Public Agency Speaker: District Ranger, Amy Tinderholt of the USFS Red Rock District
Camille welcomed District Ranger Amy Tinderholt, along with Chris Johanson, USFS Recreation and Kevin Kuhl, USFS Trails. The presentation covered updates on the APS 69kV powerline, West Sedona designated camping project, Sedona trailhead shuttle, collaborative planning for OHV management and added staffing for wildfire prevention in the Verde Valley.
Click HERE to download presentation slide deck.
APS 69kV Powerline: The main concerns from citizens regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) were wildfire risk and impacts on scenery, cultural resources, wildlife, soil and water, recreation resources (Kel Fox Trail) and visual concerns both from residences and the Forest. Consideration of a “micro-grid power system in lieu of the proposed powerline” was also voiced. At this point the USFS is working to better understand the issues raised and to complete their environmental surveys with an eye toward the potential effects of the proposed actions. She emphasized that a part of this process will be further communication with the Village of Oakcreek. After the Draft Decision is issued, parties who submitted comments previously on the Draft EA who feel their stated concerns were not fully addressed will have 45 days to submit arguments. BPRCC submitted comments and has the option to respond to the Draft Decision.
West Sedona Designated Camping Project: Chris Johanson reviewed the project, noting that high use has resulted in an increased number of undeveloped camping areas. To contain fire risk and protect wildlife habitat, rangeland and cultural resources, a large site in West Sedona will be closed (31,400 acres) and replaced with eight designated smaller camping areas (pods), allowing for 150-200 campsites. The new areas will be fortified with boulders to reduce potential expansion beyond the designated sites. In answer to a question about increased camping in the Beaverhead Flat area, he explained that as one area is closed, spill-over into other areas can be expected. The USFS will be monitoring the situation carefully and adjusting the allocations as needed. Click here for additional details and map.
Trailhead Shuttles: The two initial shuttles (Posse Ground to Soldiers Pass, Dry Creek and Mescal Trailheads and 179 at Bowstring to Cathedral and Little Horse Trailheads) were explained, noting that when they are in operation, Cathedral and Soldier Pass Trailhead parking lots will be closed. Increased recreation traffic to the trail system at the end of Verde Valley School Road is a community concern, and Amy agreed that spillover is expected. She emphasized that this is a learning process with adjustments expected over time. She confirmed that designated horse trailer parking will be maintained. In response to a question on trash, Amy noted that “leave no trace” educational efforts are ongoing. Shuttle stops and many – but not all -trailheads have trash bins that are frequently serviced.
Collaborative Planning for OHV Management: A shared path forward among many stakeholders is now in process with a projected timeline of 6-18 months. A number of organizations have stepped up with enthusiasm to assist. In answer to questions regarding a hiatus or pause in OHV’s on the damaged forest service roads, Amy explained that all licensed passenger vehicles (including OHV’s) have equal right to use forest service roads that are managed for passenger vehicles. It is possible however to limit access to roads designated for high clearance vehicles (eg Broken Arrow), but the regulation process can take years to complete.
Wildfire Mitigation Staff: The presentation concluded with good news that the USFS will be recruiting for five new permanent positions this Spring and six new temporary/seasonal crew members next Spring. The additional staff will expand their ability to provide community Firewise programs. In answer to a question on prescribed burns, Amy noted that we can expect more this summer.
During the general question period an issue was raised regarding signage for dangerously narrow trail areas that do not permit step off for passing, with the comment that some recent trail re-routes have resulted in increased peril for equestrians. Kevin Kuhl responded that they try to strike a balance between safety and sign pollution, and not every hazard is sign-posted. Amy offered that the FS cannot set the expectation that all hazards are signed. The national forest and trail use is inherently risky. Amy is willing to better understand the concern from equestrian users.
A meeting quorum of 17 member organizations were present along with 19 guests.
President’s Report: Camille Cox announced an exciting concept taking shape for art in the Village roundabouts. All the roundabouts along the Scenic Byway were designed to feature public artwork and landscaping, as the Schnebly Hill and “Y” roundabouts already do. In the past six months, two private parties have come forth with proposals to provide art for our roundabouts; one willing to fund a commissioned work to honor our ranching heritage and an artist interested in donating a piece of their work. A small steering group has been working on a proposed organizational structure that could successfully facilitate community input and provide project management, donor confidence, financial accountability and aesthetic guidance. This group would like to present their concept to the Council for review at the April meeting. She asked the Council members to give thought to the concept, take time to look closely at roundabouts in the Village and Sedona, and come prepared to explore the idea further next month.
On a different topic, she explained that Yavapai County is exploring expanding its presence in the Greater Sedona area, perhaps with a service office in the Village. We will be conducting a survey to ask residents what kinds of County services would be helpful to have available locally.
Camille concluded her remarks, noting that the Executive Board has donated $100 to the Sedona Library in the Village for their April matching fundraising campaign.
Secretary’s Report: Mary Pope noted that membership and representation have remained the same and the Arizona Corporation Commission has accepted the BPRCC annual statement of changes.
Treasurer’s Report: Patty Reski reported that all but one member organization have paid their annual dues. A delinquency notice has gone out and if dues are not received by the beginning of May, the delinquent membership will terminate automatically. She noted that we will be seeing a slight increase in monthly MailChimp charges as the subscriber mailing list has increased to the next level.
Audit Report: Duane Thompson, VP and Chair of the 2022 Audit Committee thanked his fellow committee members Carolyn Fisher and Ty deJong. The committee reviewed 2021 financial records and reported that with appreciation of Patty Reski’s efforts, all information is accurate and complete.
P&Z: Mary Morris reported that a positive collaborative effort has begun with the USFS on relocating a section of the newly realigned Rabbit Ears trail. A representative of the Pine Valley POA’s trail committee stated that although the USFS was still somewhat non-committal, he was hopeful of a positive outcome and emphasized that the committee would assist in any way possible to arrive at a mutually agreeable re-alignment of the trail and expedite implementation.
Mary then presented an update on potential OHV management noting that there will be a Keep Sedona Beautiful (KSB) panel discussion March 16th, live and Zoom. Additional information is available on the KSB website. Click HERE for additional information
The P&Z committee meeting, Friday March 18th has been cancelled as there are no pending County applications to review.
APS Powerline Subcommittee: Duane Thompson complimented Amy Tinderholt on her overview of the proposal, and is encouraged by her offer to continue the conversation informally with BPRCC. He noted that his subcommittee is working with KSB, who are actively pursuing the Community Microgrid concept.
Emergency Preparedness (EPPiC): Gwen Hanna reported that the committee has begun meeting with frontline agencies and two guests from the Sheriff’s Office attended the last committee meeting. (Heidi Howard, Public Relations and Lt. Johnson Eastern Area Commander). She noted that when meeting minutes are finalized, they will be available to the community. Key points note that the Sheriff’s office has organizational responsibility for evacuations and an actual cohesive strategy is in place. Evacuation strategies are methodical and based on the actual situation at any given point in time and location. Not all residents will be evacuated at the same time.
Great informational materials are available. The “Ready-Set-Go” brochure can be downloaded by clicking HERE. Gwen emphasized that we need to go to the source for emergency information updates, noting that Social Media posts may or may not be accurate. The Sheriff's office has its own Facebook page: Yavapai County Sheriff's Office | Facebook. You can also go directly to the website for the latest information.
Strategic Planning/Leadership Development Task Force: Don Groves presented on behalf of the task force assigned to develop a Purpose & Scope for Council approval of an ad hoc Committee. He noted that the task force met twice and had extensive discussions via email between meetings. A motion was made by Don Groves, seconded by Dave Norton to approve the Purpose & Scope of an ad hoc Strategic Plan & Leadership Development Committee as presented, and to create the committee as described. After discussion, the motion passed 16 in favor, 1 opposed.
“The purpose of the ad hoc Strategic Plan & Leadership Development Committee is to create a viable and realistic two-year plan that addresses the need for cultivating executive leadership and visibility.
* Examine perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing BPRCC and its ability to attract and develop executive leadership.
* Create a plan for executive leadership bench strength that includes a shared leadership executive team structure that maintains the current trajectory of leadership.
* As Phase One, submit recommendations that support the 2023 Nominating Committee by July 1st, including identification of administrative responsibilities and executive competencies. “
Volunteers for the new committee include Don Groves, Dave Norton, Camille Cox and Ty deJong. Council members were encouraged to think about this opportunity and let Camille know if interested in joining the committee.
Dark-Sky: Curt Schneider encouraged people to go to the Yavapai County website and complete their Dark-Sky survey. In answer to a question on reporting local violations, it was noted that a diplomatic approach was being worked on. A number of community events are planned, with April 30th a possibility and May 22nd definite. The committee will have a table at the May 14th community BBQ at VOCA Park, with examples and information about Dark-Sky lighting. Curt then noted that content is being added to the BPRCC Dark-Sky website and he will keep the Council informed on its progress.
VVTPO: Steve Fiedler reviewed his report previously submitted to Council Representatives and asked all to let him know if they notice any road repairs needed elsewhere. In answer to a comment on the SR-179 sidewalk lights being on all night, it was acknowledged that the timers are not working properly. Replacement LED lights for the sidewalk are Dark-Sky compliant. There was much discussion on the nature of County repairs to drainage culverts, noting that the culverts are dug out by the County, but rip-rap is not replaced.
* Jan Groves reported that the Sedona Village Learning Center lease ends in May and that SVLC is still seeking an alternate facility for its 30 students in the Village.
* Carolyn Fisher reported that on March 22nd at 1:00pm there is a Yavapai College Board meeting with opportunity to talk to staff afterwards. She encouraged anyone concerned about the lack of courses offered in our area to attend.
Mark your Calendar
Next scheduled P&Z Meeting: April 15th at 10am, via ZOOM.
Next Executive Board Meeting: Tuesday April 5th, 3pm, location TBD.
Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, April 14th, 9am, Zoom - Guest speaker Terri Alexon, Investor protection, Arizona Division of Securities.
Next EPPiC Meeting: Friday, April 1st at 2:00pm, location TBD.