City News

The classic novel “War and Peace” boasts 1,440 pages. The Sedona Land Development Code pales in comparison at a mere 600 pages. But still, it’s not exactly an easy read.

While there are no plans to decrease the length of “War and Peace,” the city of Sedona is in the process of reducing the latter.

The Sedona Planning and Zoning Commission hosted a workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 5, to ask questions and provide feedback to staff as they continue working on the update to the LDC. This was a follow-up meeting to one on July 18 in which the consulting firm Clarion Associates — the city’s consultant — presented an overview of draft zoning districts and land uses proposed in the code update.

The city and Clarion kicked off the process for the first major update of the code in November 2016 with a completion date set for summer 2018.

The purpose of the LDC is to help carry out the community’s vision for the future provided in the Sedona Community Plan. While the Community Plan is updated and approved every decade, it’s been 20 years since the LDC was updated.

Clarion’s plan is to reduce the LDC greatly and, when possible, replace long paragraphs with graphics or charts to simplify things as much as possible.

“The LDC update is a rewrite of several major sections of the LDC to provide clear and specific direction for development and redevelopment,” a city report states. “The city contracted with Clarion Associates to assist with this project. Updating the LDC is a major undertaking requiring substantial community input and collaboration among a wide range of Sedona stakeholders.”

The commission discussed the LDC for less than 20 minutes Tuesday. Most of that was focused on wording pertaining to boats and RVs parked on the street or in driveways, and whether they should be shielded from public view.

Community Development Director Audree Juhlin said that is one of the most popular complaints code enforcement deals with. Aside from that, the commissioners said they were happy with the direction the LDC update is going.

“I’ve been impressed with what the consultants are doing,” Chairman Marty Losoff said. “They’ve done an excellent job and have met my expectations.”

Sedona Senior Planner Mike Raber said the LDC update can also help Sedona meet the goals of the Sedona Community Plan:

Environmental protection: Ensure development standards protect sensitive areas and are tailored appropriately for Sedona’s natural environment.

Housing diversity: Provide a greater mix of housing types permitted in appropriate areas throughout the city, and reduce code barriers to improve housing affordability.

Community gathering places: Consider opportunities through subdivision and development to improve public common areas.

Economic diversity: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to development, provide appropriate tools to encourage a wider variety of businesses and opportunities in Sedona.

Reduce traffic: Address circulation for multiple transportation modes [cars, transit, bikes and pedestrians] and ensure that future development in Sedona promotes mobility for all ages and abilities.

Access to Oak Creek:Protect this prominent feature of the community and ensure that surrounding land uses and corridors provide adequate access without compromising the health of the riparian area.

Visit the city’s LDC webpage at to learn about the code and the update process.


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