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It appears we may finally find out how Sedona residents truly feel about streetlights in West Sedona.

The city of Sedona will hold an election even though the Arizona Department of Transportation announced continuous streetlights will be added to its State Route 89A project.

ADOT’s announcement comes after the Sedona City Council voted 4-3 in February to take over the roadway — despite a professional survey stating residents did not want to do so — to prevent installation of the lights.

The agreement between ADOT and the city died when a referendum surfaced challenging council’s decision and the principle of whether it should have the authority to take such action.

ADOT’s safety improvement study was one of my first stories as a new reporter at the Sedona Red Rock News five years ago.

The then-council asked ADOT to conduct the study following pedestrian deaths on the roadway at night. ADOT said put up lights.

Five years later, the only safety improvement instituted is the reduction of the speed limit to 35 miles per hour from 40 between Soldier Pass Road and Dry Creek Road.

Five years later, several council votes sent mixed signals to ADOT.

Five years later, ADOT threw up its hands and said it couldn’t wait any longer, and lights were added to the bid for resurfacing of the highway.

The indecisiveness surrounding the lighting saga can be attributed to a lack of understanding of what Sedona residents actually want.

When the issue was simply lights or no lights, people rallied on both sides of the cause making it impossible to truly gauge where the majority stood.

When ADOT said lights or you own the roadway, the water muddied even more.

We can assume the light advocates remained as such, but the threat of liability and financial burden associated with owning a state highway scared some anti-light supporters to the other side.

At least three groups seem to have emerged — pro-lights, anti-lights and those who don’t want lights or the takeback.

The city’s decision to hold a special election for Sedona residents regarding the lighting issue despite ADOT’s recent action could settle the issue once and for all. Residents will be asked two questions — should the city take over State Route 89A and should the City Council alone have the authority to make future decisions of this nature.

Hopefully, we will be able to put this divisive issue behind us after the election, but something tells me regardless of how the vote comes out someone will insist the process was rigged, unfair, flawed or somehow does not, in fact, represent the true opinion of Sedona’s real majority.

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  • Rama Jon

    Who's budget will pay the electricity costs of running the lights and what is the projected costs for this. To defray the cost of this has the use of solar powered lights been considered? Does the city or the state even have the funds to operate the lights without some sort of tax increase or revenue bond?

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