TUSAYAN, Ariz. - The Stilo group is withdrawing its application with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to become a water company. Instead, the Italian developer plans to focus on its Forest Service roadway access application.
While Stilo is slowly working through the paperwork, its offered Tusayan 20 out of the 40 acres its promised the town after all development agreement requirements.
The Italian developer owns 375 acres in and around Tusayan, including Kotzin Ranch on the northwest end of town, Ten-X Ranch, located just outside the town's border and Camper Village, which the group partially owns. Stilo plans to develop the land for housing as well as other commercial buildings, including a dude ranch, hotels and cultural center.
The Tusayan Town Council approved the controversial development in November 2011, despite concerns from the Sierra Club, local business owners, the Havasupai Tribe and Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. The groups questioned the potential environmental effects and where the project's water will come from, which is something already scarce at the Grand Canyon.
The Tusayan Forest Service needs to formally accept Stilo's Jan. 3 proposal for potential road construction on Forest Service land before Stilo can move forward. The developer also needs to provide a complete course of action plan, which includes a traffic and ecological study.
"We're still working with what the Forest Service wants to see. That process may take a little longer than we thought," said Andy Jacobs, Stilo representative.
Stilo needs the ACC to approve a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) for Ten X and Kotzin. The CC&N requires the developer to name an adequate water supply prior to the approval of any site plans. But that's on hold for now.
Stilo is withdrawing its CC&N application because it believes that starting a water company is premature. However, once Stilo has completed its Environmental Review application with the Forest Service, it plans revisit the ACC application.
The move buys Stilo a little more time to focus on what Jacobs said is its top priority: the application with the Forest Service.
"At this point, we've done a lot of work behind the scenes," Jacobs said. "We've been working pretty hard to make sure when we get that opportunity to get access to our properties that we're ready to go. I know people don't see a lot of tangible progress, but we are making a lot of progress in a lot of different areas."
Even though Stilo is withdrawing its ACC application, Jacobs said they are moving closer to finalizing what their water options will be.
"It doesn't make sense to form a water company when we're not even sure what our access points will be," Jacobs said.
In the meantime, Stilo wants to deed 20 acres to the town, immediately.
"That's important because it gives the town certainty to proceed forward with housing alongside Stilo's development," Jacobs said. "The reason why Stilo is willing to deed the 20 acres over to the town now is because we want to show, in good faith, that this project is still moving forward, it's still a priority."
Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan said the town attorney, Bill Sims, has started working on the negotiation details with Stilo Group.