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Fitch Industries is giving the Community Plan Future Land Use Map amendment process another whirl, hoping to build lodging at the former Sedona Cultural Park.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Fitch Industries is giving the Community Plan Future Land Use Map amendment process another whirl, hoping to build lodging at the former Sedona Cultural Park.

Without lodging, the proposed conference center may not fit, Fitch Industries Executive Administrator Monte Fitch said.

Shephard-Wesnitzer, an engineering firm, submitted a letter of intent on behalf of Fitch Industries on April 20.

The letter asks the city to allow Fitch Industries to build lodging to accommodate people using the proposed conference center and amphitheater.

?It?s a natural fit,? Fitch said.

Donna Michaels, Yavapai College spokeswoman, said the college is unaware of the new proposal and therefore, has no comment.

?We?re going to do whatever we need to do to protect the interests of the college,? Michaels said.

On Nov. 29, Sedona City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the land use map changing designation of half the property from ?public/semi-public? to ?planned area.?

Fitch Industries included lodging in the first amendment proposal at the last minute but council denied the request.

However, council did approve the rest of the project, which includes a 2,000-seat amphitheater, performing arts theaters, Sedona Village shops and conference facilities.

Council told Fitch Industries if it wanted lodging, it would have to reapply for it.

Lodging, according to Fitch, goes along with the conference center.

?It works in balance with the project,? Fitch said.

Fitch Industries is also currently in the preliminary stages of the rezone process for Phase I of its project.

Phase I, including Sedona Village and the amphitheater, will go on as planned regardless of whether the city gives Fitch Industries permission to build lodging, Fitch said. The conference center may not be built.

Lodging is needed to support the conference center and if Fitch Industries can?t build lodging, it will have to reevaluate that aspect of the project, Fitch said.

?It seemed like the city wanted a conference center,? Fitch said.

Fitch Industries tentatively plans to start cleaning up the amphitheater site in mid to late summer, after it closes escrow on the property, Fitch said.

Before council decides if lodging is appropriate, Fitch Industries plans to hold two formal community meetings and meet with property owners and neighbors, according to its letter of intent.

City staff, the Planning and Zoning Commission and council will all review the amendment proposal before council makes a final decision in late fall.

Sedona?s Planning and Zoning Commission will have a conceptual review of Fitch Industries? zone change for Phase I on Tuesday, May 1.

Fitch Industries will then file a formal zone change request.

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