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Tlaquepaque Village

 It’s a common myth in Sedona that there’s no place to park.

On-street parking Uptown and the parking lot at Tlaquepaque are frequently at capacity, but there’s usually a place to park in other locations.

By Susan Johnson

Larson Newspapers

It’s a common myth in Sedona that there’s no place to park.

On-street parking Uptown and the parking lot at Tlaquepaque are frequently at capacity, but there’s usually a place to park in other locations.

The Aug. 31, 2005 Parking Research and Solutions Report commissioned by the city identified more than 1,400 parking spots Uptown and another 1,100 spots in the Hwy. 179 corridor, some of which were rarely used.

The parking spots going vacant most of the time require a bit of a walk to and from the major shopping destinations on Hwy. 89A and Hwy. 179 and, in some cases, are not marked as being available to the public.

According to the report, the most available spaces were in the Sedona Municipal Parking Lot and at Hillside Sedona and Hozho Plaza.

In addition, the survey found that most privately-owned parking in both areas was underused.

Simple recommendations by the survey included paid parking and strict enforcement of time limits in the prime spots closest to businesses.

Another recommendation was for the city to take advantage of available private parking by partnering with property owners to establish two pools of public parking, one for visitors, and another for employees.

While the report questioned any immediate need to build additional parking facilities, City Manager Eric Levitt was requested by Sedona City Council at its work session on Oct. 24 to expedite consideration of several options, none of which are currently beyond the preliminary discussion stage.

In the Hwy. 179 corridor, congestion reaches its peak at Portal Lane where traffic to and from Tlaquepaque and Los Abrigados Resort & Spa frequently backs up.

One solution to this bottleneck is supported by Wendy Lippman, general manager and resident partner of Tlaquepaque, and Joseph Martori, owner of Los Abrigados, which would consist of a new multi-level, paid parking garage near the southern border of Tlaquepaque’s property.

Although Lippman would contribute the land and Martori would guarantee the bond required for construction, neither would receive dedicated parking.

The city would receive all parking fees, using them to offset the cost of construction and maintenance.

"There’s a long-term strategic need for additional parking looking out five and 10 years from now," Lippman said. "What we’re offering is an area that’s flat, easy to build, 20 feet below grade and masked by vegetation. In addition, we would make an example of it, using solar panels and other environmental elements."

Lippman believes that the additional parking, combined with the RoadRunner shuttle stop in front of Tlaquepaque, could greatly reduce congestion in the Portal Lane area.

Uptown, there are several property owners who have also offered solutions.

Tom Gilomen and Tom Johnson also appeared at the work session.

Owners of five parcels that contain three buildings on Van Deren Road, Gilomen and Johnson offered to sell their properties, proposing that the city demolish their buildings in favor of surface parking or possibly multi-level parking.

"We don’t really want to demolish our buildings, but there’s no other solution," said Gilomen, who also owns the Cowboy Club, Redstone Cabin, Oak Creek Marketplace and the Barking Frog, among other properties in Sedona. "There’s room for 112 spaces on a surface lot. Adding a second level would total 183 spaces."

If this option was implemented, Gilomen and Johnson say they would request waivers of the zoning code so they could construct replacement offices on Hwy. 89A in exchange for a reduction in the price the city would pay for their properties.

Purchase of the Van Deren Road properties, along with demolition costs and structural improvements, would require creation of a 20- to 30-year special tax district applying only to tourist-related businesses Uptown.

Twenty-five percent of those affected would have to be in favor of the tax district for it to pass.

A third option was offered by Al Spector, owner of Sinagua Plaza and Sedona Center.

"We plan to add another level of parking with approximately 60 to 70 spaces above the leach field behind Sinagua Plaza," Spector said. "We already own the property, but would like to get conceptual agreement regarding the taxing district."

"There are quite a few legal complications and other issues that have to be resolved before proceeding with these options," said City Manager Eric Levitt. "It could take up to two years before any of them were constructed."



Susan Johnson can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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