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Thu, Oct. 17

Patel rezoning goes to county Aug. 21

Chandrika Patel said it has been the dream of her and her husband Jack to build a hotel on their land, a parcel on the southeast corner of Jacks Canyon and SR 179. VVN/Bill Helm

Chandrika Patel said it has been the dream of her and her husband Jack to build a hotel on their land, a parcel on the southeast corner of Jacks Canyon and SR 179. VVN/Bill Helm

On Aug. 21, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will consider a residential-to-commercial rezoning application for a parcel at the southeast corner of SR 179 and Jacks Canyon Road.

The owners of the property, Chandrika and Jack Patel, plan to build a 154-room Hilton Garden Inn on the approximately 4.65-acre parcel.

The Patels are asking that the parcel be rezoned from residential rural two-acre minimum lot sizes to a commercial general sales zoning district.

On June 20, the Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 10-to-0 to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the application.

But a room full of people – as well as a lobby full – urged the commission to not support the rezoning application.

“Our system is designed to give everyone a chance to share their opinions and concerns, and they will all be considered,” District 3 Supervisor and Chairman Randy Garrison said.

Garrison also said that he is “not sure everyone will come away from this discussion feeling that the best decision has been made.”

“But I am hopeful that everyone understands that we have worked hard to make the process as open and transparent as possible,” he said.

1,000 letters against

Chandrika Patel told the commission on June 20 that “it’s been our dream” to build the hotel in Sedona, to build it on land the family purchased in 1992.

The county’s Development Services Department estimated it received 1,000 letters and emails opposing the rezoning request.

Development Services Director Dave Williams said reasons contained in the correspondence included concerns such as the hotel is “too big,” there would be “too much traffic,” “detrimental to residents,” “too many hotels,” “fire concerns,” “public safety,” “air quality,” “quality of life,” “population,” and “conformance to general plan.”

Unable to attend the June 20 commissioners meeting, the executive director of Sedona Winds, an independent retirement community, wrote a letter that Sedona resident Mary Morris read.

At Sedona Winds, located at 405 Jacks Canyon Road since 2011, Terry Williams wrote that the average response time for emergency medical services and public assist is 4-6 minutes.

“We have seen an increase of 2-3 minutes on average for response times due to an increase in traffic we are seeing all over Sedona,” Williams wrote. “To some, an increase of 2-3 minutes response time may not seem long, but it is critical to timely, appropriate medical care where every second counts.”

Advocate – but not lobby

On June 3, the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted 6-3 to support the Patel rezone request.

Despite the committee’s vote of support, the Big Park council voted to recommend that the county deny the rezone request.

“As a non-profit, we can advocate,” said Marc Fuller, Big Park Council president. “But we can’t lobby, or we risk losing our non-profit status.”

With close to 30 members, the council is the “ultimate grass-roots organization,” Fuller said.

Fuller said that a council member will be selected to attend the Aug. 21 supervisors meeting.

Opinions and concerns

Though the commission’s vote was unanimous, two amendments were made to Hearing Application H18052.

Instead of the previously requested for a maximum 40 feet, a hotel built on the site could not exceed 34 feet “measured from the natural grade, including the parapets,” with a “maximum height for the elevator, stairwells and shade structure” to be 44 feet “as measured from the natural grade.”

If the Patels build something other than a hotel, the building’s maximum building height shall be 30 feet “as measured from the natural grade.”

Commissioners also changed the application to read that the building permit must be made within five years – instead of four years – of supervisors’ approval or the rezoning could revert to its former zoning classification.

“As with any controversial decision, you are going to have some who feel that they won, while you are also going to have those who feel they did not,” Garrison said. “Our system is designed to give everyone a chance to share their opinions and concerns, and they will all be considered. As for me and my decision, I will continue to listen to the community, and take into account all of the voices surrounding this discussion.”

The Aug. 21 meeting will start at 9 a.m. and will be held at the Yavapai County Administrative Services Verde Valley Complex hearing room, located in Cottonwood at 10 S. 6th St.

The meeting will be open to the public, which means that the public will be allowed to speak.

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