Home » Featured » Eddie Maddock: Kurt Gehlbach, Do hundreds more vehicles in Uptown make sense for the city of Sedona?

Eddie Maddock: Kurt Gehlbach, Do hundreds more vehicles in Uptown make sense for the city of Sedona?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock provides a forum for Sedona mayoral candidate, Kurt Gehlbach, to provide his perspective on the March 2020 City Council decision to approve the purchase of 430 Forest Road (Uptown) for over its appraised value, and encumbering more than $11 million in new debt for city taxpayers if projected tourism parking meter income fails to service the debt.

Sedona AZ – Although earth as an orb continues its normal rotation, global inhabitants have been thrown into an alien orbit which is NOT in outer space. The seriousness of the deadly coronavirus is reality in the truest form. Isn’t it somewhat stunning to become shell-shocked and forced to face the fact that mere mortals really don’t have a great deal of control?

However and in spite of the turmoil, it is an election year and survivors of the pandemic will have the privilege of casting votes in Sedona for candidates vying for Sedona Mayor and rotating seats on the Sedona City Council.

The two mayoral contenders remain Mayor Sandy Moriarty, opting for yet another term, and a new name on the slate, Kurt Gehlbach.

Because the coronavirus conflict quite likely will obstruct the opportunity for city council candidate forums prior to the primary vote in August, Mr. Gehlbach contacted me inquiring about the possibility for Sedona Eye to feature some information about him. Therefore, this resulting article has been derived solely from e-mail communication obliging the mandate for no private meetings, consultations, or even phone calls.

Mr. Gehlbach opted to focus on his own perspective relating to the city council’s recent approval at the council meeting on March 24, 2020:

  • AB 2570 Approval of a Resolution authorizing a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement for the City of Sedona to purchase the property located at 430 Forest Road (APN 401-160-71) located in Coconino County, City of Sedona, Arizona, for the sum of $480,000 for use as a parking structure.

Due to recent global events creating such an upheaval and uncertain economic predictions, Kurt Gehlbach maintains this premise:

Sedona AZ uptown tourist traffic. The city plans to build parking garages for 500 additional vehicles in Uptown to encourage shopping. [Photo courtesy The Arizona Republic]

“The responsibility of Elected Officials is to the Residents of Sedona, and because of the uncertainty of serious implications with regards to the spread of the coronavirus predicted by the World Health Organization, it is the obligation of our Government to revisit with the residents with regards to any decisions made prior to the onset of Sedona’s devastating shutdowns.”

He continues: “With regards to real estate, I personally have 24 years as a licensed residential Real Estate Agent and Developer, always successful through every negotiation. Why? Experience, research, knowledge and always emotionally prepared to negotiate.

Considering all circumstances I would never move forward with the purchase of any property during an election year and certainly not when we know there’s the possibility for another financial recession.

When moving forward within favorable conditions I first request a current appraisal to be accomplished by the property owner. While waiting for the appraisal, I personally research all comparative properties in order to compare to the appraisal. When the appraisal comes in, I scrutinize the hell out of it making sure everything is accurate and up to date. When negotiations begin, I never offer appraised value, starting the negotiation below appraisal, especially when it’s a cash transaction.”

Questioning the wisdom of the city having paid $100,000 OVER appraised value at the recommendation of the city manager, Mr. Gehlbach stated:The people of Sedona have now been ripped off through pure ignorance!”

His conclusion is the city of Sedona has now set a precedent for any FUTURE land acquisitions to be overvalued, questioning the premise of “property is only worth what the Buyer is willing to pay.” Is that true when the investment was overpriced to begin with?

Regarding future Uptown parking, here’s what Kurt Gehlbach has to say:

A recent ADOT traffic study found the majority of Sedona tourist traffic backs up miles just to drive through the Sedona city limits without stopping before continuing along SR 89A to reach their northern destinations.

“$11.5 million to place 300 automobiles in the center of uptown, and that’s one of two parking structures, totaling roughly an additional 500 automobiles in Uptown Sedona. Add another $500,000 or more for the “ledge work” they will find digging down at least 2 floors or 30 feet (??)”

Kurt continues: “Not long ago our Mayor, Sandy Moriarty, was headstrong to be part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, designed to cut emissions, basically decreasing Sedona’s carbon footprint within the next three years. Does this make sense to anyone?”

Regarding Sedona residents, Kurt Gehlbach relates:

“Prior to lockdown, I spent days and many hours walking door to door throughout our city gathering 200 signatures myself while sharing in conversation.

The emotions are all over the place, and many of our residents are very angry. I’m truly, truly worried about the future of Sedona so I believe the conversation needs to be about Sedona herself and our residents, to include their mixed levels of anger toward this government. We, as a city, must now come together to create change through a government that will listen, respond, inform, create and prosper with and for the Residents of Sedona. How about grasping the opportunity for such a collaboration giving new life and hope for Sedona’s survival?”

End of input from city of Sedona mayoral candidate Kurt Gehlbach. Read, study, ask questions and by all means plan to vote in August. Life in Sedona continues and be grateful each and every day for what we have and consider by way of your own judgment what will be the best way to preserve and protect this special corner of the world.

Over and Out. Cheers. Be Safe. Stay Well.

339 Comments

  1. Richard Saunders says:

    @an observation
    Don’t profit from anything Sedona …just live here. Unlike you with you constant Air bib rental Selfishly disturbing my neighborhood!!

    Too funny if anybody disagrees with you or the nonsense posted here on Sedona Eye of course they must work for the city or profit in someway from the city

    I have to say like me I just tired of your nonsense and like to keep it real ..
    By the way Aren’t you to same person who post constantly that masks don’t work!!

  2. J. Cohen, Prescott Valley AZ says:

    Justice Ginsberg’s death yesterday from cancer is sad as she served her ideals well. Maybe now we can discuss her voting record with intellect rather than emotion and recognize all of our Supreme Court Justices serve our nation well whether we agree or disagree with each decision. Appreciate our democracy, revel in its freedoms and liberties. Justice Ginsberg was against riots and rioting and rioters and gave her life to the rule of law and its established American order, let’s honor her legacy because she honored ours.

  3. Former elected Verde official says:

    Been following comments and here’s mine.

    Village of Oakcreek and Big Park gives thumbs up http://www.Sedonaeye.com for showing the disdain the Sedona city power elite has for us out here. Those Sedona politicians want control of the Verde because it gives our local economies and local decisions ineffective and moot because they want us to tote their garbage and accept their supremacy. No Sedona you don’t get to tread on us.

    Verde doesn’t want or need your tourism goals. Stop manipulating the Verde to make you the hub of anything. We have more to offer than you do Sedona and now it’s better for us because you’ve ruined red rock country. Say no to Sedona influence and manipulations and Chamber machinations. Tell Sedona to stay within her city limits and leave us alone, we will sustainably flourish and you Sedona will continue your commercial and quality of life decline. Your greed and arrogance is finally biting you in the ass.

    Half joking I like the idea of turning off road access through the Verde. Maybe ADOT can do a five year plan of road repaving every weekend and detour traffic by never letting any car exit I17 from Sunset overlook until Rt 40 and no access to 89a except locals. Sweet realism.

    Cities die and grow. Sedona has no reason to expand. The rocks aren’t growing and are being diminished and no one wants or needs more cars and busses to see rocks that can’t be seen because of hotels and commercial strips obstructing access and views.

    What short term gain is made to a few well heeled businesses pales when extrapolated across the residents ultimately responsible for the impact.

    It’s not worth one dime of sales or property taxes to kill the golden goose. Ask NY state and city which is so poorly run by Cuomo and DeBlasio that they are losing their tax base daily and 40% of their businesses will not return as owners flee or become tax supported residents.

    Your Sedona 30 are flights from high tax states and you want to send them packing from Sedona? We’ll welcome them.

  4. Sedona Eye Fan says:

    What a hoot! It’s a good thing comments here don’t go through the regular printing process. If that were the case Richard Saunders wouldn’t even give ink time to dry before grinding out snarky responses. So predictable it’s boring but keeps people on their toes making bets about how long it will take for the “Eye” watchers (& haters) to bite.

    Way to go, Observation! Your bait didn’t even have time to hit the water.

    Also enjoy remarks from Former elected Verde official. We can only hope our respective county supervisors might take a page out of your book and ignore pleas for financial aid (our property taxes) from the pathetic control-freaks in Sedona.

  5. @former official says:

    You better hope that NY doesn’t lose thier tax base cause unlike AZ they actually contribute more to the us government then they get back. So on a sense they support your low taxes in AZ. So us AZ residents are all “takers” since we (unlike NY) can’t sustain our low taxes without the US governments help.. so keep crying about your “hard earned “ tax dollars . Talk to a east coast taxpayer who keeps our state(AZ) afloat so you can continue Your complaining. Maybe it’s time AZ paid thier “fair share”. Instead of always having thier tin cup out..

  6. Don, Sedona says:

    New York’s Alexander Hamilton played a central role among our nation’s Founders, as the Broadway musical bearing his name reminds us. One of the questions Hamilton analyzed as he sought to build support for a stronger central government was the potential for inequality among the States in paying federal taxes. Well over two centuries later, that issue continues to find resolve with more populated states aiding an equality distribution to less populated states.

    Arizona has 1/3 of its lands in federal hands and reservations. Are we to be penalized because New Yorkers vacation in Phoenix and Sedona and the Southwest to escape their overpopulated state?

    You must be advocating for travel bans? We can handle AZ but we can’t handle the demands out on our infrastructure by invaders.

    Personally I believe in a head capitalization process that mandates growth infrastructures be in place prior to any permits for construction which includes water, electricity, medical, education, and food. According to scientists, that is the best for our population’s health and well-being.

  7. Carl says:

    Anybody else tired of the RBG moniker from Hollywood and the press? In six months people will read those articles and go who the f is that?? Use names and dates and have some sort of journalistic standard. Your publisher once wrote me back and said “Today has enough trouble standing the test of time tomorrow.”

    Ahead of her time.

  8. Miriam Bass says:

    With Democrats fighting hard to win control of the narrowly divided Senate, confirmation votes could also add pressure to incumbent Republican senators in competitive election races, including Arizona’s Martha McSally.

    Isn’t it ironic that one of the few truly great lifetime achievers like Martha McSally might lose to a man? Every woman should vote for her. Be proud of her no matter your party. She’s the best candidate.

  9. steve segner says:

    Miriam Bass says:Democrats fighting hard to win control of the narrowly divided Senate, yes we
    and we will also control the house
    and the presidency The republican party is history and Trump will go to jail in New York 2021 will be a very good year .

  10. Remi says:

    Steve you disappoint when reading that reply to Bass. You missed the best but then you played into the stereotype of a man and a Democrat. You are why the Democrats moved to the far left and joined the communists. You need to be led because you’re incapable of leading.

  11. Tom Gallatin says:

    Joe Biden, with the eager help of the Leftmedia, would attempt to hang every COVID-19 death on President Donald Trump, no matter how well he handled the situation. True to form, Biden hit Trump again, ridiculously asserting last week, “If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive.” Doubling down, Biden added, “All the people — I’m not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data.” That blatantly false claim was too far out there for even The Washington Post to defend. Even while first hitting Trump and kid-gloving Biden for his “over-exuberance,” the Post’s “fact-checker” concluded, “Actually, Biden is making this up.”

  12. Hey Tom says:

    I will keep it simple….Had the inept president declared a national emergency and did what his drs suggested, we would be better off…..Why didnt he intact the national defense authorization act? No he waited months yet knew how bad it was going to be! And did little way to late.

    Instead I remember like it was yesterday, that our national emergency was before the 2016 elections a bunch of Christians from the south were invading the country…So he is more worried about a fake emergency, and ignore a real emergency!

    Now we have 200,000 DEAD AMERICANS….You and his enablers are the problem

    All these years I thought we were the UNITED STATES of AMERICA….I was wrong

  13. Jeff, Cottonwood says:

    @heytom
    Now you’re smarter than the Washington Post fact checkers, the newspaper that’s proBiden and you’re calling it a liar?! You’re the same person who calls Trump a liar?! You’ll miss the obvious conclusion so I’ll not bother. Give @heytom a sickle & hammer award because Atheists march together with 2x2s. LMAO

  14. Mark Alexander says:

    …In regard to SCOTUS nominations in the fourth year of a presidential term, who said: “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year”?

    That was Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016, after then-lame duck Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court’s most articulate and faithful advocate of Liberty and Rule of Law. (This despite a Leftmedia claim that Ginsburg told her granddaughter just before her death, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”) Mark Alexander

  15. Karen says:

    IMO that granddaughter isn’t Ruth Ginsberg who wouldn’t religiously presume her value or control beyond death.

  16. Linda , West Sedona says:

    nailed it Jeff

  17. Bib VOCA says:

    watch David Webb show

  18. Gary says:

    Joe made that 200k number up like the man said. It’s not even NEAR that number. You repeat it like a robot an believe it like a robot and give us Democrats a bad name. Even my 4 year old son smells (deleted by editor) and there was NO CONSENSUS by doctors and it’s just been since May that we got a handle on what to do to save people. IT WASN’T THE GOVERNMENT’S FAULT. In all fairness TRUMP saved lives with his shutdown of Chinese flights and closing the border to caravans when EVERYBODY said it was WRONG we had a man stand up alone and he stood up for you and me and likely saved YOUR old life and I thought it wrong until the FACTS proved it was right. Try facts not propaganda and be a real Democrat. Stop throwing (deleted by editor) at your own house.

  19. Cathy Wainwright says:

    Want to reimagine policing, Kamala? I’ll stick with our local police while you from out of town stay home. We aren’t giving you a hub or any invite. You come here, plan to pay big, no free ride or free transit except for residents.

  20. Mike says:

    If you love Sedona then love her as she is. Don’t turn her into a cheap tourist has been.

  21. Page Springs says:

    New government documents released today show Biden in deep over Ukraine. Biden’s 2 boys were getting $$$$$$ tons of $$$$$ and Biden himself and the Obama admin was appalled and concerned stay tuned. It’s going to be a wild ride .

  22. EDDIE S. MADDOCK says:

    Thanks to those who take time to comment – pro and con. But, of course, special appreciation goes out to those who actually make comments relating to the subject of the article: Cathy Wainwright and others!

    National political issues have become overwhelming. Could this same thing happen locally? State, County, City or Town? Heads up!!

    Special message to Mother Nature: Rain – P L E A S E !!!!

    Cheers!

    E.S. Maddock

  23. Donna Bee says:

    Tourists shouldn’t be anywhere near here because they bring coronavirus. The mayor and council should put up signs that say NO tourists in the city without proper coronavirus testing and have drivein clinics set up at the signs located at both ends of 89A and at beginning of exit 179. People need to stay home until a vaccine is proven effective and businesses and schools closed.

  24. PS from ESM says:

    To Mother Nature: PS – A kiss of rain; A breath of fresh air.
    THANK YOU! (especially from the drought stricken trees in the forest)

  25. steve segner says:

    Tourists shouldn’t be anywhere near here because they bring coronavirus. The mayor and council should put up signs that say NO tourists in the city without proper coronavirus testing and have driven clinics set up at the signs located at both ends of 89A and at beginning of exit 179. you know the mayor does not have that power.

    There are no travel restrictions in Arizona and people can move freely but you think Sedona should put guards on the roads… you know much easier if you just stay home and don’t go out. work better or all.

  26. Sedona Elite says:

    We the professional City staff and members of the Sedona Chamber want to thank you cows for being too bovine and intimidated to try and take back your power. Our crystal ball shows as no one is organizing for the next election, we will be in power spending your money as far as the eye can see. We would say thank you, but you don’t thank tax cattle.

    We will however have a laugh at your expense during our next team building exercise at a 4 star hotel.

    Don’t think about it, the tourists pay all the taxes. really. If you believe that one you deserve to be tax cattle.

  27. @Mike says:

    Sedona IS a has-been tourist dump, with jaded residents.

  28. Jeanie, Jordan Rd says:

    traffic delays here caused by roundabouts

  29. Lemon Loula says:

    Still no word why she skipped town so fast that the council broke enough wind at the same time to blow all the tourists back to Wuhan? Take off your masks. It’s safe now sheeple.

  30. Jackie says:

    Good riddance Jennifer! You took what you could from all our tuchises.

  31. Ronnie W says:

    Just wait until the traffic is increased even more when a bunch of electric(?) shuttle vans/cars/buses hit the streets! As if tourists will give up their cars. What about the Lynx buses already in action? As if we need yet another preplanned hoax destined to fail before it even happens.

    Sedona the staging area for shuttle vehicles as they create parking areas in the VOC and elsewhere for real cars to park?

    My suspicion is the realtor(s) raking in sales commission(s) will be the only ones profiting from this latest dog and pony show.

    Small town charm of Sedona soon to be invested in the shuttle bus service. Who would have thought . . . . . Developers, Opportunists, Architects, Engineers, Designers, Landscapers, Builders, Home Supply Stores, Tax Collectors and Speculators that’s who.

    Bless approval of vacation rentals like short term Air b-n-b for giving the DOS something to whine about. Really, don’t they deserve it?

  32. Carolyn says:

    @Steve & Sedona Others
    Democrats have good reason to be nervous. Not only are the polls tightening in battleground states, but the Trump administration is getting ready for a major law and order crackdown. That became clear when William Barr had a phone call from State Dept about charging this top Democrat with a crime…even Rahm Emmanuel is distancing himself from the Democrats…

  33. Nancy says:

    Vote vote vote.

  34. E.A.A. says:

    Father God bless and save America Mr Trump.

  35. Gladys Paulson, SD says:

    People under age 50 have above a 99% survival rate if they test positive through bloodwork for coronavirus. Hallelujah we’ve turned the corner with Warp Speed. Thank you American government.

  36. Michele says:

    Trump sent $20 BILLION to nursing homes during the pandemic to aide nursing homes. WHY does anyone doubt he has saved lives?

    I’m disgusted with this local batch of DORR Commie Knobs that talk to me a veteran and their fellow Democrat like I’m to believe their commie BS crap. Mob rule and bullies are loud and clear in Sedona and arm twisters. Ginsberg was the best and Scalia was the best and they adored each other and we should if we give a damn about either of them and our country . Wipe my spit off your high heel shoes Cindy McCain who couldn’t speak to a local worker unless they genuflected you her first.

  37. Walter Jones says:

    Hi Michele:

    FYI as a disabled Navy vet, I voted for Trump and understand why you feel that way. Afterall, just because Trump said he gave money to nursing homes, you believe him. I don’t anymore. When I heard the words come out of his mouth that anyone that was shot or captured is a looser, OMFG. This coming from a guy who had bone spurs.

    I am so ashamed of myself for voting for Trump after seeing and hearing all of the lies from him.

    I don’t like Biden either but how can any of Trumps supporters continue to do so.

    Don’t come back at me with your Fake News BS, I only go by what I hear comes out of his mouth.

  38. Dan, Sedona says:

    There’s no Navy vet in Sedona with your name.

  39. Michele says:

    I don’t like liars or fakers like you pretending to be a disabled Navy vet.

    Trump never said any of those things and it was retracted by Atlantic Monthly and the writer and editors are facing sanctions for a hit piece. Every person involved with that visit to France denied Trump said that including the French representatives. There’s tape of the entire event including when those lies were supposedly said.

    You better start to realize we vets see Biden as bringing back the same lousy run VA treatment and facilities as the 8 yrs before Trump and it was disgusting then and it’s light years better in 3 short years and we don’t want to go backwards.

    If you are a vet and I don’t think you are because you knowingly repeated a lie – you know it’s better for vets now then at any time in the last few decades.

    Biden will raise your taxes and take away your Medicare and social security. Fact. You want it from the old man’s mouth? Dig him out of his basement or listen and watch his old videos. Biden wasn’t good enough said Obama and Clinton and on tape like in those new government emails released this week. Read them.

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