Public Agency Speaker: Donna Michaels, Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor
Supervisor Michaels explained her position and the County’s progress with respect to a number of issues facing the Village. She began with transportation projects by noting the new quieter road surface installed on Verde Valley School Road and the work underway expanding the turn lane onto Beaverhead Flat Road from SR179. She then noted that, in light of the increasing frequency of severe weather events, mitigation work is underway with respect to flood control.
Through the efforts of Supervisor Michaels and her team, recycling has returned to Cornville, provided by Squeaky Clean, a family-owned operation based in the Village. The location is 9420 E. Cornville Road, right next to Marathon gas station. VOC residents are encouraged to try it out. The setup is not the same as the former Clark’s station. There will be no glass, reducing the amount of noise and messiness. The County is looking for a location in the VOC and suggestions are being sought. Contact Director of Community Outreach Suzie Fairchild (Susan.Fairchild@yavapaiaz.gov) with location suggestions.
Supervisor Michaels then announced that a $9.7 million state allocation was awarded for a meat processing facility to support local agriculture. In addition, Yavapai College has begun to offer coursework on meat processing skills necessary.
Moving on to protection of public lands, the Board of Supervisors are working on a regulation to curtail OHV use, which will be considered at this upcoming legislative session. With respect to the water crisis facing rural Arizona, she supports the creation of a Regional Management Area to regulate water use in Yavapai County.
Supervisor Michaels' final remarks concerned the increasing challenges in healthcare delivery in the Verde Valley. Emergency care, telemedicine and availability of specialist are all decreasing in the face of increased demand. She has written an op-ed detailing the crisis and outlining measures she recommends to improve the situation. Click HERE to download a copy of the article. Supervisor Michaels also asked to partner with the BPRCC on a survey to better understand our resident’s concerns and needs for healthcare service delivery.
P&Z Committee Report Committee member David Gill provided a summary report on the Special Use Permit application from the Collective. The report included a history of the expired Use Permit (2009-2019), noting that the pre-application citizen participation requirements had been met. A citizen participation plan was filed on 1/31/22, and on 4/8/22 a mailing went out to 304 property owners within 1000-ft of the Collective, as well as to other interested parties including the BPRCC. This was followed by a 4/20 public meeting held at the Collective with13 persons physically present and an additional seven present via ZOOM. Many positive comments were made at the meeting. Seven letters of strong support were received and two with concerns. The applicant acknowledged the two concerns, and included accommodations in the Use Permit application that was filed with the County. A presentation was made to the BPRCC P&Z Committee by the attorney representing the Collective on 6/17.
Discussion: A question was raised as to whether the terms of the Use Permit application submitted to the County was the same as was presented to the P&Z Committee of BPRCC on 6/17. President Camille Cox confirmed that the information was identical, and that the committee's recommendation was based on the actual Use Permit application as filed. Other comments were supportive of the application, citing the benefits of community gatherings, music performances and other events which have been greatly missed these past few years. Appreciation was expressed that the Applicant incorporated changes to satisfy public concerns.
The unfortunate close timing of the County’s notification did not allow for sufficient notice to the Council member representatives for a vote at today’s meeting. As the comment deadline is 8/31, it’s not possible to postpone a vote until the September meeting. In light of the high importance of this Use Permit to the community, the following approach was recommended: The committee create a statement with their recommended comments; that statement and supporting information be sent by email to the Representatives, along with a summary of today's discussion; 7-10 days be allowed for Representatives to review and discuss with their Member Organizations; an electronic vote of the Representatives be conducted (allowable per bylaws) to affirm the Council’s recommendation which would then be submitted to the County by 8/31.
Presidents Report Camille Cox noted that she learned at the August 10th Community Pulse event that the USFS nearing completion of scoping for the Turkey Creek trail system, and expects to release the plan in Sept/Oct. The public has 30 days to comment from the date of release.
Camille then spoke about the far-reaching value the BPRCC delivers to the community, referencing the meeting agenda: open communication and collaboration with County Supervisor Donna Michaels, a report on ways Yavapai County can address the pending water crisis, a transparent review of a new Special Use Permit, a new initiative to upgrade our corporate identity, as well as others. She complimented the strong 2022 executive leadership team, explaining that a shift to a teamwork approach allows each officer to contribute the strengths they bring, and enjoy support from the others. She announced that she will not be a candidate for president in 2023, however as immediate past president she will continue to serve as a member of the Executive Board.
She emphasized that the important work of the council is dependent on volunteer leadership and requested that everyone keep that “top of mind" in the forthcoming call for nominating committee members and 2023 officers.
Secretary’s Report Minutes from June 9th meeting were approved as written, unanimously. Mary Pope then noted that sadly, with the closure of the Sedona Village Learning Center in August of 2022, they have resigned their membership in the BPRCC. On a happier note, Mary welcomed Suzy Lambert as the new Representative for the Sundance HOA and thanked Patrick Murphy for his years of service.
Treasurer’s Report Patty Reski noted that expenses were normal, and the Treasurer’s Reports for June and July were provided to Representatives in advance of the meeting. Finances are in good shape, with reserves up from 2021. Economy measures taken by the Executive Board include a reduction in the size of the PO Box (Savings $65 annually) and an extensive review of our insurance policies, which are 35% of the BPRCC total budget. Vice President Duane Thompson has undertaken this review and it looks as though savings can be achieved without a reduction in coverage. Patty then called for volunteers to work on the 2023 Budget Committee and Nancy Maple, Bob Marriott and Dave Norton stepped up.
Unfinished Business Don Groves reported on behalf of the Strategic Plan & Leadership Development Committee noting that their first deliverable was to complete guidelines for the Nominating Committee. The proposed policy was provided to Representatives prior to the meeting. It was noted that a version of these guidelines was used by the 2022 Nominating Committee and their recommendations included in the final version. The document was approved as written with technical formatting issues to be resolved for the final copy.
Nominating Committee With praise for the Strategic Plan & Leadership Development’s efforts, Camille opened the floor for Nominating Committee appointments by the Council. Paul Sullivan, who has served twice, explained the general committee process of meetings and phone calls between now and October, when the proposed slate of 2023 officers is presented to the Council for election in November. Carolyn Fisher, Dave Norton and Ty Dejong volunteered to serve and were unanimously appointed by the Council.
Corporate Identity Mary Pope reported on the Executive Board’s proposal of a way to improve public recognition of the Council, noting that the background and professional experience of current board members with strengthening corporate identities, provides a unique opportunity to make improvements on this long-term issue. Currently the typewritten format of our corporate name is not visually memorable. She then focused on the organization’s identity within the context of local history and topography featuring Bell Rock as an anchoring visual for the Big Park/VOC community itself. An original illustration of Bell Rock created by Duane Thompson will serve as the basis for a new logo. Mary then addressed the name of the organization, noting that there are many variables of the corporate name in use. The EB recommends that BIG PARK COUNCIL be used, reserving the corporate name, Big Park Regional Coordinating Council, Inc., for official documents. She then presented visuals of a proposed logo with the name BIG PARK COUNCIL embracing the illustration of Bell Rock produced in colors affirming our locale. She noted that the pen and ink illustration and type-fonts used result in an overall effect that is a bit old fashioned and reminiscent of area’s cowboy and homesteader heritage. A question was raised on use of the logo for name tags and Mary agreed to provide examples of how this would work. Other questions involved including the date the Council was established and the general shape of the Bell Rock illustration with respect to an actual photograph. Mary then presented NOTICE of a bylaw revision to permit the name BIG PARK COUNCIL to be officially used and this was approved unanimously for a vote to be taken next month.
Community Plan: Dr Marianne Langridge, Growing Water Smart Update
As a member of the Big Park/VOC community plan committee, Marianne was invited to join the Yavapai County team that was selected for the Growing Smart program sponsored by the Sonoran Institute. She shared insights from the team’s work, highlighting the difficulties faced by counties who are limited in their ability to manage water resources. Areas that will be further explored by the team and brought forward to local communities and County agencies include incorporation of water management policy recommendations in the County’s Comprehensive Plan update and following the state legislature’s activity to create an RMA (Regional/Responsible Management Area) which would give the County jurisdiction to govern private water use.
APS Powerline: Duane Thompson reported that highlights of the United States Forest Service (USFS) Final Environmental Assessment (EA) on the APS proposed powerline will be discussed at a meeting hosted by USFS with interested parties including BPRCC on 8/30. After the final EA is released, parties that submitted comments will have 45 days to file an appeal with the regional forester in Albuquerque.
EPPiC (Emergency Preparedness Plan): Gwen Hanna reported that the committee has met with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Sedona Fire District, Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management, United States Forest Service, APS and most recently, the American Red Cross. She noted that articles on these meetings in the Villager have been well received and encouraged Representatives to read the additional details contained in the EPPiC Minutes. Gwen reiterated how impressive the communication, consistency and cooperation between the various frontline responders is. She reminded the Council that all residents need to BE READY and STAY INFORMED, noting that CODE RED provides evacuation GO information, not wildfire updates. She then noted that the committee will forward a recommendation on emergency preparedness to the Community Plan Committee on a proposed short term rental ordinance, so that EPPiC’s point of view will be included in their recommendations to the County on SB 1168. There will be no EPPiC meeting in September.
Dark-Sky: Curt Schneider reported that the committee had a request from the Cornville Community Assoc. to present Lighting Best Practices at their meeting on 10/11. He also noted that he attended the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) ZOOM meeting on the preparation of a Dark-Sky Community annual report. The committee will be part of a Dark-Sky event 8/25 at the Beaver Creek school, and he’s pleased to report that the community at large is becoming more aware of the importance of Dark-Sky compliance.
Art in the Roundabouts: Rolf Funk reported that Harvey Bershader and Lenore Hemingway have joined the committee, and new Aesthetics & Selection subcommittee members are Linda Goldenstein (gallery owner), Lisa Snowden (interior designer) and Mary Kershaw (Executive Director and CEO of the Museum of AZ). The launch event has been rescheduled for Oct 4th at VOCA and all reps and alternates will be receiving an invitation by email. If you’d like to get involved, you are asked to submit a letter of interest. Download letter here: tinyurl.com/AiRComApply. If you have questions, send email to email@example.com
Broadband Update: Tom Binnings reported that the Javelina Room of the Sedona Public Library in the Village is now available for rental. The normal rate is $50/hour, less for non-profits. It is a high-tech room with the fastest broadband in the Village. Currently 150Mbps, soon to be 500Mbps up/download. The goal is to expand this capability to other locations in the village. Tom has met with the AZ Commerce Authority and others to bring more competitive broadband into our area. They’ll try for funding via the Federal $830 million dollar infrastructure plan, and noted that additional private sector funding will also be needed. Tom is the chair-elect of the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO). Questions and comments may be sent directly to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him direct at Cell: 719-650-5898
Reminders: See the Big Park Council website calendar for a full calendar listing.
Next EB Meeting: Tuesday, August 30th, 3:00pm location TBD
Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, September 8th, 9:00am ZOOM