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Tue, Dec. 07

Chamber News: New member, golfing and more from the CEO

Candace Carr Strauss, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, far right, holds up a ball during the Sedona 30 Miracle Golf Tournament on Oct. 2-3, 2021. (Sedona Chamber/Courtesy)

Candace Carr Strauss, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, far right, holds up a ball during the Sedona 30 Miracle Golf Tournament on Oct. 2-3, 2021. (Sedona Chamber/Courtesy)

I am excited to welcome the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council as a new chamber member! I want to thank the board and President Camille Cox for bringing our organizations closer, symbolizing our commitment to work together across the greater Sedona Verde Valley region and northern Arizona.

Collaboration is the only way to solve issues such as balanced growth, tourism dispersion, traffic mitigation and public transit, housing affordability, workforce supply and short term rental regulation.

Together, the chamber and the Big Park Council will bring a strong Village of Oak Creek voice to the table and help shape outcomes reflecting our shared desire for an outstanding quality of life in a beautifully preserved natural setting.

Welcome, Big Park Council! I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.

In addition to the great news from the council, it was wonderful to see so many of our VOC chamber partners at our national, “Support Your Local Chamber Day,” event at Steakhouse89 on Oct. 20. Everyone enjoyed making new friends, greeting old ones, boosting regional B2B connections and introducing the chamber to nonmember guests. Thank you for entrusting us to serve you.

October also saw progress on the issue of Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use on public lands in and around Sedona and the VOC.

On Oct. 11, we announced the Red Rock OHV Conservation Crew, a consortium of a dozen private OHV rental and jeep tour companies in Cottonwood, Sedona and Flagstaff, with Tread Lightly!, the motorized recreation industry group dedicated to responsible ridership, and the chamber in partnership with the US Forest Service.

RROCC business partners agreed to contribute 1% of their sales to fund trail preservation and consumer education for OHV riders, and I’m happy to report immediate results. During the Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend, RROCC’s new Ambassador program staffed popup booths on Broken Arrow Trail and out on Forest Road 525, to connect with riders one on one.

Many OHV users are first-timers who are very open to the information we provide and ready to do their part to respect our neighborhoods, environment and quality of life.

To kick off October, we were very happy to support Sedona Airport Family Fun Day and the Sedona 30 Miracle Golf Tournament at the Oak Creek Country Club on Oct. 2-3. Sedona 30 has had a tremendous impact over the years, and the chamber is proud to support them.

In late September, the chamber and Sedona Lodging Council co-hosted a forum on short term rentals (STRs) at Yavapai College with more than 150 people in attendance.

Sedona City Manager Karen Osburn and City Attorney Kurt Christianson reported there are 1,323 short term rentals in greater Sedona, 815 within city limits, representing 12% of our housing inventory.

As the chamber has stated many times, individuals who live in their homes and rent a spare room to visitors are not issue. Instead, the 976 “whole home rentals,” what some call “mini hotels” in the middle of our neighborhoods, which equate to 1,800-plus hotel rooms, cause complaints about late night noise, excessive trash, on-street parking, and other safety and health concerns since they are not held to regulations required in the planning and zoning process like traditional hotels.

What to do? Sedona – and all other Arizona cities – are prohibited from enacting STR regulations by state law, tying our hands. That change can only come from the legislature which convenes in January 2022.

We’re looking forward to the fast-approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season! I encourage you to keep up with the chamber by subscribing to our free locals-only newsletter. You will receive weekly updates that include specials and discounts so that you can #ShopLocal in support of our small businesses from throughout greater Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Just visit SedonaLocalNews.com to subscribe.

Candace Carr Strauss is the President and CEO for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.

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