Greetings Tusayan and Grand Canyon residents and visitors,
The elk are bugling, the nights are getting cooler and we certainly have had our share of the monsoon rains this year. We welcome all the hunters to our area and wish them success and safety. We appreciate their business.
The town has a lot of projects underway or about to be started. The clearing of trees for the future ball fields will start next week up at the Town Park. With the help of volunteers and a team from Coconino Rural Environment Corps, the removal of trees to make way for soccer and baseball fields is planned to take advantage of a special opportunity. As usual, a number of entities will donate their equipment and labor to assist in moving our park plans forward. Thank you to all.
Last week the town council released a draft copy of an amendment to the Stilo Development Agreement (a copy can be found on the town website under Agenda for the Special Meeting 9/25/2103). The council has been working with the developers for almost a year to make modifications to the document that encourages a faster pace for their efforts, makes the town the applicant for the Forest Service Access (thus more input), requires the transfer of the first 20 acres of land to the town upon signing and sets some clear timelines for the balance of work and funding to take place.
The amendment document provides for some early limited development at Camper Village, provided funding for infrastructure to Kotzin and housing for new Camper Village employees takes place. The thought is that initial commercial development will create jobs and tax revenues to assist with future affordable housing plans. The responsibilities for the developer to provide water, wastewater treatment, traffic studies and other significant information before there can be any development at Kotzin or Ten X, has not changed. The Forest Service Access Approval process remains the same, the town will just have more input as the applicant.
One might ask why the council is considering the modifications at this time? We saw the forward movement by the developer as stalled and our goals of having affordable housing soon being impacted. The town entered into the original agreement to get land to develop affordable housing for our residents and improve our quality of life. We remain committed to that goal and are striving to make it happen. Our residents should be aware that while we are dedicated to accomplishing this goal, we will not do so without considering the impacts to the town or our resources, which includes Grand Canyon National Park and our forests. In other words...NOT at all costs. Your council has been weighing each item of change to be sure it is the right course of action, not just for today, but for the future of our community. Each change needs to move us forward, not backward or diminish the value of our goals.
The council is dedicated to having an open and transparent process, and that is why we have released the document ahead of making any decision. This is a draft document and we are open to receiving written and oral input. The council has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall for comments from the public. The council will then consider the input, make appropriate changes and then forward the document to Stilo. The developer has been provided a copy and may make comments as well. We have been meeting with them for many months and have negotiated this amendment to reflect the spirit of those meetings. The council has met and reviewed the pieces in executive session many times in order to give the town's negotiating team direction. A decision has not been made and will only be made by the council in open session when it is ready to do so. Our feeling is that the council wants this to be a win/win for both the town/residents and the developer. If they aren't successful, then the town won't be either. We welcome our community's input to be sure we are moving in the right direction and manner to achieve our goal of affordable housing for our residents.
We sincerely hope the National Park Service (NPS) will look at this in a partnership way and help us do the best job possible with positive input, while holding us accountable. The housing we seek would be available for the NPS, concessionaire staff, Forest Service, as well as our current residents. We are one large community, seeking to meet the needs of our residents and improve our quality of life.
In addition, the town has released a new draft of the Tusayan General Plan to neighboring entities that are asked to provide comments during the next 60 days. A copy of the draft can be found on the town's website www.tusayan-AZ.gov for anyone to review. The plan is to review the comments and then hold another town hall for final changes later this year.
We look forward to hearing from our residents.
Mayor, Town of Tusayan