13 July BPC Meeting Highlights & Community News


HOLD THE DATE Friday, July 28, 9-11am Recycle Center Opening Celebration FOOD – DRINKS – MUSIC  The celebration will be held at Vista Village, SR 179 & Jacks Canyon Road  –  We recommend entering via E. Cortez DriveMore information to come.

The NOVEL NIGHT Fundraiser for our local library is 30 September 2023Dinner – Cocktails – Costumes TICKETS go on SALE – July 28 Find out more at the Sedona Public Library website.

Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Click HERE to view or download the 11 page PDF Local News from July 14th. Click HERE to view or download the 7 page PDF Business News from July 17th


President John Wichert welcomed Guest Speaker Jessica Sweeney who spoke on her idea to have a farmer’s market once a month here in the Village.  She and her husband own JesseLee’s Craft Beer Marketplace in Castle Rock Plaza.  They are unable to host a farmer’s market within Castle Rock Plaza and asked if there are other sites that would be available.  Dave Norton noted that Bell Rock Plaza would be interested in hosting a farmer’s market, and Yavapai County Supervisor Donna Michaels also expressed an interest in perhaps hosting at the Big Park School Campus.  Jessica and Supervisor Michaels will get together to discuss options and alternatives.  Criteria mentioned were public visibility, shade, and adequate facilities.  The Council expressed enthusiastic support for the idea and Supervisor Michaels complimented all of the young entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the Village and sharing their skills.

Supervisor’s Report

Supervisor Michaels expressed her appreciation that monthly public agency reports to the Big Park Council have been resumed.   Recycling Returns:  A local company (Squeeky Clean Recycling) will serve the new recycling center in the lower back parking lot of Vista Village (corner of SR179 and Jacks Canyon Road – easy access via East Cortez Drive or through Vista Village itself).  A launch party is scheduled for July 28 at 9am and several Big Park Council volunteers have stepped up to help plan, coordinate and manage the event.  Balloons, music, food and soft drinks will be provided.   She noted that the bins are wood, which will be quieter than metal, painted white and complimented Suzy Fairchild on all her hard work to bring this project to fruition. Broadband Initiative:  Supervisor Michaels noted that efforts continue to improve broadband in the region with outreaches for federal funding assistance.  RFP’s have been sent out to Broadband suppliers. Water Study:  She noted that water resources remain a priority and that she is collaborating with Big Park Water Company and the City of Sedona on a water study.  She is hopeful that legislation being prepared to give rural communities a voice and control of their resources will be considered this upcoming legislative session.  OHV Management: Supervisor Michaels was pleased to report that this issue is currently on the agenda for legislative review and that she has invited someone to visit and better understand the impact of OHV’s on the environment.  She emphasized the importance of a return to multi-use trails capable of being shared by horseback riders, bikers, OHV drivers and hikers.  There is a balance between a healthy economy and preservation of public lands.Big Park School Campus:  The Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District (SOCUSD) Board met on Tuesday July 11 and one of their decisions was to approve a Letter of Intent to continue to explore a lease/purchase agreement with Yavapai County.  The Sheriff’s Office is already moving into the facility under a separate lease arrangement.  This is part of their community engagement policy, with an intent to work together to prevent crime rather than focus solely on arresting criminals. Supervisor Michaels explained that the idea is to create a community resource center with perhaps a Court Navigator, P&Z presence for permits/complaints, Verde Valley Caregivers, Telehealth Services and a Memory Café for cognitive stimulation.  Nothing is final.  These and other ideas are being explored.


Although Board President Hawley couldn’t attend the BPC meeting, he provided John Wichert with a three-minute video update to share.  President Hawley reported that at the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District (SOCUSD) Board meeting Tuesday July 11, approvals included the contract for the new school Superintendent to begin July 24, the 2023/2023 School System Budget, changes in graduation requirements and a letter of intent for a lease/option to purchase the Big Park School Campus with Yavapai County.   President Hawley noted that the SOCUSD Board would likely also meet in August as there were many active programs to consider.  He expressed concern over social media rumors and asked that any questions be directed to him, and he would provide the latest accurate information.  He can be reached at Email: hawley@sedonak12.org

Sedona Fire District Report

President Wichert noted that Chief Booth would speak at the August 10 meeting and questions/topics should be sent to bigparkcouncil.inquiry@gmail.com

BPC Business Meeting

President Wichert called the meeting to order at 9:50 am and Secretary Mary Pope called the roll confirming a quorum with 15 Member Organizations present along with 10 guests.John began his President’s Report by welcoming Benjamin Lee as a Big Park Council Representative and the new Head of School for the Verde Valley School.   He continued with a celebration of the launch of the new Big Park Council website.  He thanked Pat Robles, Mary Pope, and all the contributors of content to the site, as well as acknowledging Dave Norton for his assistance in the brainstorming during the early stages of the project.  The website was constructed by Sedona Website Design.The website can be accessed at www.bigparkcouncil.org . 

John then called for review of the BPC meeting agenda, which was unanimously approved on a motion by Carolyn Fisher, seconded by Dave Norton.  He reported that although the Yavapai College tax increase had been approved and the Village remains underserved, Tom Binnings, President of the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) had agreed to sponsor a survey on educational needs and potential class attendance in the area.  John also noted that the new Assistant Dean for the Verde Valley Campus is on the VVREO Board, and it is hoped that this improves communication and understanding of local needs.Fliers publicizing the Big Park Council are up in numerous locations around the Village, including Clarks Market.Secretary’s Report:  Mary Pope asked if there were any revisions or corrections to the BPC Meeting minutes from June 8 and June 22, hearing none Bob Marriott moved that the minutes be approved as written, seconded by Pat Robles.  Motion passed unanimously.Treasurer’s Report:  Patty Reski reported that the usual monthly bills were paid.  In answer to a question, Patty noted that we are 3 ½ months into the IRS requested 6-month review period and have heard nothing back from them with respect to the BPC 501(c) 3 application.Unfinished Business:  At the June 22 Special Meeting, the Big Park Council was asked to act as a “Forum for Discussion and Community Engagement” regarding the potential lease and sale of the Big Park School campus to Yavapai County.   John clarified that discussion and the sharing of information between the community, the school board and the county is within the mission of the Council, and that the Council would not be involved in negotiations between SOCUSD and Yavapai County, nor negotiations with potential sub-lessees.  After discussion a motion was made by Carolyn Fisher, seconded by Bob Marriott that the Big Park Council act as a forum for discussion and community engagement regarding the potential sale, lease and use of the Big Park School campus.   Motion passed unanimously. New Business: Noise Ordinance: Susan Barber, President of Piñon Woods 1 HOA and alternate representative, reported on her research into a possible Noise Ordinance to be added as an amendment to the Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Ordinance. Her presentation summarized current local noise regulations throughout the county, noting that 65% of Yavapai County residents are covered by a noise restriction regulation. She noted that these regulations included quiet hours and noise levels, with violations being a misdemeanor or civil infraction, punishable by fine or jail time for repeat offenders.  The regulations often permitted local residential construction hours to be further limited. Susan reminded the Council that Big Park/VOC is larger than many of the communities already having regulations and a county-wide regulation would be extremely helpful.  The area is close to Sedona and a tourist destination hosting multiple outdoor events as well as being home to numerous short-term rental properties.  Discussion followed noting that noise complaints were made due to a variety of reasons, construction, business parties, commercial celebrations such as weddings as well as short-term rentals.  It was also noted that if the county added a noise ordinance, it should permit local communities within the county to be more restrictive within their own borders.  It was also noted that although last month the county suggested that the Sheriff be called in to regulate “disturbing the peace,” there was little enforcement.  It was felt that a county ordinance might encourage the sheriff to respond and although it would be slower, the county itself would be able to enforce the ordinance and keep a record of complaints.  A county response would also be considered less negative to neighbors than calling the sheriff.  A motion was made by Joe Skidmore, seconded by Don Groves to recommend to the Board of Supervisors of Yavapai County to pass a noise ordinance as an amendment to the Yavapai County Planning & Zoning ordinance, allowing local HOAs to regulate noise in a manner which is more restrictive than the base ordinance.  Motion passed unanimously.   Letter of Appreciation:  It was agreed that John Wichert should write letters of appreciation to Supervisor Michaels and Marty Aronson for returning recycling to the Village.Committee Reports:Website:  Pat Robles reported that the website was launched July 4 with thanks to John Wichert for his celebratory music video.  She noted that Mary Pope and Fred Lenz have been trained as editors of the website and especially thanked John Wichert for his leadership and the anonymous donor for the funding that allowed the website to be created.  The site is expected to serve as a community hub for information.  The quality of the content reflects the help of all who assisted in the process.  Committee chairs are asked to continue to provide updates so that the website is always up to date with the latest information.  She also asked that Mary Pope be acknowledged for her extraordinary work on the site, encompassing every aspect of site development. She noted that Mary’s contributions could not be overstated.  Pat then moved that the ad hoc website development committee be disbanded as its work was complete.  Motion passed unanimously.   Community Plan:  Joe Skidmore reported that the committee met June 28 and agreed to spend July and August compiling and reviewing documents already prepared.  They felt that no new members should be added to the committee until this process was completed.  John Wichert noted that the committee intended to convert itself from ad hoc to standing and continue the plan’s review going forward so that it remains timely and relevant.Membership:  Dennis Bauman reported that the committee has met three times and was working on additional social media sites to publicize the work of the Council.  They’re working with John Wichert on a trifold for realtors and other materials to help publicize BPC.  The committee has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday July 18 at 2pm via Zoom and welcomes volunteers to join them.  Contact Dennis, John or Colleen for details. Email: bigparkcouncil.inquiry@gmail.comAnnouncements:

  • Mary Pope announced that the La Barranca II HOA has received certification for 2023/24 from the National Firewise® USA program for having completed all of their requirements.
  • Carolyn Fisher announced that tickets for the Sedona Public Library (VOC) Novel Night fundraiser go on sale July 28.

The public meeting adjourned at 10:49am and members of the public asked to leave, and the Council moved into Executive Session to discuss a legal matter.

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