Thu, Jan. 23

Election Q&A Part 3: Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor candidate Diane Joens

Question 1: Has Verde Village outlived and outgrown its reliance on individual septic systems? Does Yavapai County government have a role in helping Verde Village acquire centralized sewage treatment service and if so, how is the best way to make that happen?

Joens: During the early 1970s about 4,500 lots were platted outside the Cottonwood city limits by Ned Warren of the Queen Creek Land & Cattle Company, named Verde Village. Many septic tanks are more than 45 years old.

To date, the Verde River has not been impacted in such a way that total maximum daily load testing (TMDL) shows pollution from the septic systems. If that happens, the Department of Environmental Quality would require reduction of the pollution source, and Verde Village would be required to construct a centralized wastewater system. This could be done with the creation of an improvement district under Arizona Revised Statutes Title 48.

The Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor would be highly involved in the process, and the board of supervisors would select the first board of directors for the political subdivision of the State of Arizona. I am also a resident of Verde Village.

Question 2: Yavapai County director of development services Steve Mauk recently said this about vacation rentals in unincorporated areas of the county: "We have had whole blocks of neighborhoods turn into short-term rentals and it really changes the character of the neighborhood." What is your position on vacation rentals? How should the county deal with them in light of SB 1350? If elected, will you lobby the Arizona Legislature to reconsider its position on SB 1350?

Joens: SB 1350, (online lodging; administration; definitions), will take effect Aug. 6. Residents against short-term rentals are worried their homes, neighborhoods and quality of life will be negatively impacted. Supporting the bill are property owners who want to use their private property for short-term vacation rentals.

Counties may create policies that manage short-term rentals by doing what the bill allows -- protect public health and safety, enforce fire and building codes, require sanitation services, structure transportation and traffic control, and manage solid and hazardous waste. The county may adopt residential use and zoning ordinances for noise, welfare, property maintenance and other nuisance issues.

This was a strike-everything bill. I object to strike-everything bills that start out with one topic and morph into a totally different bill. With legislation, one size does not fit all. Each community is unique, and local control is best. Some subdivisions have CCRs in place which have rental restrictions and those CCRs supersede SB 1350.

Question 3: Years ago, Yavapai County was involved in the highly contentious planning of alternate transportation routes between Sedona and VOC. Today, traffic congestion has reached the point of weekend gridlock in those two communities. Does Yavapai County have a responsibility to help solve that problem and if so, how do you propose it be accomplished?

Joens: In the early 1970s my cousin, Jackie Driscoll, drove me across the low water crossing at Red Rock Crossing. Years later in 1998 this issue became a hot-button topic while working for the District 3 Yavapai County Supervisor. Fast forward to 2016, 18 years later. There are more residents, more tourists, and traffic is more backed up between Sedona and the Village. Residents are frustrated. People are worried about not making it to the hospital in an emergency. Big Park parents know their 7th and 8th graders will soon be traveling to Red Rock High School on a bus-sometimes in gridlocked traffic. Red Rock Crossing is one of the most beautiful and revered places on earth. It must be protected. Still, people want solutions for an alternate road. I will collaborate with residents, Yavapai County Supervisors, Sedona, Coconino County officials and ADOT for an alternate road to connect the communities.

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