6 June Big Park Council Meeting Highlights

 Public Agency Speaker:  Donna Michaels, Yavapai County District Supervisor  Supervisor Michaels explained her position with respect to a number of issues facing the Village.  She began with the proposed APS Oak Creek to McGuireville 69KV Power Line Project, noting that while we need to have power available, it is important that local utilities embrace stewardship of the environment and public safety by preserving our iconic scenic views, and mitigating the potential fire dangers that a substation and overhead wires present.   She then reviewed the water crisis facing rural Arizona and the steps taken by the Board of Supervisors in their Proclamation in Support of Water Certainty, encouraging residents to join in the process and to testify before the state legislature on the critical need for the creation of a rural groundwater management area.  Click HERE to download a copy of the Board of Supervisors Proclamation in Support of Water Certainty.   She feels that Yavapai County has made a commitment to the community with respect to recycling and is working to find a way to reinstate the recycling centers that were closed.  The damaging behavior of OHV’s is an issue that is being addressed by the creation of a powerful four-minute video that OHV users are now required to watch, and sign that they understand the terms of vehicle use. Supervisor Michaels would like to see on Verifiable Violations that a fine be imposed similar to the way they charge you if you roll over an OHV.  The funds collected from these fines would be used to restore the damage to the land.  Click HERE to view the video.  Finally Supervisor Michaels acknowledged the importance of broadband internet to the area and noted a later BPRCC agenda item updating the progress.

Public Agency Speaker:  Isaac Dudley, Flows Project Manager, Friends of the Verde River  Isaac explained what we can do as a citizen with respect to river friendly living noting that conservation does not end at the riverbanks.  We are all connected.  Friends of the Verde River’s mission is to work collaboratively for a healthy flowing Verde River system, noting that river flow has been declining since the 1990’s. He showed the first Verde River watershed report card and the report was not good.  One of the ways to improve is with their certification programs that recognizes river friendly homes, farms, businesses and new developments.  The goal is to inspire a culture of river friendly conservation.  A home self-assessment form is online at https://verderiver.org/river-friendly-living/

Presidents Report  Camille Cox explained that the comment period to ADOT for their plans to rebuild the bridge at I-17 and SR179 was extremely short, and a comment letter was drafted by the Executive Board on behalf of the Council stressing safety concerns and suggesting specific areas of improvement that could be done during reconstruction. Visibility of southbound traffic exiting onto SR 179 to traffic exiting I-17 northbound needs improvement, as do the acceleration and deceleration lanes of I-17 exiting northbound and entering southbound.  A copy of the letter was provided to Representatives.

Unfinished Business

Recycling Survey: Mary Pope noted the survey deadline had been extended one week, as requested, and that while the response analysis remained essentially the same, the number of respondents increased substantially.  693 responded, 86% being full time residents. 88.7% indicating that recycling is very important.  The full report has been shared with the Council representatives, Yavapai County Supervisors and Sedona Recycles.  There has also been an article published in the Villager.  Click HERE to download a copy of the final report.  We will continue to monitor the County’s progress and report back to the Council.

In-Person Meeting Survey:  Mary Pope noted that since the first survey in October of 2021, the number of Reps/Alts agreeing to in-person meetings has increased from 63% to 86% and there was a strong preference to continue meeting via ZOOM in the Summer months as people are out of town.  We will look into in-person and/or hybrid meetings in the Fall.  She noted that although no one has volunteered to manage the technology of hybrid meetings, the library may soon have the facilities and staff to do so.  A suggestion was made to change the summer meeting time from 9am to 3pm and the Council asked for more time to consider this proposed time change.

Art in the Roundabouts:  Camille Cox reminded the Council that at the May 12th meeting, they’d approved a proposed agreement between the Sedona Village Partnership (SVP) and BPRCC to jointly manage the Art in the Roundabouts project.  In presenting the document to the SVP Board, it was approved with several clarifications recommended.  Camille explained the clarifications as being: It is now called a letter of intent, not a contractual agreement, payment protocols are detailed, and an expiration date added.  With no revisions or objections to these changes, a voice vote was taken and Camille was authorized unanimously to sign the revised document on behalf of the BPRCC.

Committee Reports: 

P&Z:  Mary Morris noted that the use permit application for the Collective has been submitted to the County, but that the County has not yet listed it as having been received.  In light of the expected County action, this use permit will likely be discussed and a formal recommendation made at the P&Z meeting Friday, June 17th.  Mary noted that the use permit submitted by the Collective appears to have taken community comments from their pre-application citizen participation meeting into consideration.

APS Powerline:  Duane Thompson reminded the Council that BPRCC filed comments to USFS in January on the proposed 13.7-mile transmission line proposed to head down the Cornville Road to Beaverhead Flat to the Kel Fox trail into the Village.  A final recommendation from the USFS is expected August/September.  He noted that Senator Sinema’s staff was separately briefed as she was unable to attend the joint meeting May 11th with BPRCC, KSB, APS, Sierra Club, USFS and representatives of Senators Kelly, Rep. O’Halleran, and Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Donna Michaels. The USFS is aware that interest in this project remains high and that  the feasibility of a community microgrid is being examined.

EPPiC:  Mary Pope reported that the committee met with four representatives of the USFS regarding their role in fire prevention and suppression. She emphasized the extensive experience and qualifications of District Ranger Amy Tinderholt’s staff, and their level of respect and cooperation with other frontline emergency responders.  She then summarized Fire Management Officer Brian Steinhardt’s presentation. He explained that the Sedona Fire District (SFD) overlaps the boundaries with the Forest Service (FS) and that they work together in the event of a fire, with the nearest equipment responding first. Fire-fighting equipment is always on hand at the Ranger Station. He noted, however, that the SFD has sole responsibility to enter a structure and that the FS takes protective action to keep the fire away from the structure.  Fire patterns have changed with the severe drought conditions as pines and junipers are weakened and grasses have begun to grow closer to the trees.  He reminded us that the VOC is a unique environment with its proximity to the forest; but that fire danger will most likely come from neighbors and could spread into the forest. He encouraged all to subscribe to Code Red and to always be READY, suggesting that we evacuate when told SET, without waiting to be told GO.  He also encouraged all to be Firewise around their property and to be aware of ignition sources on our homes, such as pine needles on the roof or gutters which could be ignited by a burning ember. When asked what advice he would give our community he responded “Don’t believe it can’t happen here”.

Dark-Sky: Curt Schneider reported that the Star Party held May 22nd at the Hilton was attended by over 150 people and was a great success. He explained that Yavapai County is working on the Comprehensive Plan and that action on updating the lighting ordinance is on hold until the plan is finished.  A Star Party will be hosted at the Yavapai College Cottonwood campus at 8pm June 28th and all are welcome to attend.

Strategic Plan & Leadership Development:  Lenore Hemingway reported that with the help of several Representatives, the committee has completed their SWOT analysis, and at their meeting on June 27th would be finalizing a guidance document for the Nominating Committee.  This document will be sent out to the Council to review prior to voting on it at the July 14th meeting.  Lenore emphasized that the document is for guidance only, and not bylaws type obligatory rule structure.  She noted that they are also working on a two-year roadmap for leadership development within the Council.

Art in the Roundabouts:  Rolf Funk reported that the articles on the project ran this month in two local papers. He apologized that the launch party had to be postponed to a date later this summer.  Those interested in serving on the committee can download the letter of interest application by clicking HERE or email info@bigparkcouncil.org to request a copy.

USFS: Paul Sullivan explained that the USFS is actively tracking forest conditions and although the weather has been extreme, they are not currently planning to close the national forests as they have improved resources available to handle a fire emergency and all weather indications are that we will have a normal monsoon this season.  A two week notice period precedes any closure of the national forest.  Paul also noted that we’ll soon hear about plans to mitigate damage to the forest caused by OHV’s.

VVTPO:  Camille noted that Steve Fiedler’s report was sent out to representatives in advance of the meeting.

Reminders:  See the BPRCC website for a full calendar listing. 

Next P&Z Meeting, Friday, June 17th via ZOOM

Next EB Meeting: Tuesday, July 5th, 3:00pm location TBD

Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, July 14th, 9:00am ZOOM