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On a cool spring afternoon in Sedona, Kris Varjean, owner of Lantern Light Inn, pulled weeds in front of her property. Varjean doesn?t own the strip of land she weeded — the city does.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
________________

On a cool spring afternoon in Sedona, Kris Varjean, owner of Lantern Light Inn, pulled weeds in front of her property.

Varjean doesn?t own the strip of land she weeded — the city does.

?Look, you don?t get that many weeds,? Varjean said. ?You get a few weeds and you come out and pull them out.?

Varjean is one of 60 business owners who signed a petition circulated by Vibrant Sedona to end city use of herbicides on city property along Hwy. 89A.

Sedona City Council unanimously approved suspending use of herbicides and Round-Up on March 14 until at least December.

In the meantime, a better solution needs to be found to prevent council from reinstating use at the end of the year.

Initially, council voted 5-2 to reinstate a managed use plan Jan. 9 after a 120-day trial period during which chemicals weren?t used.

Holding true to her commitment to end chemical use, Varjean said she pulls the few weeds that pop up in front of her business.

In fact, Varjean has gone so far as to lay weed liners on city property and then cover them with rock.

Varjean feels business owners along Hwy. 89A should clean up in front of their businesses out of pride.

Agnes Hazen, owner of D?Lish Very Vegetarian, said she is willing to help weed in front of her restaurant if it means herbicides aren?t used.

At D?Lish, almost all products used are organic, Hazen said, so spraying chemicals in front of the business

doesn?t make sense.

City staff and elected officials are working with Vibrant Sedona founder Matthew Turner and Shondra Jepperson to consider alternatives to herbicide and Round-Up use.

?It?s sort of a work in motion,? City Manager Eric Levitt said.

Turner and Jepperson met with Levitt, Mayor Pud Colquitt, Councilman Rob Adams and Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms on Saturday, March 28.

According to Levitt, the city took bids from companies who use an organic alternative not containing 2,4-D — or dichlorophenoxyacetic acid — which is the chemical Turner said is dangerous. Round-Up, containing glyphosate, won?t be used either.

Levitt said council needs to continually revisit the issue as alternatives become more affected. Ten years ago, Levitt said, non-herbicide methods didn?t work as well as herbicides.

Today, technology has made alternatives better than they were in the past, Levitt said.

?I think five years from now they?ll be more effective than they are today,? Levitt said.

The city has already put weed fabric — liners such as those used by Varjean — along parts of the Hwy. 89A corridor, Levitt said. All future Hwy. 179 Improvement Project landscaping within city limits will be lined with weed fabric.


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