Big Park Regional Coordinating Council
MARCH 9TH, 2023
Call to Order: President John Wichert called the meeting to order at 9:02am welcoming guest speaker Duane Thompson.
Guest Speaker: Duane Thompson of the Big Park Council (BPC) APS Transmission Line Subcommittee.
Duane brought the Council up to date on the meeting Feb 17 with the new Coconino National Forest (CNF) Supervisor, Aaron Mayville, Red Rock District Ranger, Amy Tinderholt and other staff at the CNF’s main office in Flagstaff. In attendance representing the Council were John Wichert, President, BPC; Duane Thompson, chair, APS Transmission line subcommittee; and Mark Lawler, board member of Keep Sedona Beautiful (KSB). Duane stated that the new supervisor was receptive and appeared open to reviewing the possibility of rerouting a segment of the transmission line away from Kel Fox Trail as well as more environmentally friendly alternatives to a new powerline such as propane-powered generators at the Oak Creek and McGuireville substations. He felt that it was time well-spent. Duane also noted that BPC had commented on the proposed APS geotechnical seismic study, noting it was scheduled before the transmission line project was approved, but the study has since been authorized by CNF and will begin soon.
Roll Call: Secretary Mary Pope called the roll confirming a quorum of 14 member organizations present and 8 guests. One additional member organization arrived at 9:30am raising the quorum to 15.
President’s Report: John Wichert announced that Immediate Past President Camille Cox has resigned her positions on the BPC Board, Alternate for the Pine Valley member organization and Chairmanship of the Community Plan committee, due to her new responsibilities of a full-time job. John expressed thanks on behalf of the BPC noting that Camille ultimately built a successful organization that can stand on its own. A very positive and rewarding legacy. She will remain on the Art in the Roundabouts committee and be available for inquiries.
The meeting agenda was unanimously approved on a motion by Bob Marriott, seconded by Joe Skidmore.
Secretary’s Report: Mary Pope asked if there were any adjustments to the BPC meeting minutes of Feb 9 and hearing none, a motion was made by Bob Marriott, seconded by Pat Robles to approve the minutes as written. Motion passed unanimously. She then noted that there are no changes to member organizations, and she was expecting a letter from Pine Valley changing their Alternate Representatives.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Patty Reski reported that 23 member organizations have paid their annual assessment and one delinquent letter has been sent. The annual fee for our Director & Officers insurance policy has been paid as have routine email charges.
501(c) 3 Status: Patty Reski reported that an attorney used by the BPC in the past was consulted and recommended that an accounting firm would best to answer the question of a change from 501(c) 6 to 501(c) 3. She then contacted the accounting firm who originally filed for BPC’s 501(c) 6 status, who recommended that Patty get in touch with Abbie Denton of Denton Accounting who has extensive experience with non-profits.
Patty then read the letter from Denton Accounting endorsing the decision to change from a 501(c) 6 to 501(c) 3 and outlining next steps. She then made a motion that the BPC continues the process to change from a 501c6 to a 501c3 at a cost not to exceed $800. Mary Morris seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.
Bylaw Revision, Article 1 Definitions, Section 1 Purpose: Mary Pope confirmed that the appropriate notice of revision was completed and asked if there were any questions or discussion. Hearing none, Carolyn Fisher moved that the revision be accepted as written and Bob Marriott seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Mary then noted that once the BPC IRS status was changed to a 501(c) 3, bylaws Article I, Section 3 would need to be revised.
Community Plan Committee Big Park/VOC Vision Statement: Community Planning committee member Joe Skidmore presented the proposed Vision Statement, which had previously been discussed at a BPC meeting June 10, 2021, and then solicited public input as well. After additional discussion the Statement was amended to read (changes are marked in red):
Big Park- Village of Oak Creek Vision Statement
Our community honors and protects its quiet, small-town feel and southwestern heritage.
We value and support low-density, low-rise, walkable development design to preserve our exceptional Red Rock views, open spaces, and cherished International Dark-Sky designation.
Priorities include the health, welfare, education and safety of residents, reliable broadband and infrastructure and access to abundant educational, recreational and cultural opportunities.
The amended Vision Statement was unanimously approved on a motion by Don Groves, seconded by Carolyn Fisher. The Vision is intended to be a guiding document for future planning and development. It was agreed that the Joe Skidmore would take the approved Vision Statement to the Community Plan committee and send it to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors before their meeting March 15 to adopt the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan.
A full review of the work done by the Community Plan committee will be presented to the Council April 13.
Website Task Force/Committee Purpose & Scope: Pat Robles, co-chair of the task force proposed the following purpose & scope.
PURPOSE: To define the requirements for and launch a BPC website that is an informational repository and dissemination vehicle for VOC/Big Park residents, visitors, property owners, business owners, educational institutions, investors, and Big Park Council Representatives.
SCOPE: 1. To define the purpose of the website with respect to each user group. 2. To identify core content categories and functionality to be included. 3. To describe parameters in website vendor selection and obtain quotes for Council approval. 4. In partnership with the vendor, determine all aspects of site design, navigation, and usability. 5. To identify website and content maintenance needs for the future. 6. Upon Council approval, to work with the selected vendor to build and populate the website.
The purpose and scope were unanimously approved on a motion by Dave Norton, seconded by Pat Robles. John Wichert will confirm appointment of the Website Committee.
Officer Evaluations: President John Wichert invited any suggestions on how officer performance could be improved to be sent to Secretary Mary Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org
P&Z – Arts & Crafts Tent Shows at Vista Village Conditional Use Permit renewal: Bob Marriott, P&Z Chair Pro-tem, led the discussion of the rapidly developed P&Z recommended comments to be sent to the Board of Supervisors before their consideration of renewing the conditional use permit (CUP) for the Arts & Crafts shows at Vista Village. Coincidentally there is a show this weekend. After much discussion, it was emphasized that conditions have changed since the 2020 CUP was approved and that there is no place on-line to report complaints of violations to the County. Violations were observed to be 17 shows held (only 15 approved to be held), signage and fire safety. Parking has become a major issue with people observed to be parking across SR179 and dashing across the highway to get to the show. It was also noted that there is minimal control of parking within the Vista Village complex during a show. It was also noted that the CUP appears to have been reworded to approve 50 tents as opposed to the 50 vendors initially approved. It was noted that additional vendors have been setting up tables under the overhangs without having a tent.
In answer to a question on why the Board of Supervisors were reviewing the renewal without P&Z review and public comment, the County answered that the CUP has been in existence since 1992 without changes and if there are no changes, notice to the public isn’t required and there is no opportunity for review by the community. The validity of that statement was called into question. It was suggested that the original CUP from 1992 be obtained to see if it is unchanged. The short timeframe before the BOS vote didn’t allow for BPC to conduct obtain comments from the community as was done in 2020, nor to do additional research and fact checking.
It was recommended that in addition to the comments and recommendations within the P&Z document, that a request for a temporary 90-day continuum be granted to allow for more community outreach before the BOS votes. A motion was made by Mary Morris, seconded by Pat Robles to submit the recommendation to the BOS with the addition of a requested for continuum included. Motion passed with one abstention. It was suggested that at the hearing, a question be asked as to where to submit complaints if violations or safety issues are observed.
To express your point of view on the Arts & Crafts shows in Vista Village, go to the Citizenserve Online Portal and register. Or email Supervisor Michaels directly at Email District 3 Supervisor (yavapaiaz.gov)
P&Z Verde Valley School Conditional Use Permit: John Wichert reported that the Verde Valley School (VVS) has adjusted their CUP request and are currently in discussion with several interested nearby neighborhood HOA’s. Again, the shortness of notice of the YC P&Z hearing was highlighted as well as this hearing being concurrent to the review of the Arts & Crafts tent show CUP, making a P&Z review and community outreach impossible. It was emphasized that although the VVS is meeting with neighbors, this is a community wide concern.
It was further noted that despite the concessions made by VVS, their letter of intent contains a request for a waiver of Section 602 gravel surface parking remained and visitors would be parking on “undeveloped” land rather than gravel. Section 602, paragraph H of the Yavapai County Zoning ordinance permits an administrative waiver when it is demonstrated that such adjustment will not result in a danger to persons or property. An undeveloped or grassy parking area represents a fire risk from overheated automobile catalytic converters, cigarettes, and the like. It is recommended that this waiver not be granted.
In answer to a question on the transferability of the CUP, it was suggested that BPC recommended the CUP be non-transferable, much like the one recently granted to Horse Mesa Ranch.
Concerns remain about traffic and safety on Verde Valley School road as the VVS shares that road with active trail heads for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
A motion was made by Pat Robles, seconded by Mary Pope to submit a summary of the Council’s discussion and concerns before the YC P&Z hearing March 16th. Points to be made include parking, traffic, safety, fire danger and community wide impact. Motion passed unanimously.
To read the official requests and comment directly to Yavapai County Planning & Development, click HERE
Art in the Roundabouts Committee (AiR): Rolf Funk, committee co-chair reported the new website “OurVillageArt.org” has gone live and that all were encouraged to take the survey on artwork themes and selection criteria. The Council directed Rolf to have the Big Park/VOC Vision Statement on the AiR website updated to the approved version. Mary Pope was asked to send a copy of the revised statement to Rolf so that he could have the revisions made. All agreed that the website was beautifully done.
Emergency Planning & Preparedness Committee (EPPiC): Mary Pope, committee co-chair reported that with the nearness in time of a new BPC website, the committee has agreed to focus on website content, looking to hold a community forum in the Spring of 2024 where we’d be able to point to the BPC website as a continuous UpToDate source of emergency preparedness and action information.
Membership: Nancy Maple committee chair, shared their brainstorming ideas on expanding the committee’s role to include expanded outreach and new member recruitment, noting that the new BPC website and social media are crucial to provide information and take the pulse of the community. She also expressed excitement on the possible change to 501(c)3 and its resultant ability to fundraise to pay for bulk mailings as an additional outreach resource.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:19am.