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Sun, May 16

What makes a thriving, sustainable community?

Camille Cox

Camille Cox

It’s the question of the hour, as unimaginable events in 2020 upended so many assumptions about the stability and safety of our social institutions.

The simple ease of human touch, having children in school, convening a meeting, going to church, visiting friends – became complicated and often forbidden.

One thing that I see emerging is new awareness of the importance of social connection, reliance on each other, and value of simple pleasures.

Thriving, sustainable communities recognize and incorporate these human needs into their plans.

The benefits of local amenities such as the new community garden on the Big Park Community School grounds is being welcomed as an example of making space for healthy nurturance of essential human needs. Heartfelt thanks to our Sedona Village Rotary Club for recognizing that opportunity and making it happen.

How does a thriving, sustainable community come into being? The fundamental ingredient does not appear to be money or genius planning … rather engaged and informed citizens, inspired by a love of place. Love of place is palpable here – and being informed and engaged is an available choice for each of us. This community has what it takes, if we can get on board and work together.

Latest on APS Powerline

On the front burner right now is the APS powerline project. The outcome of this project will leave a mark on the Village well past the lifetime of most of us. The Council’s APS Powerline Subcommittee has been watching and researching the project for 16 months, and will be conducting discussion forums this month (April) to present and discuss the various alternatives under consideration. The forums will be announced via our email list and posted on the website.

First resident survey for Community Vision Statement

This new survey is different than the Yavapai County survey that focused on regional land use options. (both are important, but this one is specific to our community). It is a quick (7-10 min) poll about how YOU feel about our “hometown” issues. All adult members of your household are encouraged to weigh in. If you missed the survey in your email InBox, you’ll find it on the new community plan website: villageplan2022.org. On the site you can subscribe to receive all community plan updates.

Highlights from March meeting

Public Agency Report Joanna McPherson of the Sedona Village Learning Center reported that pre-school enrollment has been increasing, with ½ of the students benefitting from scholarship assistance. Other exciting changes include a new Spanish immersion component, community-wide Halloween Pet Parade and Black History Month celebration.

Sixteen children are currently enrolled, with an expansion goal of 24. More than $50,000 has been raised since inception for programming and scholarships. You can learn more at www.SedonaVillage.org.

Secretary’s Report

Mary Pope welcomed Gail Shevey as the new representative for Village Park Condominiums.

Bylaws

Article III Representation was re-introduced with discussion and straw polls on (1) whether or not representatives must be a member of the Organization they represent – 9-8 in favor; (2) whether or not an individual could cast a vote for more than one Organization that they might be appointed to represent – 17-1 in favor; and (3) the addition of a new “non-voting” status for individuals appointed to more than one Organization – 10-0 in favor.

Committee member Carolyn Fisher lead the discussion on Article VI Officer Roles & Responsibilities. All recommended changes met with unanimous agreement in the straw polls. These recommendations, as well as the Article III changes will be integrated into the respective bylaws sections and prepared for notice and approval. Mary Pope thanked the Council for working through this long and complex process, noting that there are only two Articles left to review in April with final Notices and voting in May/June to complete the bylaws review process.

P&Z Committee

Chair Mary Morris reported that the Village Vet Clinic Use Permit involved a downsizing of the original plan that was approved by the Council in 2019. The committee recommended approval with the addition of interior soundproofing in the sections of the building that housed animals. The Council approved the committee’s recommendation.

APS Powerline Subcommittee

Chair Duane Thompson reported on the meeting with APS and the US Forest Service, noting that APS claims that a battery system would cost 3x more than overhead powerlines, and they are now considering burying some of the lines. No details were available as to where or how much might be buried. The results of the community survey on this project were widely published in local media, distributed through the Council communication channels and can be found on the Council website.

Community Plan Committee Chair Camille Cox reported that the meeting space at the new Sedona Arts Academy at The Collective is proving ideal for the committee meetings as it is comfortable, convenient, equipped with A/V equipment and strong internet.

The committee’s experience with a hybrid (Zoom + in-person) meeting format works beautifully. She thanked the Sedona Village Partnership for their generous $1200 donation to the Community Plan project, as well as an anonymous donation of $1000, $150 by Monique Kristofors and other smaller amounts by committee members.

A standing meeting schedule has been established and those dates are posted on the Council website calendar.

The next meeting of the Council will be April 8, 9 a.m.

For committee meetings, check website calendar (bigparkcouncil.org).

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