08 June 2022 BPC Meeting Highlights & Community News


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Located at the Big Park Community School – 25 Saddlehorn Drive, Village of Oak Creek

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JUNE 8TH, 2023

Recyling Returns to the Village!

President John Wichert welcomed Guest Speakers District 3 Yavapai County Supervisor Donna Michaels and Yavapai County Planning & Development Director Jeremy Dye.

Supervisor Michaels began her presentation with exciting news.  The Village and Cornville recycling centers closed on May 2, 2022, and she has been actively seeking replacement locations since then.  The new Cornville location is up and running, but finding a new location in the Village has proven difficult.  The breaking news is that Marty Aronson has agreed to have a recycling center within Vista Village which is on the corner of SR179 and Jacks Canyon Road.  Additional details will be available soon.  The center will be for paper, plastic, and cardboard.  Research has shown that glass recycling creates noise, health and safety issues and often ends up in landfill despite recycling efforts.  Glass therefore will not be included in the new recycling center.  A concern was raised regarding the common problem of “dumping” at recycling sites and a video camera was suggested.  Supervisor Michaels appreciated the suggestion of a camera as another problem encountered with the previous site was its use as a “hang-out” location.  A camera would also discourage this practice resulting in a cleaner, safer location.

She then introduced Yavapai County Planning & Development Director Jeremy Dye, complimenting him on the improvements in the ease of public communication with the department.  Issues of communication have been raised at Big Park Council meetings in the past and Jeremy has been proactive in addressing the situation.

Communication with Yavapai County Simplified

Director Dye began his presentation by saying that he has72 full-time staff members (50 in Prescott, 22 in Cottonwood) covering the 8100 square miles of Yavapai County.  There are 6 full time code enforcement officers handling an average of 2000 cases annually.  One individual is dedicated to the Verde Valley/Big Park/VOC.  Code enforcement is complaint driven.  Officers respond and investigate complaints; they do not go out looking for violations.  He noted that there are 4 ways to submit a complaint to his department.

  • Come into either office
    • Prescott:1120 Commerce Drive, Prescott, AZ 86305
    • Cottonwood:10 South 6th Street, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

He then explained that they can react to complaints about building code, zoning, dark-sky, and unpermitted work violations.  They cannot respond to complaints about noise, CC&R violations or structures considered to be ugly.  With respect to noise, he suggested calling the Sheriff’s office (e.g. Disturbing the peace).  As far as ugly structures are concerned, he noted that so long as they are safe and healthy, style and aesthetics are not an enforceable issue.

Director Dye then illustrated how the various aspects of the Planning & Development website work taking the Council through the process step by step. (yavapaiaz.gov/devserv)

In answer to a question on updating the Dark-Sky ordinance, Director Dye noted that they’ve just hired a planning manager with over 20 years of experience and are still interested in working with the Big Park Council on the ordinance update, hopefully soon.

Director Dye then explained their award-winning program called “A Home of My Own.” In response to the current workforce housing crisis, Development Services has designed three single family home plans that are available for anyone to use as plans to build their home within Yavapai County’s jurisdiction. The plans are FREE! 48 permits for new homes using this program have been issued within the past two years.

Protect Your Home from Wildfire

President Wichert welcomed guest speaker Chief Dori Booth, Fire Marshall from the Sedona Fire District (SFD).

Chief Booth began her presentation with a 5-minute IBHS video of an Ember Storm demonstration to help the community better prepare to protect their homes from wind driven airborne fire embers.  (Disastersafety.org is an excellent resource, as is the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, IBHS.org). Critical areas of ignition danger include flammable vegetative debris in rain gutters, untreated wood shake roofing, wood lap siding. Gable mesh screening larger than 1/8” allows embers to enter as do fiberglass window screens, which are flammable.  The video noted that Class A rated roofs such as asphalt shingle, metal or terra cotta tiles act as a barrier to flames entering the home.

She then emphasized the cooperative and collaborative process by which the SFD, United States Forest Service (USFS), Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO), Sedona Police Department (SPD) and Yavapai County Planning & Development Department (YCPDD) work together to prevent/mitigate fires as well as to fight fire and evacuate residents.  She cited Firewise preparation as an excellent way for private residents and communities to prepare for wildfire and minimize its impact. (Firewise.org).  Chief Booth explained the Home Ignition Zones (HIZ) on the illustrations noting the importance of maintaining a defensible space around a residence and a 3ft clear access area around fire hydrants.

She mentioned that although juniper trees are beautiful, they are extremely flammable and should not be planted near a residence.  Although clear-cutting the property is NOT a recommendation, trees should be adequately spaced to avoid fire jumping between the treetops and flammable shrubs growing under the trees should be removed so they do not become “ladder fuels” to ignite the trees.  Chief Booth noted that coordination between the Homeowner, YCPDD, and SFD to establish a defensible space landscaping prescription, especially when the removal of trees and otherlands caping requirements are necessary, will help to ensure violations for Planning and Zoning do not incur.

In the event of a fire, law enforcement (YCSO in the Village, SPD in the City of Sedona) is responsible for the execution of an evacuation.  The SFD participates in the Ready-Set-Go program and encourages residents to be prepared. Chief Booth cited inciweb.nwcg.gov as an excellent resource to track wildfires and prescribed burns across the country.  All information shared across the government websites is the same.

Chief Booth agreed to continue to come to the Big Park Council meetings and asked that presentation topics be sent to her ahead of time.

President John Wichert thanked Chief Booth for her time and excellent information noting that the information would be shared among our member organizations and also with the Council’s general public mailing list and social media resources.

Big Park Council Regular Business Meeting

Roll Call: Secretary Mary Pope called the roll and recorded 14member organizations present and 6 guests.

President’s Report: President John Wichert then called for approval of the meeting agenda, and on a motion by Carolyn Fisher, seconded by Paul Sullivan, the agenda was unanimously approved.  He then introduced Fred Lenz, who has recently volunteered to be the Council’s technical consultant on electronic meetings and communications.  John noted that Fred approached the Council because of an article in the Villager calling for help.  A retired attorney, Doug Fitzpatrick also joined the APS Transmission line subcommittee because of an article in the Villager.

Secretary’s Report: Mary Pope noted that there were no changes to member organizations or representatives and then asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the May 11th meeting and hearing none, called for a motion to approve them as written. Carolyn Fisher so moved and Pat Robles seconded.  The minutes were unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report:  John Wichert presented the Treasurer’s Report on behalf of Patty Reski. The second part of the anonymous donation toward the new website has been received and the website developer paid.  One final payment will be made when the site is completed and approved.

Unfinished Business:  John then noted that although there is unfinished business, these topics are postponed until July because today’s meeting is lengthy.

Committee Reports

Art in the Roundabouts:  Rolf Funk presented the Art in the Roundabouts Committee (AiR) report announcing that their meeting on June 1st welcomed John Wichert and Lisa Snowdon as guests.  The AiR survey on artistic themes received 169 responses (with thanks to the BPC for publicizing it!)  Results were 86%positive, 11% wanted no artwork at all on the roundabouts and 11% recommended removing the suggested flagpole. Additional details will be posted to the AiR website next week and a link provided.  (OurVillageArt.org) The committee concluded that there is strong community support for their recommended themes and will move forward with a call for entries based on the themes as described in the survey.

Membership: Colleen Hinds presented the Membership Committee report on behalf of Dennis Bauman.  She showed examples of the two fliers being prepared to help inform the community on the work of the Big Park Council, and how to get involved.  They’ve also prepared a general information flier “Welcome to the Village.”  She thanked John Wichert for his help in creating the fliers.  Help with printing and distribution are needed and volunteers are welcome.  Distribution of the fliers will coincide with the launch of the BPC new website.  Colleen then noted that in addition to the Council’s Facebook page, we are now on NextDoor and Instagram.  A Social Media Correspondent is needed to help manage these sites and a volunteer will be most welcome.  The committee is also looking for someone to create maps to show the community what areas are represented by the Big Park Council, how to get in touch with their Representatives, and what areas are not covered.  She noted that a list of ideas is being worked on to help Representatives communicate with their constituents and a once a month coffee meet and greet that the committee would like to start in the fall.

Emergency Preparedness: Mary Pope presented the Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee (EPPiC) update on behalf of Gwen Hanna, noting that although the committee had completed its assignment of creating a repository of information, they would remain together to help the website committee beta test the site, assuring that the emergency information repository was complete and simple to navigate.

Website: Pat Robles presented the Website Committee’s progress to date noting that all content had been received, with many thanks to all who provided content and photographs as well as to those who’ve helped edit the content.  Sedona Website Design is now populating the site with this content on a staging server so that the committee can do preliminary evaluations including ease of navigation.  The next step will be to have the site available to beta test, hopefully before the next Big Park Council meeting.

Planning & Zoning:  Jeff Swan reported on behalf of the Planning & Zoning Committee at the request of President Wichert, noting that the Las Piedras HOA Board has hired an engineering firm (CivilTech) to review the existing condition of Jack’s Canyon Wash and recommend repairs that will reduce/eliminate scouring drainage during heavy rainfalls. Preliminary review is expected to be completed within the next 3-4 weeks and recommendations should fall within a scope of repair that will not require the Army Corp of Engineers involvement.  He noted that together with the BPC, Las Piedras is closely monitoring progress on the environmental assessment by a private firm hired by the Patels so that their loan would be guaranteed by the USDA for the lot on the SE corner of SR179 and Jacks Canyon Road.  He noted that the private Environmental Review was dismissive of flood concerns. USDA will not give their final approval until after Yavapai County Planning & Development approves construction plans.  Jeff mentioned concerns that paving the property for parking would negatively impact drainage, are lessened by a county requirement that a developer cannot increase water flow outside of their property.  There would therefore need to be a retention/detention facility built within the property.  During discussion, Jeff was asked to keep the Council updated on Las Piedras’ progress.

John Wichert thanked the committee presenters noting that Steve Fiedler will be resigning as liaison for VVTPO and that a replacement is needed.

The public meeting was adjourned at 10:24 am, members of the public were asked to leave and the Council moved into Executive Session to discuss a legal matter.

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