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Amid praise for developer Al Spector, The Retreat on Oak Creek development received final plat approval Monday, May 21, from the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers

Amid praise for developer Al Spector, The Retreat on Oak Creek development received final plat approval Monday, May 21, from the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.

The development is located off Upper Red Rock Loop Road, southwest of Sedona.

Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis, who is also chairman of the board, praised Spector after the unanimous approval vote for “the transparency and his handling of this bridge and the development.”

The approval decreases the likelihood that a bridge will be built at Red Rock Crossing, opponents of a Hwy. 179 alternate route agreed.

“We’ve been through so much controversy on this. That this room isn’t full of angry residents is to your credit,” Davis told Spector.

“It pretty much settles the idea of a bridge at Red Rock Crossing, at least as far as safety goes,” Davis said.

Davis’ reference is to a heated controversy, since before Sedona’s incorporation in 1989, regarding an alternate route from the Village of Oak Creek to Sedona.

Sedona City Councilwoman Nancy Scagnelli agreed with Davis.

“It’s an important aspect, allowing fire and police to use the bridge, but it certainly is only one. It does nothing for the people coming from the Village or the people trying to enter [Hwy. 89A] from Rolling Hills Estates,” she said.

“Every single car on the east side of Oak Creek still has to go through the ‘Y’ [intersection],” Scagnelli said.

The bridge will connect the two sides of Spector’s development as well as connecting Sedona with the Village of Oak Creek.

But the only people to use the bridge, outside the residents of the subdivision, will be emergency crews responding to situations that require them to use that route.

Access to the subdivision on both sides of Oak Creek will be controlled by gates.

The gate will be sensor activated, as is now standard in Yavapai County. Emergency crews will have electronic devices with which they will be able to open the gates.

On the other side of the creek, the road passes through the subdivision and will lead to Loy Lane and then to the Upper Red Rock Loop Road.

Spector’s use of existing roads within the development is one thing that won his additional praise from area residents, including resident Brian Meyers.

“He is making full use of the existing old farm road which means minimal disturbance of the terrain,” Meyers said.

The Retreat on Oak Creek is 38 single family residences on 111 acres. Spector said the lot sizes are from 1.1 to 6.4 acres.

“This is very high-end. The development design guidelines will be consistent with those seen at DC Ranch, in Scottsdale,” Spector said.

The bridge is prefabricated and will go up in two pieces, one built from each side of the creek, Spector said.

“It will mean there will be no equipment running across and through the creek,” Meyers said.

The 150-foot span of the steel bridge will have a rust patina and be out of the floodplain.

“A pedestrian walkway will be cantilevered into the side of the bridge,” Spector said.

Cars and pedestrians will not share the same space, he said.

Building will commence by the end of June and sales of the lots should begin in late summer or early fall, Spector said.

Meyers said he is hoping for an environmentally sensitive development, as is Yavapai Group Sierra Club President Tom Slaback.

Slaback said he was “cautiously optimistic” but that he still needs some assurances from Spector before giving full support to the project.

“This is a fairly good reason to put the bridge at Red Rock Crossing to bed,” he said.

However, Meyers is also adding a little insurance.

According to Meyers, Spector is flying in Hendrikus Schraven, an ecosystems rebuilding specialist, to discuss plans and look the area over.

The Web site for Hendrikus Group’s Hendrikus Organics states its services “reflect a practical, ecological bond between the artistry of man and the balance of nature.”

Spector noted that the project is seeking to conform to green standards with building standards of the U.S. Green Building Council or city of Scottsdale green building recommendations.

Spector said that he believes the project “goes beyond” a responsibility to the Sedona area.

“This area is the most beautiful piece of ground in Sedona and the development has to be entirely consistent with that,” he said.

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