Sun, May 16

Voices for Big Park Choir: New paths to membership

Camille Cox

Camille Cox

There’s a fun tune titled All God’s Creatures Have A Place in the Choir. Even if you’re not familiar with it, or particularly religious, you catch the drift.

The great paradox is that what seems so intuitive, may well be the ultimate challenge for us humans. The process of arriving at a group consensus is not easy, and it is never fast … harmonizing takes work.

With a whisper on April 8th, the council unanimously passed two major bylaws updates to enable expanded citizen participation on the council.

Unanimously? Yes – two years of work, including surveys, research, committee meetings, and hours of council reflection and discussion to arrive at a formula that every member felt would ensure fuller and fairer inclusion of voices on the council.

Not a miracle, these decisions were the result of mission-focused commitment and diligent work by our members and community volunteers. The three categories of membership are:

• Residential Member Organizations (homeowner associations, property owner associations and residential neighborhood associations);

• Business Member Associations;

• Educational Institution Member Organizations.

Details for each are outlined on the membership applications located on the website home page. The mission at the Big Park Council is to “promote the best interests of the Community by making public the consensus of its Member Organizations’ views on issues affecting them”. If you are not already represented by a member organization of the Council, there is now a clear path to adding your voice to the choir.

County moves Comprehensive Plan Update forward

On April 15, the county conducted the inaugural Community Plan Advisory Committee meeting, which was broadcast on WebEx for public viewing. (You can watch the recording on the County’s YouTube channel:

The Verde Valley and the VOC are well represented on the CPAC by Supervisor Donna Michaels, Sedona resident John Black and VVREO Executive Director/Beaver Creek resident Mary Chicoine – all with rich experience to contribute.

Although much of the meeting was administrative, when substantial discussion got underway, some important information was shared. Most importantly, Development Services Director David Williams reported that they are relaxing due dates for the community plans. The intention is to allow communities more time to organize and gather resources, placing the emphasis on wide community participation and producing a solid plan.

He reported that although the state does specify a due date for the Comprehensive Plan Update, there is no penalty for missing the deadline. The county will therefore stay focused on developing a plan that will serve us well through 2032, rather than rushing the process.

April meeting highlights

Judy Poe, Director, Sedona Public Library She thanked the Council for their $100 contribution to the Village library, which qualified for matching funds.

The overall fundraising campaign reached $42,000. She and the staff have been working on a new strategic plan based on feedback gathered from a community-wide survey.

Major projects are underway including a large outdoor patio (100-150-person capacity, stage, movie screen) for the Sedona campus that will provide open-air meeting space.

The library building will be renovated and modernized, and a concept to relocate the Village library from Bell Rock Plaza to the Big Park Community School is under investigation.

This would allow greatly expanded services, including internet-enabled activities and meeting space for community gatherings.

Donna Michaels, District 3 supervisor, Yavapai County

The supervisor expressed her appreciation for the BPRCC Committee’s progress on our Community Plan, which she sees as a model for unincorporated communities in the county. She emphasized the importance of including community plans in the County Comprehensive Plan Update, and assured us she will continue to be an active advocate throughout that process.

She also provided specifics from Dan Cherry, Yavapai County director of public works, regarding the schedule of the roadwork at SR179 and Beaverhead Flat Road: "We completed a night-time culvert extension in the last month in preparation for the turn lane work from 179 on to Beaverhead Flat Road, but we are in a holding pattern at the request of ADOT while they move forward on a full-width pavement overlay project for that segment of SR 179. The ADOT work entails a 3-inch thick asphaltic concrete overlay. The ADOT project is currently out for bid and we are told their work is anticipated to start in the May/June 2021 time frame.

"After that overlay is completed by ADOT, we are going to do a little re-survey of the portion of road where our turn lane project is, and a small change order on the design contract to make sure it fits the new, freshly overlain roadway surface of SR 179. We anticipate that to occur during the summer and we will get the project out to bid as soon as we can, once ADOT finishes their work and we can collect the new survey data. I am anticipating we build the turn lane reconfiguration at Beaverhead Flat around late summer/early fall of 2021.

"We had wanted to do this prior, but ADOT had asked us to hold off on the work so that we didn’t have conflicting construction zones, and to make sure the two projects mesh well at the conclusion."

President’s Report

Camille Cox noted that the executive board discussed timing on returning to in-person meetings, or the possibility of a hybrid model. It was felt to be premature for April, but should be considered again next month for the May regular meeting.

The president brought the Council’s attention to the election of officers for 2022, as changes to the bylaws have been passed that impact the process. Volunteers are needed for the Nominating Committee, to be appointed by the Council in August. That committee is responsible for presenting a list of officer candidates in October. As the current president will have served two terms (bylaws limit), she will assume the officer role of Immediate Past President in 2022.

The current representatives of the council are ideal candidates for both Nominating Committee membership and new officer candidates, being well-versed in the mission of the council and its bylaws.

The Nominating Committee chair, president and vice president must be representatives or alternates of a member organization.

The treasurer, secretary and members of the Nominating Committee must only belong to a member organization with permission from their organization to serve. Anyone with interest in serving - or simply learning more about the roles – is invited to attend any executive board meeting.

They are casual and offer an inside look at what the officers do between meetings. The next executive board meeting will be May 4th at 3pm. To attend, email

Treasurer’s Report

Patty Reski reviewed the details of financial activity, reporting a bank balance of $6105.79. A new section on the chart of accounts details income and expenses for the Community Plan Committee.

Bylaws amendments approved

The previously noticed Bylaws Amendments to Articles I and II, and new Membership Policy Documents were approved with all votes in favor.

Revised Bylaws Review Session

Co-Chair Nancy Maple led the discussions on Article IV– Meetings and Article VII – Committees. The agreed upon changes will be officially Noticed in May and voted on at the June meeting. That vote will bring the bylaws update to closure.

US Forest Service

Liaison Paul Sullivan reached out to the USFS with the questions posed at the March meeting about the new trails in Jacks Canyon. They initially planned for a new trail off of the Big Park Loop, called Dairy Springs up to Rabbit Ears. That changed in favor of two trails. One is completed, called the Little Rock.

The second trail is called the Rabbit Ears (but it doesn’t actually go to Rabbit Ears). He intends to scout them this weekend. Mary Morris raised concerns about the new trails being too slick, too narrow and unsafe for horses.

The equestrian contingent is very concerned about the compatibility issues of bicycles and horses along Jacks Canyon Rd. and the closure of highly used trails.

APS Powerline Project

Chair Duane Thompson provided a brief update on the recommendations the committee will be advancing to the Council for consideration and vote in May.

Additional discussions with APS are still ongoing to gather further data validating the need for the additional line. Subcommittee meets again next week and will be delivering fact sheets to the community and council.

The next meeting of the council is May 13, 9 a.m., via Zoom.

The next meeting of the P&Z Committee will be May 21, 10 a.m., via Zoom.

For committee meetings, check website calendar (

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