Letter: Applicant should go back to drawing board for Hilton Garden Inn
Editor's Note: The author of the following article is a resident of Big Park, and a member of the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council Planning & Zoning Committee.
On February 14, 2019, at a meeting at the Village of Oak Creek Fire Station, the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council recommended to Yavapai County that the application of the owners of the vacant lot located at the corner of Jack’s Canyon Road and SR 179A, to rezone the property to commercial use and to waive various restrictions to allow construction of a 3-story hotel, be denied. I was among those who spoke out against the construction of this hotel for the reasons that follow.
The objections I have to the proposed hotel begin with the fact that since 2012, despite community input to the contrary, the property owners have in one form or another insisted on building a 3-story structure that has double the density allowed by the existing zoning ordinance and, if built, would obstruct the view of the Red Rocks from persons driving SR 179 through the Village of Oak Creek. Another concern is the increase in traffic, not only at this particular intersection, but to the already existing traffic woes from the Village to Sedona.
Historically, the owners of this property were advised as far back as 2012 that they were to work with the Village of Oak Creek Association and Pine Creek Unit II property restrictions to amend the applicable restrictive covenants to set the stage for a request for a zoning change, but nothing was done by the owners.
Technically, those seeking a rezoning of property in Yavapai County are required to conduct and report a Citizen Participation Plan (CPP) pursuant to Section 209 of the Yavapai County Planning & Ordinance.
This to date has not been accomplished (although this law indicates this process be started prior to submitting a rezoning). The purpose of a CPP is to give the person or entity asking for the zoning change “an opportunity to understand and try to mitigate any real or perceived impacts their application may have on the community.”
Our Village is truly a village in every sense of the word. We are small, intimate, and friendly, enjoying a very special existence together, that we all appreciate, value, and treasure. We see each other almost daily, shop locally when we can. We choose to live in this magnificent place that makes us grateful and happy.
It is, however, apparent to me that the owners of this property are proposing to import a hotel prototype from somewhere else, designed by someone somewhere else, conceived to employ people who live somewhere else, to house short term residents from somewhere else, built by companies from somewhere else, and owned by someone from somewhere else.
No effort has been made to mitigate these concerns through engagement and negotiation with our community. The owners’ proposal makes no effort to integrate their property with its neighborhood. It represents consumerism at its worst, establishing just another commercial pocket disconnected from our community.
As a community representative, I suggest the applicant withdraw this request, begin anew with a comprehensive community engagement and public involvement process that allows careful and judicious consideration of options and which incorporates a comprehensive understanding of our community.
David H. Gill
Village of Oak Creek