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TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Thu, Jan. 27

Chamber News: Big Park encouraged to take online surveys on Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan 2032

I hope you had a chance during this busy holiday week to chime in on the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan on KYCA Radio on Dec. 28. Committee members and staff were on hand to answer questions and hear your ideas and I know how proactive our partner, the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council has been in engaging everyone in the Village on this topic, and you still have the opportunity to be heard.

The Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan 2032 is a community vision of where to grow and what to protect over the next decade. Required by state law, the Plan will include policies for Land Use, Growth Areas, Transportation, Water Resources, the Environment and more.

If you missed the radio show or the Community Vision survey earlier this year, you can take several online surveys at planningyavapai2032.org/surveys. You can even see the results thus far. These public engagement opportunities are vital in helping County Supervisors set our course over the next ten years, so please use your voice and be heard.

News items from Maricopa County are all about growth which will continue to place pressure on infrastructure in on our area, adding to the urgency of getting the County Plan right. Updated census data from 2020 shows the official population of Maricopa County in 2020 was 4.8 million making it the fourth most populous county in the entire United States. Maricopa grew by nearly 1.4 million people in the last ten years; no county in America added more people in the previous decade.

We’re on the very edge of this population explosion, and the narrow, aging I-17 remains the only practical transportation corridor between Phoenix and Northern Arizona. Recognizing its increasingly dilapidated condition, ADOT is launching a $446 million improvement project between Anthem and Sunset Point beginning in the new year. The three-year rebuild will add new lanes in both directions along the 15-mile stretch from Anthem to Black Canyon City, and eight miles of new flex lanes from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. The improvements should reduce congestion, prevent backups and improve emergency vehicle movement. But they will also make Red Rock County more accessible to Maricopa County residents, our largest tourism feeder market. Obviously, we can expect higher visitation numbers with accompanying social and environmental stress points.

In November, private jet manufacturer Gulfstream announced it will build its $70 million West Coast maintenance and repair facility at Mesa Gateway Airport. As critical as the facilities and new jobs are, Maricopa County economic development officials are just as excited about the impact on business growth and tourism. People who own and fly Gulfstream jets are usually high-level business leaders, and the Mesa facility will show off Arizona to many more of them. As Gulfstream President Burns pointed out, “People from all over the world will bring their airplanes here.” With our world-renowned vistas, outdoor recreation, high-end resorts and restaurants, in a community rooted in the arts, you can be sure Sedona will be on the itinerary for many of these high-flyers. 

These recent items – the census update, the I-17 project, and the new Gulfstream facility in Mesa - underscore the enormous impact of Maricopa County developments on our lifestyle and economy and how important it is to prepare the Comprehensive Plan 2032 with intention. We need a thoughtful, innovative planning document, and I hope you will participate.

Finally, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and tell you how excited I am to be sharing this column with you each month. Please share your thoughts on the issues we face together by writing to me at cstrauss@sedonachamber.com.

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