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.


  1. Mike Campbell says:

    There you go again (Deleted by Editor),

    Why don’t you tell us, as you seem to know all the details. Use your real name this time. You can sign it with “Hope this helps.”

  2. Paul, Sedona AZ says:

    Laugh me a riot !! New some is reopening California beginning this week and next and you are still screaming at Trump for reopening too soon and he said not to do it quite yet? You people are like Jonestown Dummies. Follow the Democrats to the death.

  3. Jess Wundrin says:

    Silence from mayoral candidate Kurt Gehlbach is deafening both vocal AND written. Is he busy working on a solution to the viral pandemic and/or proceeding with his plans to conform his park and ride traffic solution from the sewer plant? Or maybe the community garden out where the soil’s fertile? Just askin’ from Jess Wundrin.

  4. Mandy, Sedona says:

    Thanks “Jess Wundrin” for at least a moment to bring us back down to earth.

    My own wandering mind during this unforeseen confinement has drifted to “wundrin” what the heck is being manipulated and plotted behind the confines of Sedona City Hall and the gawd awful control of the freakin’ chamber of commerce? What the h… is the story behind their ability to dominate this city?

    Why did this city manager, Justin Clifton, take it upon himself to pledge them that control for the next eight years? It most assuredly can’t be because “they” brought in tourists. Sedona was discovered long before the C of C entered into the picture.

    Hopefully a good thing that might come out of this global disaster will be bringing a few people (staff & council members) to their knees realizing they aren’t the be all of Sedona’s survival. Quite possibly unless they change their ways they could very well be the “end all” of what Sedona has become! And, really, would that be so bad?

  5. Elaine says:

    Don’t plan on anything changing @Mandy, Sedona except possibly the big shots at city hall attempting to figure out ways to extract more money from residents. Or hadn’t you heard? We are constantly accused of not contributing anything to the tax base! Maybe we should all take our receipts, including for utilities, and highlight the amount of taxes “WE” do pay, and drop them off in the courtyard at City Hall?

    Don’t think for one moment the hot shots with the Chamber/Lodging Council aren’t already planning their next scam for nailing those in power to up their $2.5 million for next year’s hand-out to them. Need to keep that Chamber CEO well fed. Maybe $12,000/mo isn’t enough anymore?

    Nothing short of disincorporation will get their attention. But who will pay off all those bonds if that were to miraculously happen? We, the residents, of course would be assessed via Yavapai and Coconino Counties! No matter what, the residents are the losers. But those who voted for incorporation created the monster!

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