two events managed to find what is actually the “Heart of Sedona” considering the magnificent view.

    Get a grip, Just Sayin’. Seems like when the truth comes out it hits a sore spot. How do you benefit from Red Earth Theater which is the only reason you could be so defensive.

    And you didn’t bother to address just who is footing the bill for the 15+ people overseeing (allegedly) how city taxes are being spent by the C of C, info courtesy S. Segner.

    City should be proud to boast their OWN official Visitors Center, operated transparently without questions. Let the Chamber do their own thing.

    Any more questions?

  9. Just Sayin' says:

    @Now we know

    OMG, how thick can one person be?????

    If your theory makes sense, please show me one city in the entire country that has a visitors off of a main road or highway???

  10. @West sedona resident,

    I swear to God…you really are trying to compete with Steve Segner for the most unintelligible sentences is a single post. Are you a victim of public education or did you evade such victim-hood like Segner?

  11. Donna Varney says:

    Thank you Jean for submitting letter to Sedona Eye! You bring up great points.

    I appreciate you speaking up and always enjoy reading what you write. Your contributions help me understand more. The health, safety and welfare are at risk.

    Most of us that live here, moved here for the small town, resort town environment. Safety is important factor. There are certain times when driving down 89A is impossible.

    Thank you Jean!


  12. Now We Know says:

    @Just Sayin’ – Brilliant observation if what you write is correct. What better reason for Sedona to have an “official” Visitors Center off the beaten track if no other city in the entire country has thought of it!

    After all, City of Sedona IS unique. Look at the location of City Hall. Definitely not on the main drag.

    And, BTW, what good is the “official” C of C Visitors Center uptown when people can’t even find a place to park in order to go “visit” it? But what do you care? You’re probably one of the 15+ keeping them honest. Now THAT’S a joke, Just Sayin’.” (I think)

  13. Say What? says:

    What city has everything on two roads? @Just Sayin” NONE!!!!!!!! Really stupid to not use what you have for the betterment of the community.

  14. Robert O says:

    Hay J Rick just thnk about it maybe WSedona Resident knows something that you have yet to realize:

    “Now you know”. Is a person like most on this site….they hate everything government are full of consripacy theorists and think Sedona city government is out to get them…..

    While it wasn’t directed to you in this case, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU.

  15. @JRN

    Oh Rick you seem to think you have “a Beautiful Mind”. You seem to be in love with it and yourself…

    BTW….if you did more “working out” at the gym as opposed to holding people hostage with your T party retoric You might not be so overblown..
    Just an observation for you to asimulate through that beautiful mind of yours..

  16. steve Segner says:

    FYI Question says: (Donna)
    “And just who are the “15+ people” that oversee the planning, S. Segner? Are they on the city payroll? Are they on the Chamber of Commerce payroll? The Lodging Council payroll?”

    FYI Question says:
    The money that’s being shifted, and very questionably, from the city tax base without a smidgen of legitimate accountability to the C of C

    Why is it that every response has to have some person our group as a villain?
    15+ people give there free time and with no pay to help in the marketing.

    Product Development Committee,
    Wendy Lippman, Warren Campbell, Trista MacVittie , Susan Dorety, Chevalier, Linda Goldenstein -FS Rowe , Lisa Dahl ,Greg Hanss Bill Lacy, Alexandria Wright Bill Jump Al Comello, steve Segner, Mark DiNunzio. Jon Thompson, and one person from the chamber Michelle Conway.
    Donna, /FYI. This is more then a smidgen of oversight

    I take the time to answer questions so readers understand that “slander “is not the way to make a point, facts are.


  17. Angie D. says:

    Not only is City Hall on a side street but it’s backside faces the highway!

    @Robert O – Are you one and the same that ran for council? And are you now saying you agree with West Sedona Resident and enjoy big government and wasteful spending? If so, I’m surprised and regret having voted for you but if you support WSR I’m surprised you didn’t get elected because that’s the control and mentality of the liberal seven: tax and spend.

    And I find your insult to J. Rick very rude and unwarranted but knowing your true position understand the reason.

  18. FYI says:

    @steve segner, thank you for providing the list of names. However, as I understand it these are simply volunteers that throw in their two cents worth as to what their “opinions” are about product development. My original comment really had nothing to do with the aspect of “product development” unless J. Thompson continues to extract more city revenue for that cause.

    Are you saying, steve segner, that staff time isn’t used to determine how all that city money is being spent by the C of C?

    And BTW, I am NOT someone named “Donna” and resent the accusation and that is a FACT!!

  19. Donna Varney says:

    I didn’t say a word to you @steve Segner. Not my question. I know you can’t stop thinking about me. Take your drama elsewhere. WOW I guess this proves you really have a crush on me. I guess I should be flattered, I’m NOT! Go dream about someone else. Really steve get a life.

  20. Steve segner says:

    I use the name Donna for anyone that makes false statements over an overt

  21. E. Maddock says:

    Congratulations J. Rick Normand for the questionable honor of having your name added to the “slam list” of West Sedona Resident(s) and other unidentified cohorts who go crazy nuts when people express opinions differing from their own. At least we have enough self confidence to use our real names.

  22. There was a time during the controversial purchase of the present City Hall that city owned property not far from professional businesses on Soldier Pass Road would have been an alternate choice. Of course property owners objected so the decision was made on the extremely high-maintenance decision we are stuck with.

    A running account of money spent to keep that facility functioning since the city purchased it (for how many millions?) might be another interesting exercise in City of Sedona Economics 101. (Getting rid of mold alone isn’t cheap!)

  23. @E. Maddock,

    I know who West Sedona Resident is. She wears ‘sixties tinsel in her hair at certain regularly scheduled public events and often sets Guinness Book of World Records standards for blathering on about her point of view which none of her captive audience can fathom. But, envy is her Achilles Heal. Her time will come.

  24. Judy Stein says:

    @Eddie I wouldn’t congratulate one of the biggest and most well known BULLIES in our town. Not something to be proud about in my book.

  25. Helen C. says:

    @J. Rick Normand

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who sees the xmas tree tinsel in Jessica’s hair. What a trip she is or maybe she is still tripping from the 60’s? Isn’t she the one who keeps telling us she only cares what city staff says as they are the only professionals there? If she is right and us little people don’t matter to her as she doesn’t care about our wants then my question is who in hell voted her in? Must have been city staff? I keep hearing she was fired from her position as a city employee. Is this truth or just rumor?

    She sure isn’t professional and wish she could come down off her highly elevated leftist throne and somehow find it in her to show some bit of respect for anyone other than her self anointed envious and angry self.

    She rants against tea party people only because that’s her easy out to explain that people could actually disagree with her. And I think you are right that she is West Sedona Resident. What a joke she is.

  26. JeanJ says:

    @ James Harrington

    According to the City’s annual “Report[s] of Indebtedness Made to the Arizona Department of Revenue,” $4,555,000 is the original cost of the City Hall purchase.

    In case folks aren’t aware, the Council’s 9/13/2015 Executive Session concerned the City instructing its representatives regarding negotiations for the purchase of 55 Sinagua Drive, the property adjacent to City Hall that consists of two parcels and a structure. The current owner is the Sedona Verde Valley Board of Realtors. And, hey, Council and Staff always have plenty of money to spend when they want to–health, welfare and safety matters be damned.

    As of 6/30/2015, $42,260,000 is the City’s total bonded indebtedness. Wastewater bond debt amounts to $31,930,301.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I looked up this Donna @Steve Segner

    On linkedin her profile shows:
    Donna Joy
    Sedona, Arizona Food Production
    500+ connections

    On Facebook her personal page:
    4,367 Friends & Followers 2,732

    Her professional business FB page:
    Sedona Sweet Arts 9,074 Likes Followers

    The numbers speak the truth. Well respected and extremely well liked. Impressive.

  28. Ok Morans

    West sedona resident is just that…..a west sedona resident… Not a city employee, not on any city boards or councils…. Just a retired person who resides in West Sedona…

    Got it Morans…
    More conscripacy theory’s from the tea party..
    Look out you all… The city of Sedona is out to get YA!!!
    Pathetic pariniods

  29. Alarmed says:

    The real imbecile? West sedona resident. For sure I don’t believe he or she is “Not a City employee.” And no, it’s not that “the City of Sedona is out to get YA!!” It’s more like CRONYISM RULES, as evidenced by the City’s incestuous relationship with the Chamber, Lodging Council and other panhandlers who go bananas for taxpayer handouts year after year.

  30. @West sedona resident,

    It’s “Moron,” you moron. Not to mention, it’s “conspiracy theories” you’re trying to reference, you ignoramus. OMG, You have just proved yourself to be even more illiterate than Segner…once again! Even the least educated redneck in the tea party is smarter than you! And, you say you’re “just a retired person.” From where? County jail?

  31. Jack M says:

    Really great @J. Rick Normand. Thank you!

  32. JeanJ says:


    The rug was pulled out from under the 18 Council-ranked Priorities in order to embrace extensive untimely changes mid-stream. According to the City Manager, “…..staff intended to do a little more with this.” He added: (1) the ranked numbers presented do not represent the reprioritization from the Council’s Sept 23rd meeting; (2) the priority list does not lend itself to a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ranking; (3) the 18 priorities listed/ranked only represent a subset of the Council’s broader priorities and more may be added; etc. As to the Transportation Master Plan, it lived on to remain ranked #1. However, the City Manager indicated the objectives, scope and financial plan need to be identified (a new prerequisite).

    This kind of chaos is going on at a time when Sedona is overbuilt, has more vehicles than roads can handle, and there are 13 Community Focus Areas being shoved up citizens wazoos.

  33. Keep at it. Think Berlin Wall.

  34. Just Sayin' says:

    @J Rick

    Wow, good response to W Sedona Resident. We all know that J Rick is the smartest guy in the room. If anyone is in doubt, just ask him and he’ll tell you.

  35. Ken says:

    Jean, 32 +42 or just 42 total?

  36. JeanJ says:

    Ken, 121 + 40 + 32 = 193 new lodging units either under construction or recently approved . According to the current Western Gateway Community Focus Area Plan, the ADT (average daily trip) per unit for lodgings is 8.2. This means there’s the potential for 1582.6 average daily trips (ADT’s) to emanate from West Sedona one day soon.

    The zoning changes needed to spawn these 1582.6 ADT’s?

    From Commercial (C-1) to Lodging (L) for the 121 new units under construction at the Marriott Courtyard..

    From Residential (RS-10a) to Lodging (L) for the 32 new units under construction at the Sedona Rouge.

    From Community Facility (CF) to Lodging (L) for the 40 additional units and Conference Center approved for Sky Ranch Lodge.

    As I wrote the City Council re the $250,000+ traffic study on today’s agenda, among other things, why not put an end to future rezonings to Lodging (L)?

  37. About the Village of Oak Creek—-who at city hall approved Tequa mermaid vomit on building? Blue “art” UGLEEEEEE & ruins the aesthetic of desert place. Guess Tlaquepaque will be spewing vomit on its new buildings as we were told Tequa & Tlaquepaque now owned by out of state (country?) (we were told Chinese) landlords. UGLEEEEEEEEE UGLEEEEEEEEE take down the UGLEEEEEE for sale signs now. Whose driving by going to be in the market for a commercial space????? Get a G-D REALTOR OR TAKE DOWN THE UGLEEEEEEEEEEEE SIGNS VOMITED ALL OVER THE PLACE——–what are the sign rules????

  38. Tequa is in Yavapai County not city. Scenic road rules should dictate no signage, but the death of Joan McClelland has let business owners she kept in check by making sure that the rules and regulations were adhered to faithfully, have capitalized on her demise. The number of signs have quadrupled in the past year on Scenic 179 within the VOC Special Taxing District. Too many signs equals too many distractions and for cyclists that costs lives. This should be on agendas of Big Park and Sedona Village Business but they are allowing the area to look rundown when they have the tools to clean up the signs, the buildings, the general scenic beauty threatened by inattention and lack of concern.

    Count the signs in front of Tequa; count the metal signs through the national forest; count the no U Turn signs between city and Village. Why no UTurns in a 35 mph area? If no UTurns, then remove the turning lanes and move the traffic from one roundabout to another. Poor road construction and signage. Fix it.

  39. Deb says:

    lots make turns why burn gas sitting in backups. we come back after traffic jams moved & no adding air pollution .

  40. Joy says:

    I don’t like political jokes. I’ve seen too many get elected.

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