Residents and business owners of Sedona are united on a variety of issues that affect living, working and our quality of life in the Red Rocks. We believe elected government officials and staff should put the needs of the Residents first, and not be manipulated by special interest groups. These are some of the specific issues and general areas of concern with our current city planners. Check back often for updates and new information.

Sedona Residents Communication Sessions – UPDATE

Sedona AZ

On October 3rd, we held our 2nd Sedona Communications Session to discuss issues impacting our town.
In the first hour, Ann Kelley presented the information shared in July with Residents – Sedona Education Session.pdf. This material covers the Sedona Community Plan, the Economic Diversification Strategic Plan and the Sedona Housing Plan. The purpose of this presentation is to make Residents aware of the Plan content and generate discussion

In July, this discussion resulted in the formation of 5 Action Teams. Since that time, these Teams have been meeting, analyzing the issues and developing ideas on how to drive actions consistent with Resident’s wants/needs.

Ann Kelley kicked off the beginning of the update – Sedona Communication Session – 10-3-21.pdf – by talking about who they are – a non-partisan group of Residents, who want to make our voices heard, willing to invest our time to understand the issues and work together to drive change. We are Residents united by our love for Sedona. Our plan is to organize under the name “Sedona Residents Unite“. We will be building a website and moving all communication under that new name.
Then the Leaders of the Action Teams provided an update on their team’s activities. They summarized the Issues and shared their proposed actions. The attendees then had the opportunity to add to the discussion.
The Teams and their Leaders are listed below:

  • OHV/ATV Issues – DeAnna Bindley/Becki Ross
  • Short-term Rentals – Debra Stangl
  • Economic Diversification – Jennifer Strait
  • Sedona Housing – Nancy Friedmann
  • Use of the Dells – Shams Teh (presentation given by Ann Kelley)

Ann Kelley finished the session by presenting the group’s Goals and Objectives and emphasizing their intent to find candidates for Mayor and 3 Councilors that align with these Goals and Objectives. These positions are up for election in 2022 and all four are needed to have a majority and begin taking back our town. Below are the Goals and Objectives presented.

Goals:Establish a City Leadership mindset that:

  • Is NOT tourist-centric seeking more and more revenue (bed tax/sales tax)
  • Fights to protect Sedona’s beauty
  • Continually asks “What is best for the Residents” 

Objectives: We want to:

  • Build an economy that supports Residents and protects the beauty around us 
  • Tap the amazing expertise within Sedona to make our city robust and more self-reliant 
  • Become a Community again

 The presentation materials is posted under Sedona Issues

Sedona Education Session Presentation Given July 14 & 15, 2021 – CLICK HERE
Sedona Resident Communication Session Given Oct 3, 2021 – CLICK HERE

Sedona in Motion / Trailhead Shuttle Plan

Sedona recreation is a major draw for visitors. This growth requires the need to implement a trailhead shuttle and micro transit concepts as soon as possible. Temporary and permanent transit shuttle exchanges are being considered. A city-owned facility is planned to be constructed between 2025 and 2026. In the meantime, temporary shuttle exchanges are being considered.

Trailhead Shuttle and Micro Transit Fact Sheet from City – CLICK HERE
Red Rock News “Sedona Modifies Trailhead Shuttle Plan” June 22, 2021 article. – CLICK HERE

Affordable Housing

Tourism jobs in Sedona are low paying jobs. Some employees are able to find an affordable rental, but that small inventory has been negatively impacted by Airbnbs.  (This map was presented by the City in 2019 showing the overgrowth of AirBnB/STRs). Currently, most employees commute from other parts of the Verde Valley.

The 2014 Community Plan recognized this, so they said “sustain, do not grow, tourism market”.  The Plan proposed bringing in high paying jobs to diversify the economy and reduce the impact of tourism slumps. Instead the City has deviated from the original Community Plan, by taking steps to continue to grow tourism and introduce new industries that have low to medium wage jobs. 

The 2020 City’s plan calls for bigger local government to manage annual spending of hundreds of thousands of City Revenue to give financial assistance toward apartment rentals and home ownership and to buy land to partner with developers to build potentially 1500+ apartment units. The commitment to a “small town feel” is gone.When do the people who call Sedona home get a vote in this Plan?  The 2014 Community Plan that we did vote on, is not being honored.  As Residents, we need to fully understand these plans, the true costs and the impact to our quality of life.  We then need to decide what action is necessary.

Sedona Existing Conditions and Gap Assessment 12/15/2020 – Download PDF Here
Sedona Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan 12/15/2020 – Download PDF Here
Sedona Community Plan Ratified 2014 and Amended 2017 – Download PDF Here
Join a Sedona Education Session to learn more about these plans – July 15 or 18 at Sedona Elks Lodge

Sedona Economic Diversification Plan

Industrial Hemp at Dells Farm in West Sedona

Sedona’s March 2020 Economic Diversification Plan concludes that Sedona’s economy is not sustainable, because it is not growing and the population is aging.  They conclude that Sedona needs new transformative projects and young families to be sustainable.  

Why is Sedona not seen as a Retirement Community versus an aging community?  Why doesn’t this plan target the needs of the retired residents like healthcare so that we don’t have to travel outside of Sedona or an assisted-living facility when we can no longer stay in our homes? 

Instead they recommend growing industrial hemp in West Sedona at the Dells Farm and establishing an Agricultural Innovation Park to advance R&D, testing and production. They recommend targeting tourism industry supply chain services in Sedona and the region.

The issue with these ideas is that they are low paying, which just worsens our affordable housing problem.  And a tourism industry supply chain service would not achieve diversification because it would impacted by a tourism slump.  And beyond this, the Planning and Zoning Commission is considering changing Uptown multi-family zoning to hotel zoning to allow a new hotel, believing that a hotel would cause less traffic than multi-family housing.

The original Community Plan voted on and approved by the Citizens of Sedona in 2014 clearly said to not expand tourism and diversify by adding high paying jobs in industries outside of tourism.  This Plan is not being honored.  As Residents, we need to fully understand these plans, the true costs and the impact to our quality of life.  We then need to decide what action is necessary.

Sedona Economic Diversification Plan Final March 2020 – Download PDF Here
Red Rock News Article “Sedona P&Z, public weigh in on Resort Plan” – Click Here

Sedona’s Climate Action Plan

Sedona Climate Action Plan

Sedona City Council adopted its first Climate Action Plan on July 14, 2021. Here is the description from the City Website – “The Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets a goal to cut Sedona’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. Reaching this target—which aligns with the international scientific recommendation for preventing the worst climate change impacts—will require involvement and commitment from the entire city. Local government, residents, businesses, and community leaders must work together to bring forth innovative and impactful solutions that work for Sedona. Protection of the environment is a city council and community priority, and is highlighted in the Environment section of the Community Plan.”

The Sedona CAP has set a goal of achieving a 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. 

So what is the source of our GHG emissions?  Energy used to power and heat our buildings make up more than three-quarters (79%) of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy used to power and move our vehicles (residents and tourists) accounts for the bulk of the remaining emissions in the city (18%).  

So how does the City Council propose to meet this CAP goal?  In order to meet the goal, Sedona Homeowners would have to do the following, but it is VOLUNTARY:

  • Replace your natural gas heating with an electric heat-pump
  • Convert your gas appliances to electric
  • Cover 60% of your roof with solar panels for electricity and heating water (requiring a larger breaker panel) 
  • Buy an electric car.

What will it cost you? The City is going to incentivize you with rebates.  The rest of the expense will be your personal investment toward saving the planet.  That includes your winter utility bill being 2-3 times higher with a heat-pump vs natural gas.

What will the City do?  The big ticket items are 1) Accelerate the development of the Sedona Trails and Pathways system so that residents and visitors have a safe and healthy alternative to driving, 2) Develop a comprehensive, city-wide transit and shuttle system that serves residents, visitors, and employees and 3) Implement a city-wide community organic waste program to compost food waste and yard waste.

What will it cost the City?  The City is committing at least $24M.  It is hard to tell from the Plan the exact estimate, but it is safe to say $24M is just the start.  The City will utilize existing City resources, grants and other external funding sources to the extent possible in implementing this plan. However, they acknowledge that full implementation of the plan will likely require new and “creative funding sources”.

Please educate yourself on this wide-ranging plan and let your elected officials know your thoughts.

Agenda for Special Session City of Sedona to Review Climate Action Plan – July 14th 3PM. Click Here
July 2020 Sedona Climate Action Plan and Packet for July 14 Meeting – Download PDF Here
Letter from 500 scientists to U.N. saying NO Climate Change Emergency – Download PDF Here
Take Keep Sedona Beautiful Environment Survey for Yavapai County 10-Year Comprehensive Plan – Click Here
Take Keep Sedona Beautiful Energy Survey for 10-Year Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan – Click here

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