Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Interview with Supervisor Donna Michaels

A local station recently interviewed our District 3 Supervisor, Donna Michaels.  In the interview she addresses many of the hot topics that impact the Big Park Region, and solution approaches.  Well worth your time.  Of key interest is what the County can and cannot do to help with protection of public lands, water and the value of community plans.

 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rsFGMtxo6_zoiK5s0rdFSgdUzb8d3Nbz/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, November 18, 2021

November Meeting Highlights

Recommended Read on our Local Water Supply:  A recent article in The View entitled “Checking in on VOC Water Supplies” explains how the Colorado River water shortages will affect the Verde Valley and the VOC, and how the Supai Formation creates our local aquifer.  It emphasizes golf course water usage and notes that the Oak Creek Country Club golf course uses as much treated effluent water as is available, rather than rely solely on fresh well water. Reporter Scott Schumaker kindly provided a link to the article: http://www.redrocknews.com/2021/11/05/checking-in-on-voc-water-supplies/

Covid Booster Shots:  For information on the locations and availability of COVID-19 vaccination shots and boosters, click the link below to go directly to Arizona Department of Health Services.  Information can be viewed as a map or in text format.  https://www.azdhs.gov/covid19/vaccines/index.php#find-vaccines 

MEETING HIGHLIGHTS: November 11th

President’s Report  Camille summarized a recent meeting with Supervisor Donna Michaels, highlighting Donna’s active policy initiatives to improve protection of public lands, including mitigating negative impacts of Off Highway Vehicles (OHV), homelessness and trash.  Camille also informed the Council that Supervisor Michaels is amenable to another public forum to discuss these issues with the Community, such as the one the Council hosted in June.  Camille thanked the Nominating Committee for its incredible outreach efforts to contact Representatives and other potential officer candidates.  She then noted that the official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new VOC library branch was a wonderful event on an absolutely beautiful autumn day.  There are spaces within the library for meetings which may be reserved.  Camille suggested that people read the excellent article in the View on the current status of water supply for the VOC. Kevin O’Conner clarified that the water used by VOCA for its golf course is treated, although it is not drinkable.  VOCA re-uses as much water as they can for the golf course.   

Secretary’s Report  Mary Pope reported no changes to membership or member organizations.

Treasurer’s Report Patty Reski presented the Budget vs. Actual for October explaining the additional charge of $180 to the Sedona Chamber of Commerce ($150 annual dues and $30 initial processing fee). 

Unfinished Business

a. 2022 Annual Assessment (Dues):  An increase to $160 effective January 1st 2022 was discussed and approved by the required 2/3 vote of the Council.

b. 2022 Annual Budget was discussed and approved by majority vote of the Council.

c. 2022 Officer Candidates for Secretary & Treasurer:  In response to a question on the nominating process, Lenore Hemingway explained the research done by the committee and the selection criteria.  Timing and requirements for the published article in The Villager on candidates was also clarified.  After this discussion, Mary Pope and Patty Reski were elected Secretary and Treasurer respectively, by enthusiastic Council acclamation, for another one year term.  A 10-minute break was called by President Camille Cox for Council Representatives to respond to an electronic email ballot vote for the Vice President position. Candidates were Dave Norton and Duane Thompson.  The meeting reconvened and Duane Thompson declared winner. 

d. Call for Committee Members:  Camille announced 2022 opportunities to serve on BPRCC Committees.  Participation is open to Representatives, Alternates and members of the public.  Committees and volunteer opportunities are listed below.  For additional information email info@bigparkcouncil.org

i. Emergency Preparedness Plan Information Committee (EPPiC), meets monthly

ii. Planning & Zoning Committee, meets monthly unless there are no applications in process

iii. Community Plan Committee

iv. Website Support, volunteer position / not a committee

v. Meeting Support, volunteer position / not a committee

vi. Audit Committee, short assignment in each February

vii. 2023 Nominating Committee, short assignment Aug-Oct each year

New Business 

Camille reviewed the latest information on the Secret 7 Trails which is being promoted by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the Forest Service via new trail maps.  The public comment period on the Secret 7 Trails was pre-COVID. It was apparently very low key as no-one at the meeting recalled seeing or hearing about it. The intent of the promotion is to redistribute hikers and bikers to lesser used trails. Increased bicycle traffic is already being noticed  on Jacks Canyon Road (which does not have bicycle lanes), illegal parking on Lee Mountain Road, and trespassing on and damage to private property, as hikers look to find short-cuts to get to the trails.  It was also noted that apps such as All Trails promote unapproved social trails as well as USFS approved trails. A suggestion was made to approach the Sheriff on parking and trespass issues.  In addition, it was observed that OHV’s are increasing along Verde Valley School Road with the resultant increased noise levels.  The Public Comment period on the USFS expanded transit system closes November 19th and all are urged to express their point of view directly to the USFS.  E-mail to comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@usda.gov (include “Trailhead Transit” in the subject line)

Committee and Other Reports

a. Nominating: Lenore Hemingway, Chair, reviewed a proposed Bylaw change (officially noticed prior to the meeting) to have all officers serve with the same term limit of four years. Currently, the President and Vice President are restricted to two consecutive one-year terms, and the Secretary and Treasurer are allowed to serve four consecutive one-year terms.  There was much discussion around the current unacceptable situation of the Council asking the President to continue to serve in an un-elected capacity; as well as the absence of a succession plan. Succession planning is the responsibility of the Council Representatives.  Increased participation on Council committees over the last two years was cited as extremely positive for future officer recruitment.  To be effective, an officer needs to know and understand the mission of the organization and its bylaws. It was agreed to address the current situation and future succession planning separately, as a practical process.  There will be a Council vote on the proposed bylaw revision in December. During the discussion, the positive direction the Council is heading under Camille’s direction was emphasized, and the importance of a succession plan to continue the momentum agreed.  A suggestion to re-establish the Bylaw Committee to look into succession planning was well received with volunteers including Phil Feiner, Lenore Hemingway, Don Groves, Gwen Hanna, Duane Thompson and Mary Pope stepping up.  The committee will be formally established at the December meeting and additional volunteers are welcome.

b. Planning & Zoning:  Mary Morris, Chair, noted that the USFS environmental assessment on the APS 64Kv Powerline has been postponed until the end of November.  The November 19th P&Z regular monthly meeting has been cancelled in the absence of any pending applications.

c.  Community Plan:  Camille reported that she attended the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee meeting on Nov. 10th, and that there was a reset of the County’s approach.  An expert consultant is now working with the Advisory Committee, and is already showing her expertise in the legalities around community goals, highlighting pitfalls and alternatives to accomplish agreed upon goals.  A new respect for local community input was evident, with both Supervisor Donna Michaels and Supervisor Harry Oberg advocating the importance of bottom-up input.

d.  Emergency Preparedness (EPPiC):  Gwen Hanna, Co-Chair likened the gathering of information to the gathering of ingredients for a recipe.  Much needs to be done before the recipe is complete!  She noted that the committee was making good progress and has begun to divide the information into manageable categories such as Fire, Flood, Evacuation Routes, Snow, Power/Utility outages, Equestrian/Animal rescue, Human/Social dangers and General Emergency preparedness.  As these are defined further, information that has community-wide application can be organized. The committee has also begun to generate ideas on how to disseminate the information and keep it up to date, once it is complete.  Although Gwen is willing to continue as Co-Chair, she noted her increasing responsibilities elsewhere and the need for a more active co-chair administratively. Dave Norton agreed that with his own additional responsibilities, it would be better for another Co-Chair to replace him.  Gwen thanked Dave for stepping up initially so that the committee could be created and moved forward to this stage.  Mary Pope was recommended and unanimously approved by the Council as EPPiC Co-Chair.  

Mark your Calendar

Next Executive Board Meeting: Tuesday November 30th, 2pm, location TBD

Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, December 9th, 9am, Zoom

Next P&Z Meeting: Friday December 17th at 10am, Zoom




Thursday, November 11, 2021

Coconino National Forest proposes trailhead transit expansion

 

Coconino National Forest proposes trailhead transit expansion


The city of Sedona, in partnership with the Coconino National Forest, seeks to provide mass transit shuttle services at select trailheads located within the greater Sedona area to reduce traffic congestion, overflow parking in residential areas and improve pedestrian safety.

By doing so, the Coconino National Forest puts forth a public comment period and proposed action to allow for city of Sedona mass transit shuttle services to drop off at Dry Creek, Little Horse, Mescal, Cathedral Rock and Soldiers Pass trailheads. 

The city expects shuttle service to run year-round from trailhead shuttle exchange parking lots to service West Sedona and State Route 179 trailheads, between 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, beginning in March 2022. Additionally, it is being proposed that Cathedral Rock and Soldiers Pass public parking would be closed during shuttle operations to encourage the use of the shuttle and alternative transportation. Walk and bike-in access to these trailheads would remain during transit hours and public parking and recreation access would remain open at Dry Creek, Little Horse and Mescal trailhead parking lots.

A description of the proposed action, along with maps and other information, can be found online at the following link.

Traffic and congested parking during peak visitation are frequent complaints by Sedona residents and visitors. Popular trailheads are often beyond parking capacity. Parking demand then displaces visitors more than a half mile away into undesignated areas, surrounding neighborhoods and surface streets. This traffic pattern results in resource damage, adverse public safety and diminished residents’ quality of life.

Access to popular trailheads can be improved by utilizing alternative modes of transportation for visitors who would otherwise drive their own vehicles to trailheads. A proposed transit program, operated by the city of Sedona, would offer reliable transportation to and from popular trailheads.

“I believe this joint venture between the Red Rock Ranger District and the city of Sedona will help mitigate some of the traffic congestion problems people face at trailheads and also improve safety for pedestrians across the board,” said District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “With how popular these trails have become, it will be vital to find long-term solutions such as this to allow for greater and safer access, while improving the experience for everyone in the area.”

“The city is working diligently to deploy a trailhead and microtransit shuttle system this coming spring and summer. In order to make the program a success, we believe considering trailhead parking closures during shuttle operational hours at our most popular destinations is critical. While there are still many operational details to iron out between now and March 2022, this consideration is necessary to incentivize both locals and residents to take trailhead shuttles, and to provide much needed relief to the cathedral and soldiers pass neighborhoods impacted by the current oversubscription of trailhead parking. This transit service will take cars off the road, reduce carbon emissions, and provide an easier option for those seeking to access these and other sought-after trailheads," said city of Sedona City Manager Karen Osburn.

Other points of the transit proposal include: 
  • Shuttles would operate on an approximate 15- to 45-minute frequency. 
  • Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is encouraged as an alternative transportation method. 
  • Shuttles may be increased during peak-use holidays and spring break months. 
  • To accommodate shuttle access at Cathedral Rock, a trailhead re-design would convert an existing pedestrian path to a motorized route that exits onto Back O’ Beyond Road. A new pedestrian path would be constructed. 
  • Trailhead modifications may include adding a designated shuttle stop, relocating parking stalls or closing select parking stalls during shuttle operations.

How to comment

The public is invited to provide input on the Red Rock Country Trailhead Transit and Parking Restrictions Project during a 30-day comment period from Oct. 20 to Nov. 19, 2021.
Provide written comments with “Trailhead Transit” in the subject line via:
  • E-mail: comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@usda.gov
  • Fax: (928) 203-7539
  • Regular mail: Red Rock Ranger District, Attention: Trailhead Transit, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86431
  • Hand delivered: Red Rock District Office at 8375 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351 between the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays

For additional information, please contact Recreation Special Uses Permit Administrator Mark Goshorn at mark.goshorn@usda.gov.


For more details on the city’s transit program, go to www.sedonaaz.gov/transit or contact city of Sedona Transit Administrator Robert Weber at (928) 203-5086.