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Eddie Maddock: Feasible and Sustainable Sedona Matters

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock looks at Sedona’s year ahead in the light of its problematic past.

Sedona AZWelcome to Sedona Arizona 2019.

Has our Golden Goose been cooked?

Is there anyone visiting Sedona or living here for that matter, let’s say since Thanksgiving 2018, who isn’’t convinced there is a huge traffic problem? As the situation grows worse on a daily basis ongoing studies have been procured from professional consultants – most of whom are costly and ineffective – if for no other reason than they have yet to result in actually addressing the problem.

The root of the matter is never appropriately acknowledged by the culprits behind the continual onslaught to chop Sedona, the aforementioned Golden Goose, into teeny tiny pieces. Translated: Sedona was discovered a long time ago and is no longer in need of being promoted. Even efforts for alleged “destination tourists” haven’t been proven to be effective. Quite possibly the introduction of short term rentals via private property owners and Airbnb are contributing factors to this problematic situation which should have been addressed with serious intent to at least some degree a long time ago.

Instead Sedona planners forge ahead with one idea after another clearly without looking at or anticipating suggested plans might be seriously flawed. While the term “sustainability” has become a common catchword, the word “feasibility” all too often is overlooked prior to initiating “perceived” solutions.

View of Sedona – exclusive SedonaEye.com photo

For example; inflated foot traffic in the narrow ADOT corridor of SR179 in front of Tlaquepaque was ignored at the time approval was given to Tlaquepaque North across that very busy section of a State Highway. After the fact, the result has been a disaster. So what to do?

Number one suggestion on the drawing board seems to be a concept for some sort of a pedestrian overpass. Voila! Problem solved. Wait, –not so fast. Has any consideration been given to the fact that said overpass must span SR 179, a state route? Just how high must a cute little footbridge be in order to clear traffic such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers for which state routes are designed? Maybe an indication might be more clearly imagined if one were to think about overpasses on I-17.

Another potential solution to mitigate traffic congestion, created essentially due to lack of foresight, is the extension of Forest Road uptown to connect with West 89A someplace next to the Post Office location. This concept appears to be a wonderful idea on the surface, but has the depth of this proposal been extensively considered?

Now that becomes extremely interesting when viewing the terrain in actuality, as well as on maps.

View of Sedona – exclusive SedonaEye.com photo

The two photos offered here were taken December 30, 2018, on SR89A across from the vacant land just west of the Post Office, a portion of which has posted a “For Sale” sign. Clearly it is rugged and anticipating any portion being used as a connector from Forest Road uptown to SR89A becomes somewhat unclear. It appropriately should be noted the open space beyond the Hyatt and custom-built homes at the end of Forest Road is comparable terrain – –hilly, rocky, and steep.

From the Post Office hill to Mariposa Restaurant is rocky, but relatively level with or below SR89A. Not to be overlooked is a portion of that land belongs to the U.S. Forest Service. It isn’t difficult to observe – with a quick glance to the left when driving east on 89A towards uptown – prior to the Brewer and “Y” roundabouts.

As previously mentioned, there are several upscale homes at the end of Forest Road, clearly sustaining their value because they are constructed on “view” lots. The city has gone on record admitting that to extend this proposed road would necessitate condemning some of those houses. However, what they haven’t addressed is the steep, rocky terrain. Even a non-engineer might question the complex construction required for a connector road in this location which should realistically be seriously addressed prior to pursuing this alleged “short cut” from Point A (Forest Road) to Point B (West 89A).

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

There are a multitude of unanswered questions pertaining to acquisition of land and related expenses, over and above feasibility for extending Forest Road to connect down and across extremely rocky, unlevel open terrain. Shouldn’t we insist on accurate and transparent accountability prior to, during, and at completion of this endeavor should it come to pass? And, more specifically, what will be the source of funding?

Likewise, shouldn’t more extensive consideration apply to accommodating additional traffic which surely will become further problematic at the Schnebly Hill roundabout if aggressive approval for multi-housing and additional shops comes to fruition as proposed in order to justify the designation of another Community Focus Area?

Another suggestion for constructing an additional bridge from Schnebly Hill Road to the northern portion of uptown to connect to 89A onward to Oak Creek Canyon will, in all probability, require trespassing on USFS property. Has any consideration been given to that by city planners if plans are pursued to extend Schnebly Hill Road as an alternate route to I-17… also USFS land.

A final question: Which should come first –feasibility or sustainability?

The answer will emerge from the inner sanctum of City Hall.

Word for the day:

FEASIBLE
[fee-zuh-buh l]
Adjective
1. Capable of being done, effected, or accomplished: a feasible plan
2. probable; likely: a feasible theory
3. suitable: a road feasible for travel

 

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259 Comments

  1. Alarmed says:

    More manure from steve Segner. People move–many selling out to new owners who go with airbnb rentals–because City sales taxes are too high, City sewer fees are too high, and traffic has become a nightmare since City Hall began squandering millions annually on the regional Chamber of Commerce. Now 50% are drive-throughs without stopping according to the transportation study of January 2018.

    BTW, the City takes in tons of revenue annually not from tourists. For several examples:

    Millions in fees paid by Sedona residents on the sewer;
    Sewer Capacity Fees of over 1/2 million $$$$;
    In Lieu Revenues of over $640,000;
    Franchise Fees of over 3/4 million $$$$;
    State Urban Revenue Sharing Revenues of over 1-1/4 million $$$$;
    Shared Vehicle License Tax Revenues of over $600,000;
    Shared Highway User Revenues of over $900,000;
    Other Intergovernmental Revenues of almost $2 million;
    License & Permits Revenues of over $350,000;
    Fines & Forfeitures of over 1/4 million $$$$;
    Development Impact Fees of approximately $200,000;
    Other Miscellaneous revenues of approximately 3/4 million $$$$.
    “Grants and Donations” of ???

    The City’s most recent MONTHLY FINANCIAL REPORT is for February 2019. It states: “Decreases for the month were incurred in the Restaurants & Bar (-4%) and Hotel/Motel (-7%) categories….Bed tax revenues decreased by 21% for the month…While the average daily hotel rate was up slightly (1%), the hotel occupancy rate was down (13%)”.

    At 34%, the “Sales Tax Revenues by Category” was highest for Retail.

  2. steve Segner says:

    Wise Willie says:THEIR path instead of welcoming residents even though they have other ideas?

    Willie I am on the housing group, and we are looking at housing solutions. It is not a forum for debate on housing we are looking for ideas to house more low and moderate income people. We turn the information over to the city staff and city council.
    I am also on the HPC. Historic preservation and once Again all the members are working for the same thing saving the history of Sedona and looking at homes over 50 years old we are not looking for people that are not interested in Sedona history.

    The budget group have a background in finance and know what questions to ask…. The groups just gather information and makes recommendations to the council.
    Remember we are a city manager form of government, the city manager runs the city under the direction of the city council , the council sets the goals and the budges but the manager runs the day to data operations ,Hope that helps
    As for the one comment that I am not a resident of Sedona , well I have been voting in Sedona for 20 years and according the State of Arizona AG, I get to pick my residency…… If you disagree turn me into the state ( others have )

  3. Which segner says:

    Which segner, makes you wonder huh? The old bald guy? The segner on city staff (my bet for the May 11 5:03 comment). Or is the segner that is paid by the chamber. They all have different writing styles and levels of writing ability. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know who truly is writing under the segner alias at any given time?

  4. Marilyn T. says:

    @Which segner. What difference does it make? One or a variety he’s the mouthpiece and out there making a spectacle of himself both in writing and publicly in meetings. He’s out of control by being in control of all things relating to city government and apparently he’s endeared himself to those at City Hall. And that’s where it counts. If you didn’t vote for a change, then blame yourself.

  5. Ron says:

    In just a couple of weeks the road improvements(?) uptown will begin. And isn’t it amazing how all of a sudden there’s a plea from the big-shots at city hall (and, of course, the chamber of controversy) for residents to please support local businesses during their hour(s) of need! Really? Talk about gutsy!

    How about those in charge to take heed and support the residents, yes, those of us who live here – instead of catering to outside interests and throwing money at one particular undeserving alleged non-profit that continues to flaunt its influence about town! In a word – sickening.

    Hasn’t the kissing-up to and memorializing of that certain regional membership organization given new meaning to the “c” word? Can another word best describe what’s happened to once beautiful Sedona. Might SHAMEFUL be appropriate?

    Sink or swim little fish in an even smaller pond. May you reap the pathetic crop of what you so recklessly have sown. Most deeds, good and bad, eventually get what they deserve.

    Oh yes, and keep your eyes on the that brilliant addition to Forest Road. The one that extends over a cliff.

  6. Joyce McClain says:

    @Ron, I second your motion, “How about those in charge to take heed and support the residents, yes, those of us who live here – instead of catering to outside interests and throwing money at one particular undeserving alleged non-profit that continues to flaunt its influence about town! In a word – sickening.”

  7. Charley M. says:

    Following the antics at City Hall is sort of the same as watching a hamster in a treadmill. Round and round they go, in a hurry to get nowhere. Isn’t that the ongoing saga of Sedona’s traffic? And we really anticipate the re-do in uptown will change things? Now that’s funny.

    All things considered and in a nutshell maybe Sedona can best be described in comparison with watching fish in a fish tank – the big ones eating the little ones.

  8. Sedona Sam says:

    Let’s face it. Sedona cannot sustain the present traffic and to plan for even more high density in hotel/work force accommodations is just plain crazy! It’s true – hamsters in a treadmill except they have more common sense.

    Feasible and/or sustainability be damned. No more than idle rhetoric. Ooooohhhh NOW they’re talking about hiring yet another employee to monitor vacation rentals. (deleted by editor) Give that damn clerical job to a clerk whose underworked….shall I tell you a name? (deleted by editor)

    Oooooohhh brother round and round they go & where they end up, nobody knows. Hope it’s in a dumpster….. OOOOOhhhh WAIT – they moved the trash bins at Posse Grounds closer to city Parks & Rec office…….OOOOOOOhhh let it be a Sedona Sign please God…..

  9. Jess Wundrin says:

    Wonder if all hamsters have the opportunity to designate $2.6 million to a special interest group just because that’s what they request? Little wonder the unrest within this once nice place to live has turned into disaster. Being governed by special interests isn’t what Sedona was intended to be. Voters wake up. But then it’s probably already too late. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

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