Big Park Council votes to reject Patel rezoning application
There was much discord at Thursday’s Big Park Council meeting, and the grueling four-hour marathon session saw tempers flare and harsh words spoken. However, at the end of the day, the vote represented the overwhelming opinion of the Village residents.
The Council voted that the Patel parcel rezoning request from residential to commercial, even with stipulations, was not in the best interest of the community.
As one representative clearly stated it, “We represent the wishes of the community that appointed us. I am obligated to vote with the majority of my community”.
The parcel sits at the corner of State Route 179 and Jack’s Canyon Road, and the Patels intend to build a 154-room Hilton Garden Inn on this property. Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commission Representatives Dave Williams and Leah Genovese were part of the meeting panel to help answer questions, as well as Jennifer Boblick, a representative for the Patels.
A major issue arose early in the meeting regarding the voting process that was set for the meeting. Because of harassment on social media to members of the P&Z committee, the Big Park Board had decided to make the vote a secret ballot in an attempt to protect the representatives. However, Carolyn Fisher, the representative for Oak Creek Country Club Estates I, made a motion that the Council hold a public vote on the Patels’ application, explaining that as appointed representatives, their communities should know how they have voted. During discussion, members of the community apologized to the Big Park Council for any resident who had tried to intimidate or bully them, but also agreed that as community representatives, they must publicly state their vote. The motion for open voting was passed unanimously.
Finally, the agenda item that everyone was waiting for came up for discussion. The stipulations to the rezoning were explained and public opinions were given. Concerns on public safety were paramount, as a fire in Jack’s Canyon would seriously endanger the residents trying to get out due to the added traffic jam the hotel would cause. Blocked views and heavy pedestrian traffic from the hotel were also concerns. The community’s voice carried the day.
County representative Dave Williams stated emphatically that the County Planning & Zoning Commission strongly encourages community participation. The community’s input is very important in making their decision, and it’s not too late to send them your opinion. You can send in your letter electronically up through next Wednesday, June 19, at 4 pm and it will still be counted.
Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, attn. Leah Genovese.
NOTE: You must reference: Patel Zoning Map Change, Application #405-33-479G.
Next Thursday, June 20, at 9 am in Cottonwood, the Yavapai County P&Z Commission will vote on the Patel application.
The final vote by Yavapai County Supervisor Board will be on July 17, at 9 am.