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Eddie Maddock: Sedona Year 2020

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock reminds Sedona in 2020 it’s wise to keep in mind that hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

Sedona AZ – The birth of a brand new year, 2020, is welcomed with optimism for positive opportunities on the horizon. Breaking in a new calendar and not forgetting when writing to change the date to “2020” accordingly are reminders that time flies, and not necessarily just when a person is having fun. It might be wise to also keep in mind a quote from Billy Wilder: Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

A trendy word that continues to persist is “sustainable:” In general the meaning is obvious, but cutting to the chase might include extending efforts to avoid the reality of missing the water after the well runs dry.

As has been proven by experts, word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising good and bad. Most will admit the reason they visited Sedona to begin with is .. drumroll please .. because they heard about it from previous visitors. With that kind of publicity, it remains difficult to understand why millions of dollars have been spent on advertising campaigns, especially since nothing has ever been offered to conclusively prove enhanced destination tourism to compete with day trippers was an end result.

Although Sedona is frequently compared to other tourist locations such as Park City, Utah and Vail, Colorado and even Arizona’s own Scottsdale, it might be well to know The War on Tourists exists even in faraway countries. That title appears in the September 2019 issue of The Atlantic publication relative to the Netherlands and the extent to which visitors have outnumbered its population and thus forced serious action to combat their collateral damage.

Comparing Sedona to the Netherlands .. a place reporting some 19 million tourists visited there last year far exceeding the population and projected to increase by 50% over the next decade .. is, of course, premature at this point. However, the Netherlands finally declared ENOUGH. How long will it be before Sedona is forced to take similar measures and address their own situation realistically?

A recent ADOT traffic study found the majority of Sedona traffic backs up miles to drive through Sedona and Oak Creek canyon without stopping to reach Flagstaff and Grand Canyon.

In Amsterdam recent legislation including a moratorium on new hotel construction and restrictions on Airbnb rentals of 30 nights a year per unit have been approved. In addition implementation of bans and restrictions on “new tourist-centric businesses” referencing bike-rental outfits and even selected guided tours as examples. There is even talk of charging day trippers to step foot in the city, a bold policy recently enacted in Venice.

Of course speaking of the Netherlands, a country, compared to Sedona, a small city of 10,000 or less, may seem inequitable. However that country is half the size of South Carolina with one of the world’s highest population densities. And yet scenarios remain the same. When is enough enough?

It becomes even more curious when “sustainability” remains a word of the day while at the same time the Sedona City Council approved four story commercial and residential developments for the Sunset Community Focus Area!

At a recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting more discussion was under way to amend the Community Plan to allow rezoning of Sedona’s remaining vacant lots for increased density. Yet not long ago Sedona was among those objecting to a large development not far from El Rojo Grande.

In 2008, Ron Verniesoni hoped to alert the community of danger posed to Oak Creek by recent flooding and construction. In 2020, Oak Creek watershed issues remain due to increased environmental impact of tourism compounding sustainability, flooding and construction issues.

A very lengthy article appeared in the Arizona Republic December 23, 2019: Quite rabidly opposed by local residents is the proposed Spring Creek Ranch presented at a meeting lasting over seven hours before the Yavapai County Planning & Zoning Commission. The owners, Lisa and Eric Borowsky, request rezoning of their 282-acre property in order build 1,900 manufactured homes, 400 RV spaces, and rental housing. The proposal was denied by the commissioners with a 5-4 vote, but the Yavapai County Supervisors will consider the request of the zoning change at their meeting on January 14, 2020.

There’s no doubt this area is in need of workforce and/or more affordable housing. The problem would be much less severe had the purpose of approval for Nepenthe been strictly enforced. There are other examples of lodging facilities that wriggled out of initial commitments to provide a specified number of workforce living accommodations. Our regulators mysteriously turned their heads the other way, and for what reason? We know why developers reneged .. they wanted to make more money from tourists instead of accommodating this sorely needed provision. What guarantee will there be that future projects won’t also end up as even more additional money grabbing sources for greedy developers?

In spite of already stressed “sustainability” why are projects ignoring the obvious allowed to continue? Clearly congestion will only worsen. Squandering money for alleged solutions through member driven organizations only adds to the putrid stench. Sedona doesn’t have the ability to randomly build alternate routes because they don’t own the land. It belongs to the U.S. Forest Service which is a good thing. Otherwise opportunists would have long ago snatched it up to erode the beauty of Sedona even more extensively.

The people organized and brought the fight to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors preventing almost 1,000 mobile homes and RV spaces near Cottonwood and Sedona. Now the Board is considering rezoning for 2,000 mobile units on a nearby property this January 14.

Why do you suppose that when people purchase land based on existing zoning they aren’t realistic and accept the attached zoning constraints? Is it because they had no intention in the first place of complying with decisions originally made for logical reasons? If approval for a subdivision requires homes on 2-acre lots, then stick to it ..  especially if the land is deemed an imperiled species habitat in addition to serious concerns regarding water quality and water quantity.

Is there a better time for proving the seriousness, or lack thereof, of the current alleged quest for sustainability? Will approval of high density projects serve only to belie such nonsense and continue to accommodate opportunists and their controlling forces that benefit financially? Or how about using “sustainability” as a smoke screen for misappropriation of millions of municipal dollars? ENOUGH.

sus·tain·a·ble de·vel·op·ment
noun
1. economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources.
“international policies should support sustainable development”

In short, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation .. and not compromising our way of life.

70 Comments

  1. Fake info again from steve says:

    Actually the chamber DID have to return money to city. Read the report and NEVER believe anyone being enriched with taxpayers money.

  2. Jan W. says:

    All I can add to this dog and pony show is that no way will I take marching orders from that BS Chamber of Commerce that claims to be non-profit! That’s rich no pun intended. It was bad enough when the big boys and girls at city hall attempted to dictate who would pick up our garbage. Take all of the garbage companies and remove trash from both city hall and the C of C Visitors Center and their executive offices (how ever many they may have now) and most likely they’d have NO room left for other patrons.

    Chamber of Commerce teach us how to be sustainable? And for a mere $2.5 million in just one year? Maybe they should be giving instructions up at NAU but the pay wouldn’t come close to accommodating the style to which they’ve become accustom.

    How can you people sit in your Ivory Tower and keep straight faces? Did anyone say you could? Nuttiest thing but takes the mind off national politics, mere amateurs when compared to Sedona IMO.

  3. John Daniels W Sedona says:

    Hay “Just Asking”, Perhaps you missed it but SE is not the be-all and end-all of all things Sedona, if you care so much about the city attorney why don’t you call him up and ask him directly, his number is on the city website.

  4. @ John Daniels Of Mars says:

    “I’m just a homeowner who hates” , but “When the haters start posting under my name to make people think that my opinions changed to the Dark Side of haters ”

    She/He is not a hater. Uh huh. Hate is just her favorite word.

  5. Lance Johnson says:

    Since “SE is not the be-all and end-all of all things Sedona” @John Daniels W Sedona why do you bother to visit the site? Isn’t that a bit foolish if reading the publication upsets you so much?

    As for whether or not Robert Pickels is still the city attorney, as an alleged policy of intent for transparency from City Hall why wasn’t the information made public when the ad recently appeared in a Sedona City Publication?

    “City Attorney
    Type:Full TimeSalary/Pay Rate:$125,000 – $150,000/annually DOQPosted Date:12/02/2019
    Deadline to Apply:01/12/2020Come join our team!
    The City of Sedona is seeking applicants for the position of City Attorney.”

  6. Businesses have rights also says:

    As a business owner why is it I have no rights? Why is the chamber given special treatment,favors, free city paid items and money with the TAXES imposed on my business to promote THEIR members???????

    I never agreed. I am not a chamber member and I prefer to use my own voice. Why does my business PAY to market the regional-chamber-members WHO are competing with MY business? WE PAY they are rewarded with city-imposed-taxes!!!!!!!

    This is taxation without representation. Discrimpation. AZ STATE Why do you allow a this crazy city???

  7. Steve Segner says:

    The city manager manages the city and he follows all state mandates ruled as to what is to be publishes and what is not,
    The city published the position,in public for a new city attorney.
    Lance you said it your self information “made public when the ad (recently appeared in a Sedona City Publication)”?
    So Lance would you lake a personal phone call or e mail call on all city employees that are leaving or new hires.?

  8. In the comment section we can always see the shills for the spend other peoples money establishment wine about “haters” and ” the tourists pay”.

    Like the crooked charity that only pays out 5% of what they take in and the rest is spent on gold plated “administration” and ” professional management”. We all know you can think up obfuscation and fancy names for theft, but if it is not your money and you spend it, it is still theft.

    Until voters rise up and say NO, YOU MAY NOT STEAL IN MY NAME !, the theft will continue.

    The Sedona library was founded on generous VOLUNTARY donations, and paid for in full when built. When the library ” Director” thinks she is worth a six fugure income, because she is a “Director, not a librarian”,things are out of hand.

    When the chamber president pays herself $12,000 per month, and has a problem stating facts, like where the chamber membership is located, residents need to say NO.

    It’s obvious our city council and city staff like playing Santa Claus rather than being good stewards of other peoples money.

    It’s time to put a stop to it.

  9. @ Alternative narrative says:

    “Until voters rise up ….”

    Never happen. People here are too stupid. They had a clear choice last election and totally blew it.

  10. @@ Alternative narrative says:

    I have to agree. Voters had a clear choice in the last election, and they chose a little free stuff. Those running the scam were already in line for lots of free stuff.

    No ones thrown their hat tin the ring yet except Kurt Gobsmack, who if both he and the current Mayor Sandy run will insure those on the take continue their grift.

    Having been involved with the opposition last election, even with Tony T willing to lead and take the abuse, painfully few were willing to lift a finger to help.

    Who is going to run for the opposition this time? Crickets………..

  11. Alan J. says:

    It seems that Segner fellow missed the point. Wasn’t Lance wondering why there wasn’t an announcement – maybe here or in the local print rag – that the city attorney was leaving? That generally is the case when key employees make changes. Maybe the most recent was as I recall Rachel Murdock(sp?) from the Parks & Rec and previous to that long time city employee Audree(sp?) Juhlin.

    When other city attorneys have moved on it’s been newsworthy in the past. It does seems odd a city attorney during a period in Sedona of the hotly contested city/chamber of commerce romance and resulting marriage(?) contract up and left without mention.

    Oh well hope he moves on to a place with more integrity than what presently controls incorporated Sedona.

  12. My guess says:

    My guess is that Pickles put his foot in mouth……. Watched a cc meeting where he stated very proudly that the Chambers contract was worded great and there is no way the state could find a gift cause problem……then the AG audited them…..chamber didn’t want it changed…….jen stated so in cc meeting…..but they had to…….drop the 55%……….or ??????? This is why……….only because the city changed it did the state not take action……

  13. Alternative to @ Alternative narrative says:

    Or the other opinion,

    People here weren’t too stupid. They had a clear choice last election and totally nailed it.

  14. Orphangelista says:

    Alternative to @ Alternative narrative says ” Or the other opinion,
    People here weren’t too stupid. They had a clear choice last election and totally nailed it.” Another opinion? Yes they did and they nailed that opinion to a cross.

  15. 3DDDesu@coffeepot says:

    Love the internet. Love historical perspective. Love Sedona Times. Search for these titles on here.

    Sedona City Chamber Contract Under Investigation

    Article submitted by City of Sedona AZ Sedona AZ (July 31, 2018) – The following article submitted by the city of Sedona, Arizona: The city has made the Sedona City Attorney’s Written Response to Legislator Request for Investigation Pursuant to A.R.S.§ 41-194.01 available for public review. The response relates to a complaint regarding the city’s contract with the Sedona Chamber…

    Arizona AG finds city of Sedona and its Sedona Chamber reworked Agreement and clawbacked funds now meets requirements of Constitution

    Article submitted by the city of Sedona. Sedona AZ – In a report issued August 15, 2019, the Office of the Arizona Attorney General finds that the city of Sedona contract with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, and the city’s administration of that contract, are consistent with the requirements of the Arizona Constitution. From the report: The Office concludes that although…

  16. Hal Johnson says:

    @3DDDesu@coffeepot says:
    January 23, 2020 at 7:36 am

    If the AG found City/Chamber reworked their “Agreement” and funds now meet requirement of the Constitution, how can that be? The substantial increase of the amount the chamber received for the recent fiscal year, appx. $2.5 million, hardly reflects “clawbacked” funding!

    Nope – sick of the setup but apparently Sedona residents are happy as little clams as long as they continue to wear blinders and believe the scare tactics thrown at them when election time rolls around. (library will close; reduced funding for the humane society; living in litter if recycles shuts down; etc., etc., etc. unless they vote as told by those they allow to control.)

    And for the record both the library and humane society thrived very nicely prior to incorporation. Sedona Recycles is new, of course, but so is the concept of recycling and sustainability and it happened without assistance from the chamber of commerce!

    Very expense nonsense seems to be the ongoing direction which isn’t about to change until voters make it happen. Hah – that’s a joke! Enjoy being told by the C of C how many times you’re allowed to flush your toilet.

  17. The takers are organized says:

    To paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in politics, but politics are interested in you — and you can learn a lot from the people who’ve been working them to their advantage.

    Those that are not on the take are not organized, they think someone else will do it.

    We saw how that worked out in the last election.

  18. Refresh your memories says:

    Very clearly the rr snooze printed that there was NO investigation. Jennifer wrote about it. AND so did the CITY!!!!!

    They knew there was an open investigation and lied!

    They bought your votes, snoozed you and your favorite clubs. THEN YOU voted in Homerule!

    Now you know. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!!!!!

  19. Alternative to @ Alternative narrative says:

    Well, since the vote was about 75% in support of the right candidates, I’d say that my opinion is perfect to “nail to a cross”. You sound more like a sore loser.

  20. Paul C. says:

    looked at GO plans for other communities across America
    nice to know it’s all government, all big Pharma
    and templated by our Sedona city government
    who gets the earned perks?

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