TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Thu, June 27

Letter: Hotel project does not represent 'intelligent growth'

Editor:

Regarding the proposed Hilton Garden Inn at the corner of Hwy. 179 and Jacks Canyon Road, I have read the package thoroughly and have some comments.

Additional traffic is a huge concern. The thought of adding a total of 285 additional rooms in a very localized area less than 1/4 mile apart is unthinkable.

The proposed Hilton property alone will have 184 parking places. Consider all of those additional cars (285 or more including the Element) added to already problematic “highway” and dispersed among the already impacted hiking trail parking lots.

In any season but mid-winter there are constant waiting lines for parking spots at Bell Rock and Little Horse trailheads. Slide Rock and West Fork lots in the Canyon have waiting cars lined up onto highway 89 obstructing traffic flow and causing a frustrating and dangerous situation.

I envision a two-level parking structure eventually being proposed. What happened to a traffic impact study for the Element?

The very serious issue that should be dear to all of us is WATER. The big news item these days on the Phoenix news is that we are (always) in a drought and question where our water will be coming from in the future.

I’m no expert but it seems that adding 285 additional rooms does not help the situation. Do these “upscale” hotels eventually ask their guests to “Bring their own water?"

This issue will surely impact the current residents of the Village.

As the document states, the Patels own other hotel properties in the area. The Patels are surely intelligent enough to realize that this property was zoned Residential Rural when they purchased it. It appears they assumed they could push through major zoning changes including total change of use plus building height and setback modifications with no problem and no respect for the impact to the community.

Labor: Where will the labor to staff these places be found? I hear all the time about how hard it is to fill positions for the existing businesses. Assuming the large companies can attract new laborers to leave their current jobs or relocate here … where do they find affordable housing?

I know there are various arguments that border on emotional like blocking views and general anti growth sentiment. I do not propose a no-growth stance. I propose “Intelligent Growth.” Perhaps the Patels should consider upgrading one or all of their existing hotels to cater to the elite customer.

The other suggestion is a Fully Staffed Urgent Care that would actually help the Village and alleviate some of the cars traveling to West Sedona. Our doctors' offices said they constantly have travelers come in for anything from stitches to bandaging a severe abrasion and are turned away to travel to either West Sedona or Cottonwood. Not good.

Steve Neely

Village of Oak Creek

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