11 May BPC Meeting Highlights & Community News

COMMUNITY NEWS

Zoom Meeting Highlights follow, keep scrolling down!

MEMORIAL DAY CELEBRATION – MONDAY, MAY 29TH

The Sedona Area Veteran & Community Outreach organization with the support of the City of Sedona will conduct Sedona’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Sedona Military Park located within the Jack Jameson Memorial Sculpture Park, 25 Northview Rd Sedona, AZ Monday May 29th from 0900-0945. Members of the Civil Air Patrol Verde Valley Composite Squadron 205 and the Sedona Police Cadets will participate as well.  SAVCO member and retired US Army Colonel Al Cornell will be the Master of Ceremonies with SAVCO Vice President Mark Cary serving as the guest speaker.

Tradition will be honored with the presence of Bugler Captain Dean Cathcart, Sedona’s Tom & Shondra will perform as well as a special guest appearance of Nashville recording artist Samantha Cary performing the National Anthem.

A large shade tent and seating from Verde Events will be provided as well as wreaths from Mountain High Flowers. SAVCO invites all citizens of Sedona to join them in acts of gratitude and service that lift up all veterans, express pride in country and community, and support future generations.  For more information contact SAVCO President Jack Ross at savco89a@gmail.com     Click HERE to view or download a PDF of the press release for this event

HOLD THE DATE: September 30th

REMINDER:  Our Village Library will host the successful Novel Night fundraiser again on September 30th. Dinner hosts & sponsors are needed.  This year the group party, raffles and costume contest will be before the dinner parties so as not to rush the diners. Watch the library’s website for more information.  Click HERE to view or download the May Sedona Public Library newsletter.

Click HERE to view or download a PDF of the May Sister Cities newsletter highlighting a visit from the mayor of Canmore Canada and his wife,

City of Sedona Nixle Alert:  ADOT has completed the first phase of road work on the paving project along State Route 179. To accommodate resident and visitor needs, work will resume on a second phase tentatively scheduled for June 5-8, 2023. This work is expected to take place after 6 p.m. More updates closer to the construction date to come. BPC Note: We believe that this alert refers to the area of SR179 between the Y and the Village. Go to AZ511 for the latest information

Click HERE to view or download the 9-page 5/12 Local News PDF document.  Click HERE to view or download the 5-page 4/17 Business Bulletin PDF document.

Notice of Public Hearing and Special Meeting

Red Rock Road Enhancement Maintenance District (RRREMD) – May 24, 2023 – 2:00pm via ZOOM

Click HERE to view or download a PDF including the Zoom link, proposed 23/24 Ad Valorem Tax, meeting agenda and contact information to file objections.

BIG PARK REGIONAL COORDINATING COUNCIL

MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

MAY 11TH, 2023

Call to Order: President John Wichert called to meeting to order at 9:00am.  He reviewed the agenda asking if there were any changes, hearing none, the agenda was approved by acclamation.

Roll Call: Secretary Mary Pope called the roll confirming a quorum of 14 member organizations present and 5 guests.  During the meeting 2 additional member organizations joined as did 2 additional guests.

President’s Report: President John Wichert announced several new appointments.  Dennis Bauman will be the new Chair of the Membership committee, Tom Binnings will be Chair of the Community Plan committee (Co-Chair to be announced later) and Fred Lenz will assume the new role of Technical Consultant. John noted that Dennis will replace Nancy Maple who has had to step down and that Tom will be reconvening the Community Plan committee with an eye to developing a plan that becomes a living document.  He also noted that Fred, a retired Chief Information Officer of a large engineering company, stepped up to volunteer because of the call for help in last month’s Villager article.

John then reported that at the request of the Council last month, he approached Fire Chief Dori Booth, the SFD Fire Marshall, to revive the Fire District’s monthly reports to the Council.  She agreed, asking for examples of the types of issues that would be of interest to the Council.  Examples of issues can be sent to BigParkCouncil.inquiry@gmail.com or directly to the Executive Board. Chief Booth also agreed to provide updates for the new website.  John will also approach the Sheriff’s Office for monthly updates to the Council.

At the request of David Gill, John wrote to ADOT on their planned safety study on the intersection of SR179 and I-17.  The intersection is due to be refurbished in2026, and he reminded ADOT of continuing safety issues in the interim.  In 2022 ADOT had responded to BPC promising a safety study and potential interim steps to address these issues.

John reminded Representatives that they should be reporting on BPC activities to their Member Organization and bringing any concerns that are expressed by their member organization back to the Council. There have been several instances where residents expressed concerns that information is not being distributed to them.

Secretary’s Report:  Mary Pope asked if there were any additions, corrections, or changes to the BPC minutes of the 4-13-23 meeting and hearing none, on amotion by Pat Robles, seconded by Carolyn Fisher, the minutes were unanimously approved as written.  Mary then reminded the Council that we have lost one member organization (Cathedral View 2), noting that their Representative hadn’t attended a Council meeting for nearly two years and that the HOA Board was unclear as to the value of membership.  In response to an outreach from John Wichert, they’ll keep informed of BPC activities and could possibly rejoin in the future.

Mary extended a warm welcome to the returning Firecliff Alternate Christine Sturgeon who was at the meeting representing her member organization.  Mary then reminded the Council that the ACC Annual Report has been filed.

Treasurer’s Report: John Wichert reported on behalf of Patty Reski.  Patty had added notes to the April report provided to Representatives outlining major receipts and expenditures.  A refund has been received from GoDaddy as the Community Plan and Dark-Sky websites were closed for migration to the new BPC website.  He also pointed out that an anonymous donor is funding the website development and that the first payment was made.

New Business – Yavapai County College District: Truth in Taxation Hearing:  As a former member of the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee for Yavapai College’s District Governing Board and YC adjunct teacher, Carolyn Fisher lead the discussion on increasing taxes and the slowly diminishing service to the communities on this side of Mingus Mountain. She noted that there had been an advisory committee representing our area which was disbanded by the College’s governing board and that although a technical center was opened on the Verde campus, programs have diminished, and the campus is underutilized. There is a new Dean of students for this area, but no meeting with representatives of the area has occurred. Carolyn expressed concern that with the proposed 5% tax increase, no additional local coursework was mentioned. The Verde side of Yavapai County is not supported to the extent we are taxed, and a question was raised as to the need for an increase with the college having $32 million in reserve funds.

Residents were encouraged to speak up and express their concerns. Although there is no apparent mechanism for public input, the emails of the Board of Governors are listed on their website. (https://www.yc.edu/v6/district-governing-board/index.html). These will be included in the BPC Highlights report.  During discussion, it was felt that a more unified regional approach would be more effective, as well as seeking the support of our County Supervisor.  For example, the Sedona facility is underutilized despite espoused plans to create a culinary institute there.  John Wichert will contact neighboring communities.  Colleen Hinds shared her experience with a Community College in California noting that a plan was needed to be able to show the college what courses are needed in our area.  It may be possible to partner effectively with Department Heads rather than the Board of Governors if we were able to show a clear demand for particular coursework. Carolyn Fisher will put Colleen in touch with the local advocacy group.  Another idea is for BPC to survey the community on enrollment and coursework needs to be able to build a strategy for future educational needs.  Colleen further noted that enrollment is down across the country and that the situation is not unique to Yavapai County.  She also pointed out that enrollment doesn’t necessarily have to be in the classroom.  Alternatives are possible.

Click HERE to view/download a PDF copy of President John Wichert’s letter to the community with Yavapai College Governing Board contact information.

Unfinished Business: Colleen Hinds welcomed Dennis Bauman as the new Chair of the Membership Committee and noted that the committee will get together soon. Confirmed committee members are Colleen Hinds, John Wichert and Dennis Bauman. She was unsure if current committee members Garey Schmidt and Peggy Hutson would continue as they’ve not responded to her emails and may consider their task done with the rewriting of the committee’s purpose and scope.

Committee Reports:

  • Planning & Zoning:
    • The Verde Valley School Conditional Use Permit was approved by the Board of Supervisors as recommended by the Yavapai County Planning & Zoning Commission.
    • Patel property (SR179 & Jacks Canyon Rd) request for Federal flood plain mitigation funds.  John Wichert noted that he wrote to the Department of Agriculture regarding this request and received a 391-page document in return.  Two pages of the document reference the floodplain issue, beginning on page 22. He will provide an excerpt from the report for the meeting Highlights.   John showed a map of the area in question, and it was apparent that the Patel property is upstream of Las Piedras, who already are struggling with flood issues in their wash. He shared the information received with Mike Weinhardt, President of the Las Piedras HOA. It was also noted that the APS Substation is within the floodplain adjacent to the Patel property. A question was raised regarding the proposed hotel car park paving being a contributing factor towards additional flooding downstream.  It was noted that the Credit Union asking for the loan to be federally guaranteed is acting on behalf of the Patels.  Before flood mitigation takes place, the Yavapai County Flood Control District and Planning& Development Departments must review and approve the plans with required public commentary. FEMA will also be involved if flood waters are diverted by the modifications.  Concerns were raised about possible county spending on flood mitigation, noting that the multiple residences affected in Las Piedras should be given priority over a single commercial venture.  Click HERE to view or download a PDF of the 3-page excerpt from the 391-page USDA Rural Development Environmental Report on this property (including the local flood plain map)
    • Website Committee & EPPiC:  Pat Robles spoke on behalf of the website and emergency preparedness committees confirming that the Council has signed a contract with Sedona Website Design, and the committee has been working with Matt Schaefer.  A sitemap has been put together to envision the flow of information and ease of use.  The sitemap serves as a foundational skeleton for the development of content.  Pat noted that the Emergency Preparedness committee has completed and submitted its content with thanks to Gwen Hanna, Art Bertolina and Mary Pope.  Completion of the website will depend upon receipt of content from the other committees. She envisions the website acting as a virtual townhall for the community; a first stop for local information.
    • APS Transmission line:  Duane Thompson reminded the Council that the VOC substation is partially on a floodplain and would be difficult to re-locate.  He then noted that as of 5/9/23, key deadline dates for the proposed new transmission line as cited by the Forest Service are:
      • 7/28/23 The Coconino National Forest (CNF) will make an internal decision on the final route of the transmission line between McGuireville and VOC substations.
      • 10/28/23 CNF publishes final DRAFT decision which will trigger a 45-day comment period.
      • 1/26/24 Regional forester issues final decision (may delay 30 days to address objections).
      • 2/11/24 (or 3/10/24) CNF publishes final Environmental Assessment (Final decision on the APS powerline)

Duane noted that if more of the line is not buried, as proposed by CNF, the committee will likely appeal the decision on behalf of the BPC.  He then showed a map of the CNF preferred route for the powerline noting that as of 8/30/22 extensive sections of the route along Beaverhead Flat Road would be buried as would a short section of powerline crossing SR179 along the existing powerline route. Since that time, the committee and KSB met with the new USFS Supervisor in mid-February suggesting an alternative route that would follow Beaverhead Flat Road to SR179 and then north instead of along Kel Fox Trail.

Another area of concern is the powerline’s path through the VOC itself.  Current 55 ft poles would be replaced by the larger 65 ft poles.   The USFS has no jurisdiction over this area as it is private property.  APS has estimated that burial of a powerline costs an average of $7 million per mile. One thought for burial on private land is to create a local tax district (like RRREMD) to pay for burial and maintenance.

During discussion a question was raised about possible loss of our federal Scenic Byway and All-American Road designation along SR 179 if the taller power poles are installed.  John Wichert noted that the USFS is aware of these concerns.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:31am