Home » City Council, Community » Sedona Oak Creek Flooding is Serious Business with Eddie Maddock

Sedona Oak Creek Flooding is Serious Business with Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

Sedona AZ (October 16, 2015)Sedona Mayor and Members of the City Council, as you are probably aware, flooding in Sedona generally originates from two sources: (1) Summer monsoons; (2) Spring flooding resulting from El Nino conditions.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to view the two web links included here, time permitting you might find them of interest.

The first is a more recent flood occurrence with which most if not all of you might be familiar. It’s a video of the 9/10/2009 flood at Tlaquepaque resulting from a summer monsoon. Of course methods have since been implemented to hopefully mitigate damage from a similar occurrence but such a storm hasn’t yet materialized to actually test the effectiveness of the improvements.

The second link includes an article written by Sedona resident Steve DeVol, an eye witness to a 1993 flood. He was, at the time, a Sedona resident living off of Brewer Road at Trails End. Also during that storm a former Sedona Councilman, Charlie Crick and his family lived at that location. A Red Rock News front page article and photo depicted Charlie wading through waste-high water in Oak Creek, rescuing his mother-in-law, Dottie Balch, in the middle of the night, who together with her husband also resided along Oak Creek at Sycamore Cove, a former mobile home park now occupied by Los Abrigados. (photo and article not included here) Most likely Mayor Sandy will recall both of these incidents.

Recent predictions suggest El Nino conditions are likely, quite possibly the most potent in 50 years. This could produce record amounts of snow in Flagstaff. If, as has occurred in the past, warm spring rains cause a rapid thaw of all that snow, Oak Creek will be subjected to severe flooding such as occurred in 1993. A similar condition existed in 1978 at which time the low water crossing at Red Rock Crossing was washed out which was never restored. Of course it’s also possible flooding conditions will not materialize and we will be spared . . . this time.

Completely understanding the diligence and dedication with which the Community Plan Revision Task Force performed their job, it does remain a bit perplexing that with seasoned Sedona residents such as Mike Bower, Tom Sather, and Jim Eaton on that committee, none advised the other members on the task force of the potential hazards in conjunction with high density use – Community Focus Areas, at both Brewer Road and Schnebly Hill Road. And presently the expansion of Tlaquepaque North is under way.

It was with good reason the City Council approximately four years ago voted to rescind the idea of a creek walk and park in the exact area where severe flooding has occurred in the past, at both locations – Brewer Road and Schnebly Hill Road. Oak Creek has also changed course, in one instance causing flood waters to ravage homes and property in Copper Cliffs.

Understanding the enthusiasm with which two members of the Community Plan Task Force, now seated on the City Council, are aggressively pursuing implementation of the revised plan which spans a period of the next ten years, it raises the question of: “What’s the hurry?” That plan is not law. It is a set of guidelines. No more. Is it really prudent to pursue it to the extent major issues, and all of you know what they are – traffic number one and lack of a Master Drainage/Flood Control Plan, to mention a couple, continue to be kicked to the curb in favor of promoting expensive ideals, as approved by a very small voter turnout? And at what overall cost to incorporated Sedona in general?

imagine sedona community planIsn’t really the only justification for aggressive pursuit of adding to congestion to what is already a bottle neck in that area if you aren’t aware or haven’t been offered first hand evidence of potential serious consequences? Factual proof is herewith offered in the two web links.

In the event you choose to continue to ignore or avoid inadequacies of Sedona’s infrastructure prior to pursuing projects that will primarily serve to exacerbate the difficulties, will you be willing to take responsibility for negative end results? This, of course, also applies to encouraging premature implementation of gathering places throughout the entire city without benefit of mitigating and/or finding viable solutions to existing traffic problems.

Thank you for your consideration.

Eddie Maddock

February 21, 1993 Flood

Little Brooks Make Great Rivers – Creek Walks and Politics by Steve DeVol

Sedona, AZ  March 12, 2012   “Little brooks make great rivers”, says the fortune cookie proverb.  The only thing is the wisdom contained in this little nugget was 20 years too late. Read More

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Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!


  1. Jeanette says:

    After this last weekend anyone that doesn’t take potential flooding during this upcoming winter season needs their head examined. The creek crossings down by Poco, Doodle Bug and below, came close to being impassable. If the snow continues in Flagstaff as is predicted, just imagine the potential impact when it all begins to melt in the spring. Laugh you fools that think this isn’t serious business. What will it take for you to wise up? A trip downstream in your car? (we should be so lucky)

  2. It was cold & wet & miserable last night! No way would a shuttle work! A Tucson friend drove up for work meeting & planned to spend weekend but left this morning and headed home saying he had no idea it was blazing cold up here. It was freezing!!!!! He couldn’t wait to get home!!! He sang this getting in car..take me down to the valley, the valley so low where sunshine and people who hate cold & winters go..

  3. Marty says:

    @Danielle Conley – You might let your friend in Tucson know that once Sedona’s fearless leaders move onward with their plans for multiple folksy gathering places it might be a more pleasant trip. That is if the proposed creek walk and park don’t give way to future floods once they become a “reality.” Of course by then there will be the hours of backed-up traffic with no place to park once they get here.

    And, you are correct, shuttles will not be the solution! Too many cars in too little space is rather an obvious phenomenon which people with tunnel vision just don’t comprehend. Go figure.

  4. J. J. says:

    Today’s Red Rock Snooze has a two-page spread on Sedona Traffic Solutions. In one panel, they have Red Rock Crossing & Alternatives. They suggest restoring the low water crossing. OH MY! can you imagine a veritable freeway going THROUGH Oak Creek? A never-ending steady stream of vehicles going through a riparian area? NOT a good idea.

    The county once had a permit to build a bridge but there was a reason construction stalled – again it’s a riparian area and there’s not a lot of undeveloped area for the wildlife. They live here too.

    The funniest is the possible bridge from Longbow Ranch Road. That’s a gated community with the lots alone costing upwards a million dollars. I’m absolutely positive those property owners would do everything in their power not to have a freeway going through their private property.

    No matter how you slice it – it’s too late for a bridge at Red Rock Crossing. It is a nice, quiet, meditative spot. Having cars cross would absolutely ruin the beauty of it.

    Here’s another thing: this property is outside city limits and the city has NO BUSINESS making plans for it’s use. The traffic problems are centered in Coconino County, not Yavapai County. Why should a rural area property owner give up their quiet existence so that a tourist can get a better parking space in Coconino County (Uptown Sedona).

    Give it up. Not going to happen.

  5. Dan says:

    J.J. your points are well taken and right on. There’s just one huge problem. This Sedona City Council (and the last) has no concept City of Sedona has city limits.

    The same as Keep Sedona Beautiful and the Chamber of Commerce, who think they rule the entire Verde Valley (Chamber, unfortunately, does) the seven decision makers, having the final say on all issues, move forward like judge and jury with unlimited barriers.

    Today the Verde Valley – tomorrow the State of Arizona. And then what?

  6. If Sedona builds roads what happens to the wildlife we are free to see and the red rocks you will blast into asphalt? Why are more roads necessary? Sedona is fine as it is. I go to Cape Cod many summers since 1960s and never would the many towns and communities there make it easy for more cars to come, but we don’t care, we go for the scenery and we know when we arrive at our rental house it will be beautiful and little traffic and wonderful community. Yes, you sit for hours in back ups but we still come, because once you get through the traffic off the single road and bridge that gets you on the cape, it’s paradise after all the roundabouts and traffic lights and 25 mph towns! I don’t understand why you people want otherwise unless it’s all about more stores for more businesses – – – which the cape doesn’t promote. You don’t go for shopping, it’s a byproduct. The prices for Cape properties are stable because it is undeveloped and beautiful scenery. Why would changing this scenario make Sedona better? People don’t come to Sedona because of stores or work opportunities (and you better watch out with all the fast food franchises you’ve suddenly allowed from KFC to Chipotle – very lowbrow rather than highbrow of local shops and stores no matter what merchandise or food is offered), people come here because of scenery and remoteness of spectacular beauty and quiet nights and dark skies, and the stores and work opportunities are a byproduct of the scenery. That seems a simple fact but difficult for your less than excellent city planners to comprehend. Either you are a tourist area that protects its finest asset OR you are a working man’s city that paves it over. There isn’t a middle ground. Choose one. (urban planner comment)

  7. The sad answer to your question, Issy Nye, NY, is greed!

    From day one after Sedona became incorporated developers were lined up at City Hall, and it’s never stopped although available buildable land has dwindled to but a few vacant parcels but redevelopment remains an option.

    Now, however, we have a Chamber of Commerce, financed with city taxes, operating a visitors center to benefit only their members, many outside city limits who do not contribute to city tax base. City limit based businesses are frequently forced out because of the greedy Chamber tactics tolerated by City Council and staff.

    Next Tuesday City Council will hear the C of C brag about how without them Sedona would have never been discovered. Hog wash. You know it. Many of us know it. But the city council(s) have allowed this special interest group to take complete control of Sedona. Rarely is a decision made without someone on the city council suggesting for the Chamber to be consulted prior to making decisions. And now these elected representatives actually think these incompetents are capable of coming up with an economic development plan which will amount to even more money being thrown at them. And conveniently by a former council a three year service contract was signed with the Chamber thereby essentially tying the hands of future council members to make decisions and troublesome to activate changes.

    All of your points are excellent but there are those who remain in denial and will never admit that tourists hear about Sedona primarily due to word of mouth. As this city continues to toss out more money which is a waste and has never been adequately accounted for attributing anything more than to encourage an already overabundance of day trippers. There will be those cynics that will possibly post insulting comments to discourage people such as yourself from sharing opinions, but again a good many of us appreciate such contributions because we know what you write is the truth. Sedona is about the beauty of the the red rocks, national forest, hiking trails, and wildlife and not concrete and massive resorts that in reality are a dime a dozen. Anyplace USA can build those but they cannot recreate Sedona’s natural environment and beauty.

    The direction we seem to be stuck with, no matter who is elected, appears to be of the mind-set that the incorporated city is better managed via a contract with the Chamber of Commerce as they continue their march to ruination. Quite possibly the only thing that will force change is some sort of drastic act of nature which would level both City Hall and the despicable sham of a “Sedona” Visitors Center. (translated: $300,000 annual gold mine for the Chamber just for the bogus “visitor center” to promote only their members) Shameful!

  8. Sobe says:

    Just want to thank Eddie for the ‘heads-up’ on the potential flooding problems we may be facing. I haven’t heard anything from The City?

    Please take a look at today’s Verde Independent article “2016 flood prospects concern Verde Valley emergency responders”, with some good advice.

    “….Flagstaff Weather Service Chief Meteorologist Brian Klimowski repeated that the 2015-16 El Nino is forecast to be among the top two such events in recorded history. ….” :


  9. Thank you, Sobe, for acknowledging and reinforcing the potential return of this proven problem. Maybe the only thing that will actually get the city’s attention is after the fact (unfortunately).

    It isn’t a matter of “if” flooding will return to Sedona, it’s “when.” It might be well if floods occur prior to the city investing thousands of dollars on projects in low lying areas. Then maybe it will be apparent that no matter how hard they try they cannot control all things in our lives.

    But then again, maybe it won’t make any difference since they cannot and will not even address the traffic issue prior to compounding it by foolish decisions that continue to make it worse. Go figure.

  10. Sobe says:

    @ Eddie

    Yep, in looks like we’re pretty well on our own here.

    Being a very smart dog I keep My eye on such things as weather and traffic, so I would like to share an idea with You and others. When the weather looks like it could get bad and you may have to leave your home, back your car into the garage or driveway before hand. This will let you pull out into heavy neighborhood traffic instead of trying to back out then go forward which could cause a grid lock. It might also make it easier for you to throw those last minute essentials into the trunk.

    Be safe everybody.

  11. Harley M. says:

    Oh, Sobe, great suggestions. If we four-footed were in charge of the world what a great place it would be, huh? But the most we can do is stay loyal, true, and comfort thems that take care of us. Pretty lucky, we are, huh? And fer sure we’ll practice backing up that car into place – and also use our turn signals – specially at the roundabout thingys.

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