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Eye on Sedona Development with Councilor Jessica Williamson

Sedona AZThe following SedonaEye.com article was submitted by the city of Sedona on behalf of its author, Councilor Jessica Williamson, with the following disclaimer:  The opinions are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Sedona City council:

Authored by Councilor Jessica Williamson, this article was submitted by the city of Sedona AZ with a disclaimer.

Every year the city council meets to set city priorities for the coming year. Those priorities are guided by the Community Plan goals, current circumstances in our community, and the capacity of staff to undertake new priorities while they complete existing priorities from prior years.

The priorities set by council are reflected in the budget council establishes every year. Council’s job is to make sure the priorities are supported with the funding and staff required to achieve those priorities. Without sufficient funding or staff resources, priorities end up being just words on a page.

The highest priorities set by council for next year are traffic and affordable workforce housing, both of which have been the focus of intense community concern. Neither of those is a new issue. What might be different is that the council has committed real resources to those priorities and has consistently chosen to make the hard decisions required to move ahead to address those issues.

A recent ADOT traffic study found the majority of tourist traffic backs up miles to drive through the Sedona city limits, and tourists continue without stopping to reach Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Scenic Highway SR 179 residents have requested that ADOT put an additional AZ I-17 Sedona exit sign at SR 60 via Cottonwood to access Sedona SR 89A, in order to facilitate Sedona access. This request has met with Sedona city political and Uptown business opposition. The Uptown commercial district’s concern is that a second access through West Sedona will create an “Uptown by-pass” as visitors will opt to exit onto SR 179 at the Y Roundabout (SR 89A/SR 179) rather than drive through the Uptown commercial district and Oak Creek Canyon.

It is a simply a reality that doing what’s necessary to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion requires substantial investment in infrastructure and alternate modes of transportation. There is no easy fix. Creating an environment in which constructing multi-family rental housing available to our workforce is financially feasible requires changes to existing development regulations and practices.

Inevitably, some people will vehemently oppose whatever projects or strategies are proposed, arguing they are too expensive, won’t work, will harm their interests, will destroy Sedona. This kind of controversy is not new in Sedona, and in some situations it can be helpful. A thoughtful and robust public engagement process can ensure that a proposal is thoroughly examined before a decision is made whether or not to move forward.

Given that every proposal will generate some opposition, council can either proceed responsibly with plans to improve the community as a whole or choose not to act because some people oppose the plan. In making a decision, council has to weigh the public benefits of the proposed improvements against the negative impacts cited by those who oppose it.

Whether we like it or not, making decisions that affect the entire community is challenging. I’ve had people thank me for moving ahead with the city-wide pedestrian/bike pathways so they can ride their bikes to the store and trailheads without facing the dangers of 89A, and I’ve had people complain that they don’t want those pathways because they don’t want strangers near their homes. Two residents, two opinions. If we want to address the issues that we face as a community, we have to make those decisions. Or we can choose to do nothing and kick the can down the road and see what happens.

Disclaimer: The above opinions are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Sedona City council.

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  1. Pam says:

    Wasn’t Williamson recalled?

  2. Alternative Modes of Transportation says:

    I can see all the 70 plus year old Sedona residents living off HWY 179 riding up Cooks Hill on 89A in the snow or on 100 degree days to get their groceries. Maybe they can shop before 7am or after 7pm to free up the roads for tourists? Never a thought of the easy solution of LESS TOURISTS, as Sedona roads are already over capacity.

    Greed and stupidity rule.

  3. Jan W. says:

    Are you claiming 70 plus year old Sedona residents only live off HWY 179 ?@Alternative Modes of Transportation. Well doubt that very much.

    At any rate, all over Sedona East, West, North & South —– just visualize 70 plus year old Sedona Residents AND tourists clogging the highways with three-wheelers. OMG!! At least it would be a change from campers!

  4. Wm. D. says:

    It makes me chuckle every time I see a camper @Jan W. because it’s more proof of how foolish the bogus money giveaway to the Chamber of Sedona crap really is. Yup all the campers headed to Oak Creek Canyon via Sedona.

    Of course, today as was reported it would happen there were delays on 179 because of road repairs which also became necessary to probably a large extent because of frivolous amount of money amateurs at the “chamber” (of what?) wastes on stupid advertising.

    Enjoy while you can, greed mongers. Nothing lasts forever. It will be a grand day if and when you are busted for what appears to look more and more like shell game activities. Maybe all this wind today is Karma sending a message? We can only hope.

  5. Jackie says:

    I can’t wait to see all those 80 year old going around Tlaq & the Y on their bikes.

    Good job city & chamber. No solutions just tax and spend.

  6. Sedona Law Firm Idea says:

    I have NEVER seen any councilor or city staff using a bike or golf cart to get back and forth to meetings and work or for that matter a social or leisure activity.

    You ALL are inadequate and unacceptable as role models and as intelligent forward planners. Save us your interference in our modes of transport! You are inept.

    We the people DEMAND that city hall staff and councilors spend THREE MONTHS (JUNE JULY AUGUST) SOLELY USING BICYCLES OR SCOOTERS OR VERDE LYNX OR YOUR FEET TO GET AROUND TOWN AND YOU MUST USE ADOT DESIGNATED LANES AND SIDEWALKS TO TEST YOUR PROPOSED IDEAS IN REAL TIME AND NOT VIRTUAL REALITY FOR TAXPAYER FUNDS. Health and age are not reasons for lack of participation! Nor is the need to grocery shop and carry items – get a bike basket and plan accordingly. NOR IS WEATHER. You all must 24/7 when within city limits. Those that live outside city limits must park at city limits and proceed from there.


    Better yet let’s get it on the ballot that city staff and city government must adhere to all rules and laws passed during their tenure or face a fine of $1000 a day which can be a lien against their city owned personal or business properties and or jail for one year of every 30 day failure to follow the law with $5,000 fine.

  7. Make the City Council give up their cars says:

    I want to see Jessica lead by example. I think she and the other city council that vote for this insanity agree to walk or ride their bikes everywhere. No use of private cars at any time. No matter if there is 100 degree weather, rain, snow, our fine council will be walking or riding their bikes. Jessica and (J)ablow, ride your bikes to the market and see if your food has spoiled by the time you get home.

    I second Sedona Law firm’s proposal.

  8. Car allowances says:

    Don’t forget, Sedona grants the City Manager a $6000 per year car allowance and the Assistant City Manager a $5000 per year car allowance.

    Lets be consistent, and generous, give them a $200 Walmart bike, and end their car allowances. We want everyone to use mass transit, right?

    (deleted by editor)

  9. Lake Tahoe Sooner says:

    May 18, 2019 1:53 pm

    Councilors beware of spending your money on tourism and infrastructure to lure them in because a few bad storms, earthquakes, mudslides, fires, and Sedona residents are holding the payment due while the tourists go other places. Let us slowly absorb growth, discourage any but unimpeded ancient red rock views and quality high end growth because Disneyland & Vegas & Phoenix & Grand Canyon are a few hours drive away and those people don’t Buy Sedona.

    On May 18, 2019, Major Disaster Declaration FEMA-4434-DR-CA was approved for the State of California for severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that occurred February 24 to March 1, 2019
    Public Assistance for Amador, Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity and Tuolumne counties
    Hazard Mitigation statewide
    The FCO is Benigno Bern Ruiz

    SUMMARY 4434-DR.docx

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