It’s shaping up to be a pretty good Christmas for one member of the Sedona Fire District family.

On Oct. 27, SFD Capt. Matt Fleece was transported by helicopter to Maricopa County Burn Center for treatment of second-degree burns to about 15 percent of his torso. The burns occurred after a propane tank mishap at Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon.

As a result of two new state laws, the Sedona City Council voted to do away with an ordinance dealing with accessory dwelling units. But not before it took advantage of a
seldom-used option.

During the Dec. 13 meeting, council went into executive session during the item to discuss the matter with City Attorney Robert Pickels. When this happens, the council and staff adjourn to the Vultee Room at City Hall away from the public and media.

It was 14 minutes into the discussion of the item when Councilman Jon Thompson made a motion to meet behind closed doors.

After concern from the public as well as push back from a legal watchdog, the city’s ordinance on short-term vacation rentals is already being modified.

By a unanimous vote, the Sedona City Council approved on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the amending of its new short-term rental regulations.

The city of Sedona’s annual small grants program hit a snag this summer, which led City Council to decide it was time to revamp and simplify the process for everyone involved.

Council spent an hour going over the current requirements of those nonprofits seeking grants during its Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting. The purpose was to give staff direction as to whether or not the application and screening process could simply be tweaked or a complete overhaul was needed.

The Sedona Police Department has a pair of improvement projects in the works designed to help with officer training and safety.

The projects include improvements to the department’s shooting range near the wastewater treatment plant and expansion of the armory at city hall. There, the department’s additional weapons and ammunition are stored.

According to SPD’s Lt. Lucas Wilcoxson, range improvements will provide running water and restrooms for the people using the range as well as additional space for training and debriefing.

The city of Sedona needs your help in regard to something most would rather not talk about — wastewater.

The city is in the early stages of updating its wastewater collection system master plan, which was last completed in 2000. Over the past 16 years, there have been substantial changes to the collection system and reconsideration of plans to expand the system to various locations in the city, associate city planner Roxanne Holland said.

The master plan update has a maximum budget of $200,000 with the work being done by Carollo Engineers.

During a open house on Tuesday, Dec. 5, attendance was less than expected. But for those who did attend, staff was able to garner important information from them that will be included in the update.

“Overall the meeting was well received,” Holland said afterward. “The public that attended was supportive of the city’s efforts in
developing the Wastewater Master Plan Update and supportive of improvements or expansion of the sewer system for environmental sustainability. We received some valuable feedback that we will utilize as we move forward with the project.”

The scope of work will include:

  • Development of flow projections.
  • Determination and possible revision of sewer service area boundaries.
  • Hydraulic modeling will be used to determine deficiencies within the collection system.
  • Analysis of possible efficiencies — elimination of lift stations, overflow emergency strategies for major lift stations, feasibility of removing old cluster systems.
  • Identify a capital improvement plan for recommended upgrades and major repairs.
  • Conduct public outreach such as mailings, fliers, website, public meetings.

Many of those in the audience currently have privately-owned septic systems and questioned how they go about tapping in to the citywide system and its costs. About
60 percent of the population is on the city wastewater system. For those looking to join, there is a $9,757 cost to do so. And, city code states that if a homeowner, for example, is the third or fourth house in on a street and wishes to connect to the city’s system, all the homes between the connection point and that house must do the same.

When Sedona became incorporated in 1988, state law mandated that the city provide a wastewater system for the residents. However, because of costs and logistics, 40 percent of the homes and businesses are still not on the system. As the septic tanks age, city officials said that the likelihood of the tanks going bad increases. Holland said there are several ways of telling if a tank is leaking. The first is a strong odor while others include wastewater seeping out of the ground and a backup in the system within the home.

“There’s no way to know the actual number of tanks that may be leaking,” she said, adding that septic system experts can come to one’s home and do tests.

It was also pointed out that the law requires those who go from a septic system to the city system have their tanks filled with gravel.
As the update moves forward, Carollo will continue to compile comments and questions, update the Sedona City Council on their progress, analyze areas of the city looking to connect, meet with smaller groups like HOAs and individual neighborhoods and finally host a second public meeting.

The holiday season is officially upon us as Holiday Central kicked off its fourth year this past weekend with the lighting of the tree in Uptown and breakfast with Santa.

And this year, an old Sedona favorite will make its return but with a holiday twist.  

“We are so excited for Red Rock Fantasy to return to Sedona at Tlaquepaque arts & crafts village,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and a Holiday Central committee member. “This year’s event is shaping up to be what we’ve always wanted Red Rock Fantasy to become — a community-wide event where many business, nonprofit organizations and the entire community is involved.

As a way to provide additional free parking in the Uptown area, as well as potential others uses, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce is looking into buying a vacant building on Jordan Road.

During a presentation to the Sedona City Council on Nov. 22, Chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff stressed the importance of balancing tourism while looking out for the interests of residents and business owners as well.

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