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Thu, Jan. 27

Big Park Council talks OHV negative impacts with county supervisors

This undated file photo shows State Route 179 in the Village of Oak Creek. (Villager file photo)

This undated file photo shows State Route 179 in the Village of Oak Creek. (Villager file photo)

What follows is a report of the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council’s meeting highlights.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Camille Cox summarized a recent meeting with Yavapai County Supervisor Donna Michaels, including policy initiatives to improve protection of public lands – mitigating negative impacts of Off Highway Vehicles, homelessness and trash.

Michaels is amenable to another Village of Oak Creek public forum, such as the one the council hosted in June. Cox thanked the nominating committee for their thorough outreach to recruit officer candidates.

The grand opening ceremony of the new VOC library branch was an exciting event, and community meeting space will be available by reservation for a small contribution.

DUES INCREASE

An increase to $160 effective Jan. 1, 2022, was approved, as was the 2022 annual budget.

OFFICER ELECTION

Mary Pope and Patty Reski were unanimously elected secretary and treasurer. Electronic balloting for the contest between Duane Thompson and Dave Norton for vice president resulted in Thompson being the declared winner.

NEW MEMBERS

Cox announced opportunities to serve on various committees in 2022 – Emergency Preparedness Plan Committee (meets monthly), Planning & Zoning Committee (meets monthly), Community Plan Committee, Website Support (volunteer role), Meeting Support (volunteer role), Audit Committee (short assignment in February), 2023 Nominating Committee (short assignment Aug-Oct). Participation is open to representatives, alternates and members of the public. If interested, email info@bigparkcouncil.org.

SECRET 7

Cox reviewed information on the Secret 7 Trails being promoted via free trail maps by the USFS and Sedona Chamber. The public comment period on this campaign occurred pre-COVID, and was apparently low key as no one at the meeting had recollection.

The campaign’s goal is to redistribute hikers/bikers to lesser used trails – three of the Secret 7 Trails are in the VOC vicinity, Woods Canyon, Turkey Creek and Jacks Canyon. Increased bicycle traffic has been noted on Jacks Canyon Road (which has no bicycle lanes), illegal parking on Lee Mountain Road, and private property trespassing and damage as hikers seek short-cuts to the trails.

It was suggested to approach the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office on parking and trespass issues. It was reported that noise levels on Verde Valley School Road are increasing due to OHV traffic.

BYLAW CHANGE

Nominating Committee Chair Lenore Hemingway introduced a proposed a change to make the allowable consecutive one-year terms equal for all officers.

Currently, the president and vice president are limited to two consecutive one-year terms, and the secretary and treasurer are allowed four.

The council discussed the current predicament of the council asking Cox to continue serving in an un-elected capacity, and the absence of a succession plan. The council will vote on the proposed revision in December. During the discussion, the positive direction the council is heading under current leadership was emphasized, and the importance of a succession plan to continue the momentum agreed.

COMMUNITY PLAN

Cox summarized the Nov. 10 meeting of the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. A consultant has been added to the advisory committee, providing expertise on the legalities around community goals, highlighting pitfalls and alternative approaches. A new emphasis on community plans was evident, with Supervisors Michaels and Harry Oberg advocating the importance of bottom-up input.

Emergency Preparedness (EPPiC) Co-Chair Gwen Hanna reported that information gathering and scoping is underway, and information organized into manageable categories (Fire, Flood, Evacuation Routes, Snow, etc.).

Ideas on how to disseminate and keep current the information are under consideration. Hanna thanked Dave Norton for stepping up to support the formulation of the committee, and recommended Mary Pope to succeed him as co-chair. She was unanimously approved by the council.

Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, Dec. 9, 9 a.m., Zoom

Next P&Z Meeting: Friday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m., Zoom

Information provided by the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council.

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